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How To Caulk Windows For Winter

When your windows get old, they can shrink or crack between windows and walls. As this aging happens, the caulk similarly shrinks or loses adhesion. This deterioration, when overlooked, can cause leakages or drafts, which is even problematic during winter. Thus, caulking windows for winter can be a simple yet necessary process to preserve your comfort.

You can caulk windows for winter almost in a similar manner for regular seasons. What’s different is the preparation for applying it. Why do you need to caulk windows for winter? How and when to apply caulk? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. Proceed further and learn how to caulk windows for winter.

What is Window Caulking?

Caulk is the ultimate fixer-upper for gaps, cracks, and joints that measure less than 1/4th of an inch wide. These materials seal the leaks that allow air to escape your home and keep it warm in the winter. You can use caulk to seal cracks and gaps in your home to keep the air from escaping. Caulking also helps to keep your energy bills down.

How Does Winter Affect Window Caulking?

It is a common misconception, but the cold weather has no direct implications on silicone-based caulks. Instead, it is the humid and wet weather that can implicate caulking properties.

Silicon-based caulk is impervious to freezing and sticking in icy weather, but you can’t apply it on wet surfaces. Meaning that caulking loses its adhesion on extremely wet surfaces. Thus, you can caulk your windows all year round, but it’s not recommended for rainy or snowy days. There are usually only a few snowy days in winter, so it is still possible to initiate window caulking.

Caulking your windows might be necessary if you want to stop cold air from entering through your windows. However, note that some sealants can’t be applied at cold or freezing temperatures. Therefore, make sure to find a product that’s efficient even at inconvenient temperatures.

Check-Ups Before You Start Window Caulking On Winter

Follow these standard check-ups before applying caulk. It may cost time but can save you from the possible hassles of caulking misapplication.

Check The Surface Condition Before Caulking

Nothing is more frustrating than applying the caulk in the winter and having it stick to the surface of your counter or floor. Make sure to check where you’ll be applying caulk. Get rid of the old paint and caulk while protecting the concrete surface with a good layer of new caulk. Use a scrub brush and warm water with soap to clean up all the dirt for a fresh caulk appearance.

Find Where The Drafts Leak From

You can figure out where your home’s biggest window leaks are by having an energy audit done on your home. Energy auditing will help you to concentrate on solving the most important problems first. Another option is to feel the rooms where you feel the coldest. The windows on these areas might most likely have gaps where drafts can permeate.

Don’t Let Your Caulk Tube Freeze

Cold weather can make your caulking not flow properly, which is a pain. We recommend storing the tubes of caulk in a container before use. While the caulk is working, you can also warm them up by placing them in a pot with warm water for a bit.

Pick A Warmer Schedule

As the temperature changes throughout the day, it’s important to know when to apply the caulk. Experts recommend waiting till noon so that the materials have had time to adjust to the temperature. 

Furthermore, you should also consider your window material before caulking. Metals are very sensitive to temperature changes. Vinyl and aluminum are both very vulnerable to these conditions. Wood, on the other hand, can withstand these fluctuations without much problem.

Pick A Reliable Caulking Brand

There are many things to consider when selecting your caulking, but the caulk flow is one of the most important. If you need a product that can stand up to cold weather, look for a plus or minus 25% or higher. These specifications are more flexible even under low temperatures.

Winter Window Caulking Process

Caulking may seem easy, but if done incorrectly, it can lead to an unsightly and amateurish look. Caulk should be unnoticeable and should blend naturally in plain sight. The process of caulking is as much art as it is a skill. It’s all about applying a long, narrow strip along the entire seam length and following the guidelines set out by manufacturers.

What You’ll Need

  • A putty knife or scraper
  • Utility knife
  • Long nail or a tough wire
  • Caulking tube
  • And a caulking gun
  • A spare plastic spoon

Steps On Applying Caulk

1. Conduct the pre-caulking check-ups as aforementioned. Never caulk over existing caulk. You should always scrape it out and start fresh.

2. Set up your working table and materials.

3. Put the caulk tube in the caulking gun. Check that your caulk trigger is fully functional.

4. Use your utility knife to cut the nozzle at a 45-degree angle to match the width of the caulking bead needed. Your cut should taper thinner towards the endpoint. A quarter-inch bead suffices for most applications. If you need a larger bead, gently strip more of the tube’s nozzle.

5. Break the nozzle seal using a long nail or wire. Do this step by puncturing the said material inside the nozzle hole.

6. Apply caulk with the cut surface touching the window frame corners. Make sure that you press the caulking trigger consistently and move it at a steady pace. This step is necessary to ensure that you apply uniform beads throughout the process.

7. For vertical applications start from the top going steadily towards the bottom. Meanwhile, for horizontal application, start from the opposite direction of your dominant hand. For example, if you are right-handed, start from left, going gently towards your right. Do the vice versa if you are left-handed.

8. For cleaner results, you can use the plastic spoon to flatten the bead gently. Do this step if necessary while the caulk is still wet. Make sure to use the spoon only to flatten the bead. Don’t apply too much pressure that you can scrape the newly applied bead otherwise.

9. Clean all the caulking spills at unintended surfaces, the nozzle tip, your hand, and the like before the caulk dries. 

And there you have it. Your windows are all sealed and set for the winter.

Just some friendly notes. Do not bother to caulk any movable parts of your doors or windows. Winter stripping is a different process necessary for those parts. Only apply caulk to fixed corner or edge joints.

Caulk Your Windows For Winter

Caulking is an easy yet effective step to regulate both your winter temperature and energy expenses. With this guide, in no time, you’ll get the hang of caulking your windows for winter. This is a simple and easy way to keep your home warm and cozy during the winter. You don’t need to feel uncomfortable or cold when you can simply caulk your home today.

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