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Caulking Class 101

By Edited Jun 21, 2016 0 0

     Those tiny cracks around windows, in the siding, in foundation walls, and under doors are all sources of heat loss.  If you own an average-size house, you can save up to 17,000,000 BTU's of heat annually by filling the tiny cracks with caulking compound and weather stripping.  The cost of caulking and weather stripping materials is around $45 and the heat savings the first year is around $60.

   Also, consider these figures:  Envision 1000 houses like yours.  If you and your 999 counterparts add about 6 inches of ceiling insulation to our homes and caulk and weatherstripping the doors, windows, and cracks, the energy saved in heating for 1 year would supply necessary energy to around 570 homes.  Your cost will be about $200.  Your savings will amount to about $190 the first year.  After your first investment is paid, you will save about $200 per year for an indefinite period.

     There are 5 basic types of caulking.  These five include:  Silicone, latex, oil-base, butyl rubber, and polyvinyl acetate. 

     Silicone caulking is expensive-usually more costly than the other types.  However, the material will withstand the elements for years.  Silicone caulking may be used on most surfaces but does not adhere well to paint.  Latex, however, works well with paint.  Latex is a fast-drying material and works great with paint.  Latex caulking is water thinned; therefore, tools used in working with it are easy to clean.

     One of the less expensive types is oil-base caulking.  This standard compound is cheaper and will adhere to almost any surface.

     The fourth is butyl rubber.  This caulking will last for years.  It is fairly expensive; use it mainly for caulking joints between  metal and masonry surfaces such as placed concrete, concrete blocks, brick, and stone.

     The last form of caulking is polyvinyl acetate.  This caulking is medium priced and may be used for any surface.  It adheres well to painted surfaces.

     You can buy caulking two ways:  in cartridges and in bulk.  I recommend cartridges.  they are made to use with a caulking gun and are disposable.  Cartridge caulking compound uses a half-barrel caulking gun.  For about $3.50 you can buy a gun that may be used indefinitely.

    Cracks and splits that need to be caulked at your house may or may not be obvious.  I've listed a few common places:  Between joints in siding, Between window casings and siding, under windowsills, under thresholds of doors, between door casings and siding, between dissimilar materials (brick & wood), at the bottom of siding, at moldings (drip caps) over windows and doors, at joints in fixed storm windows, between foundations and siding, around exterior electrical outlets, around exterior dryer vents, in partially split siding, under eaves and gable vents, at electrical wire inlets, in cracks between windowsills and trim or frames, in cracks between thresholds and door frames, at dormer cheeks and roof shingles.

     Follow the information above and you should see a signficant drop in your heating bill. 

caulking
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