Recaulking your home is a common maintenance task that can make a big difference in the appearance of your home, keep moisture from entering and causing problems, and even help you save on energy bills. When you see your caulk drying out, cracking, peeling, falling, staining or growing mildew, it is time to recaulk.
Tips For Recaulking
Many people choose to carry out recaulking on their own, but it is important to keep a few points in mind before getting started.
Remove Old Caulk First
Although it may be tempting to caulk over old caulking that is deteriorating, it is important to take the time to remove all old caulk first. There are several reasons that this step should never be skipped. For example, if you are recaulking because the previous caulk is stained with mildew or mold, recaulking on top of it means it will continue to grow underneath. If your old caulk is shrinking, it is only going to continue to do so and will quickly break the seal of the new caulk and cause it to separate as well.
A utility knife or putty knife can slice through old caulk and peel it away. A wire brush can be used to remove caulk from concrete and masonry surfaces.
Apply To A Clean, Dry Surface
Caulking must always be applied to surfaces that are clean and dry. You will need to remove all of the dirt, dust, debris, paint and grease that is on the area to be caulked. If you have previously removed silicone caulk from the area, you need to ensure all of its residue has been completely removed.
You can clean the area you are caulking with a rag and some rubbing alcohol or a disinfecting spray, then rinse thoroughly with water and dry it completely.
Fill In Wider Gaps
If you will be caulking any gaps that measure wider than half an inch, you should press some foam tape into the gap for best results.
Recaulk Before Painting
If you are recaulking as part of a wider home improvement project, it is advisable to recaulk before you begin the painting process. Any moisture in the room can cause your paint to peel, bubble or crack; caulking can create a sealant that will keep moisture out.
Choose Your Caulk Wisely
Not all caulks are suitable for all recaulking jobs. These days, many manufacturers are putting job specific labels on their caulking products. However, you will need to have a basic understanding of the different materials you might find before you shop.
Rubber caulks are often used for aluminum and asphalt, while latex caulks are used for utility caulking. Silicone caulk is the material of choice for sealing in bathrooms and recaulking exterior trim. It can also be used against glass, aluminum and other non-porous materials. Polyurethane is best for concrete, masonry and exterior caulking around doors and windows.
If you are caulking in an area where the caulk might show, keep color in mind. A clear caulk is good for surfaces like brick, while gray caulk can be a good choice for concrete floors. Keep in mind that some caulk varieties, such as elastomeric caulk, may look white when applied but will dry clear.
Learn To Use A Caulking Gun Properly
If you are using a squeezable tube of caulk that requires you to cut the tip off prior to use, begin by cutting a small opening at a 45-degree angle. If you cut off too much at the beginning, there is no going back, but you can always widen the hole if you do not cut enough the first time. If you will be caulking over a range of gap sizes, you can focus on the narrow gaps first with the smaller cut before enlarging the hole to cover bigger gaps.
While caulking, it is good practice to hold the tube at the same angle as the surface you are sealing. The handle of the caulking gun and the cut side of the tip should be facing in the same direction. You should squeeze the trigger slowly but firmly and consistently until the caulk starts to flow. Then, move the tip at an even pace across the gaps and work to keep the bead in a uniform size.
Keep in mind that less is more. It is always possible to go back and add more caulk where needed, but when you apply too much, the mess can be very difficult to correct. Because caulk continues flowing for a few seconds after you release your grip, press the plunger release lever a few inches before getting to the end of the area you are caulking.
You May Need To Hire Professionals For Recaulking
Recaulking might sound like a simple project, but it is very easy to make mistakes. Laying down the perfect bead of caulk requires years of practice, and choosing the right caulk for the job is essential. Poorly applied caulk can allow moisture and pests to enter your home and could cause dangerous mold to grow. It can also impact your energy bills.
Many homeowners prefer the peace of mind that comes from hiring professional caulkers to carry out their recaulking jobs so they can be assured that the results will be effective and long-lasting.
Reach Out To The Recaulking Professionals
If your home needs recaulking, get in touch with the recaulking professionals at Waterproof Caulking and Restoration. Their experienced team uses high-quality products and proven techniques to ensure your home looks and functions its best.