Caulking is one of the most common household projects that people choose to attempt on their own. However, even applying caulk (or removing the old material that was there before) takes a skilled hand and some preparation, so if you would like to tackle exterior caulking as your next project, be sure that you are ready.
Caulking on the exterior of your home requires different considerations than caulking indoors, so before you begin, review the following top tips for exterior caulking so that you do not have to attempt this project more than once in the near future.
Consider The Weather For Best Results
One of the most important factors when it comes to caulking the exterior of your home is to keep the weather in mind. The purpose of caulk is to keep your house warm in the winter and cool in the summer, but this does not mean that any caulk can withstand any temperatures. For exterior uses, choose a caulk with some give and flexibility so that, as temperatures change, the caulk will be able to expand and shrink appropriately.
Caulk also needs time to dry and cure; this can take as long as 24 hours depending upon exactly which type you use. If you apply caulk while it is raining or very humid, your cure is not going to complete as nicely as it could, and your seal may not be as thorough as you need it to be in order to do its job. Similarly, very cold days make it harder for caulk to cure than those with moderate temperatures. While it is possible to caulk your exterior when it is cold, you will need to take extra precautions—such as keeping your caulk warm indoors and maintaining it at a minimum of 40 degrees Fahrenheit for application.
Caulk will dry too quickly if it is freshly applied in direct sunlight, so try to tackle pieces of your project as they become shaded throughout the day. It is also best to postpone caulking your exterior if it is windy so that dust, debris and dirt do not get blown into fresh caulk, where they will become permanently affixed. Not only can this interfere with a tight seal, but it can also make your home look dirty.
Run Smaller, Consistent Beads Rather Than One Long Line
It may be tempting to use your caulk gun to apply one single, uniform line of caulk all the way along a gap in order to achieve a smooth look. However, doing so means that by the time you reach the end, you will likely need to reset the trigger because it will be fully depressed; instead, it is better to consistently apply shorter beads that merge with the rest of the work. This will produce a more consistent end result.
Check That Your Caulk Is Right For Exteriors
Not all caulk can be used on exteriors with good results. Specific exterior caulk will be flexible, as noted above, and highly water resistant so that it can withstand rain and the elements. While no caulk will last forever, be sure to double check that the product you have selected is suitable for outside use (such as silicone).
Evaluate Your Painting Needs
If you will need to repaint the area that you are caulking at a later date, consider this when you choose your caulk. Not all caulk can be painted over, and if you select something like smooth silicone, you will find that your later painting projects are foiled when the caulk repels the paint.
Differentiate Between Intentional Gaps And Necessary Filler
Caulk is meant to seal gaps, cracks and holes, but not all such areas should be caulked. One of the most common mistakes when caulking an exterior is to seal things that are best left open. For example, the weep holes on a window are meant to let the window breathe and should never be caulked. Similarly, do not caulk siding nails or any part of a garage door (though the trim is all right to caulk). These areas need room to breathe and expand or contract according to the weather in order to avoid damage.
Trust The Experts To Get The Job Done Right For Your Exterior Project
Exterior caulking is more nuanced than simply purchasing a tube of caulk and filling in every gap that you see. If you would like to ensure that this job is done right the first time, leave it to the experts at Waterproof Caulking & Restoration. We would be happy to appropriately caulk your exterior and help you complete this project. Reach out to tell us more about your goals.