How to Caulk Window Air Leaks

10 responses

  1. Bob Atkinson
    November 12, 2013

    Enjoyed recent email on caulking windows; I knew a lot of it, but it was a good review. What I need now is a good article on restoring or replacing the grout on old NE multipaned windows (6 over 6 and even some 12 over 12's) other than installing new modern windows. I'm looking for new methods or tools and techniques. As you know, this process is one of the most laborsome and frustrating for any DIYer who owns an old colonial in NE; it takes forever!

  2. Harold hensley
    November 12, 2013

    I've done alot of caulking on my job. I love the tip of using a grout sponge and will try this. thanks

  3. John Meenaghan
    November 12, 2013

    Recently, I was trying to unplug a bathroom sink using every possible snake to unclog the drain. After hours of no success, I placed a wet vacuum to the drain and in a few seconds heard and felt two distinct "THUMPS" Both were clumps of caulk that had collected hair and soap and just refused to be pushed down the drain. That was lucky. Had it repositioned further down, I'd be looking at a bigger mess. Moral of the story: DON'T even think of rinsing off your hands in a sink after getting caulk on your hands.

  4. Lynn
    November 12, 2013

    You didn't mention it, so I was wondering if you should remove the old caulk first...or just caulk over the old stuff? Thanks!

  5. ralph roberts
    November 12, 2013

    no mention about how to remove old caulk or even if it is necessary to do so,,,,

  6. Mike Collins
    November 12, 2013

    Tim, sealant installation was one of the trades I became proficient in during my time on the wall. Tip #1: keep your finger tip out of the caulk. I realize you are talking to beginners but listen up, a plastic spoon will be readily available and can be shaved to the approximate dimension of the joint. Because it has a rounded shape it will be a user friendly tool. A steel spoon would be better and glazing spatulas are best. Tip # 2: 1/4-inch is the minimum wide dimension of a sealant joint. (Sealant joints manager movement and water/air. Caulk joints are for aesthetics.) The material you suggested is flexible enough to do the job. 1/8-inch is not wide enough to grab onto both sides of a crack with enough holding power to be meaningful.

    Great topic keep up the good work.

    Mike Collins

  7. Macey
    November 12, 2013

    Thanks for the "better" way of applying caulk. One thing that was missing was the direction of the caulking gun; I find it very effective to slowly push the gun forward over the bead of caulking as it leaves the nozzle so that the caulk is forced into the crack ahead of the gun and the nozzle can do part of the job that you have your finger doing. Drawing the gun away from the bead of caulking just invites a mess

  8. andrzej raczynski
    November 13, 2013

    As a proud, life long member of Caulkers Union 66, I find your article to be disingenuous and insulting. To imply that mere riffraff plebeians can master the art of proper caulking after reading 10 steps and a couple of minutes of practice on Fido's dog house is insulting to my profession and skill. You, my good sir, are a scoundrel of the most notorious kind. Good day to you.


    • Tim Carter
      January 2, 2014

      Sometimes the truth hurts.....

  9. Roger Syrja
    November 13, 2013

    It seems impossible to caulk a window air leak on the outside if the vinyl window frame is lapping over the vinyl siding. I can't "see" the crack from the outside. Occasionally, on the inside I will hear the whistling wind entering the room around the edge of the window frame and the drywall opening. So, my only remedy would be to caulk the inside of the window(s). Does that sound logical ?

    Many thanks.

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