Minor cracks on your home's exterior are easy to fix. Caulk for cracks of this type comes in a convenient squeeze tube. Depending on the compound you use, it may also come in a tub. Is it difficult to make this type of home repair? Not at all; put the kids down for their afternoon naps and get busy. You will be done expertly fixing your home's exterior by the time they wake up again. So how do you get started?
Latex, rubber or silicone?
Exterior latex caulking is a good choice if you are planning to paint over the area. I have found that painting is almost always a good idea, since the dried material attracts dirt. Rubber offers similar advantages, but because it tends to shrink somewhat unpredictably, you might have to go back in a couple of months to repeat the process. Silicone is an excellent choice for the handy-woman who does not plan on painting.
Warning: Do not use bathroom caulk for an exterior job. It is tempting to use the leftovers you already have sitting on the shelves, but exterior caulk is specifically formulated to withstand adverse weather conditions.
Looking for cracks in all the right places
Where would you find exterior cracks? Check the space between the home's siding and the door jamb. Do not forget to also take a closer look at the space between the siding and your window frames. The space where the foundation and the siding meet is another perfect locale for caulking. Installation of skylights, in particular, calls for meticulous caulking to avoid water leakage. The same holds true for the areas where vents allow hot air to escape from the attic. Even exterior outlets should receive a dab of caulking all the way around.
Tip: Frequently overlooked -- but all the same in need of attention -- is the chimney. Check the flashing, especially in areas where hail and heavy winter rains take a toll on any caulking compounds that may have begun to weather.
Applying exterior caulk like a pro
Are you ready to get started?
- Removes debris, loose building material and insects from a crack with a stiff bristle brush.
- Vacuum out the crack to remove loose dirt and spider webs.
- Remove grease with solvents, as needed. You might have to resort to this step if caulking near the outdoor barbecue.
- Put on surgical gloves. You do not want to ruin your manicure with caulking compound.
- Apply the nozzle of the caulking cartridge to the crack at a 45 degree angle. Gently apply some pressure to the nozzle and squeeze.
- Trace the bead with a gloved finger to force out any air bubbles.
You are done! Check freshly caulked areas after a couple of days to ensure that no unanticipated shrinkage or improper adhesion call for a redo.
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