Home Improvement Basics – Caulk Preparation

Many people feel adept at taking on home improvement projects, though they often end up creating more work or not achieving their DIY goals because of having taken short cuts or by not paying attention to detail. You might, for example, notice that the exterior of your home looks drab and washed out. You have a little free time on your hands and have decided to take on the repainting job yourself. The underlying key here, as is the case with most DIY jobs, lies in the prep work.

One small example that underscores the importance of proper preparation is with the exterior windows that are to be painted. To take full advantage the material expense and your own precious time, you will need to properly caulk the window frames – each and every window – before you proceed with your painting.

Caulk is used to seal any crack that results where two surfaces meet each other. In the case of your windows, cracks invariably occur where the edges of the window frame meet the wall. Properly caulking these cracks will prevent air and moisture from entering beneath the material. Without an adequate seal, you are more likely to experience paint peeling and wood rot. So if you want to prevent damage and to make your paint job last as long as possible, start caulking.

First off, remove all the existing caulk that has already likely started to peel away. Once all areas have been cleared of the old caulk, you can start to apply the new. Before doing that, however, you will need to snip off the top of the caulking tube and insert a coat hanger sized wire in the tip to create a large enough hole to start the job.

Your tube will fit nicely into a caulking gun – pick one up at any hardware store or home improvement center. Squeeze the trigger slowly while moving the tip along the length of each crack at a slow and steady pace. Repeat this step for each of the four sides of the window where the window trim meets the home siding. Once you have completed this step around the perimeter of a window, take a small stick, spoon or other smooth implement to form an evenly distributed surface on each side of the window. Repeat the process around all the windows.

You will have plenty of time to clean up any excess caulk that may have dripped on the surface of your home. Clean these spots off with a damp cloth. A damp cloth or rag can be used for cleaning the caulking gun and your hands and fingers as well.

Allow the caulk a full day to dry before you launch into your painting project. Once you have completed the repainting of your home, the appearance of the sealed cracks, after having been painted, will make all the difference in the world. In addition, you will have protected the exterior surface against possible wood rot and costly wood replacement.

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