Winterizing Your Home: Window and Door Caulking

Lead Image
What You'll Need
Caulking gun
White latex caulk
A wet rag
Scraping tool or old butter knife

Keep your home warm and conserve energy during the winter months by sealing up the small holes and cracks around the windows and doors of your home with caulk. These areas, if left unsealed, can let large amounts of cold air into your home, as well as let heat escape. Pick up a caulking gun at your local hardware store and get to sealing those cracks before winter comes.

Purchasing Caulk: What to Buy

The best type of caulk to get for this project is a white, latex, interior caulk that is also weather resistant and mold and mildew resistant. This way, your caulking job will last as long as possible and protect the area.

Interior caulking has less fumes and does not stink up the house like caulking designed for exterior surfaces. Get express caulk, which is designed to expand and dry in less time. This can be especially handy in case you have small children or want to paint over your caulk the same day.

Preparations: Inspect and Clean

First, inspect the house, making a list of any and all areas you wish to caulk, so that no corner is forgotten. You will need to do the corners and edges of frames around doors and windows. Any small opening caused by rain, weather, or age should be sealed up.

Make sure all surfaces you wish to caulk are clean and free of dust, dirt, and debris, such as pet hair or sand. All debris will stick to the caulk and make your project look sloppy. Wipe down any dirty surfaces with a damp rag, but allow these areas to dry for several hours before caulking. Any moisture sealed under caulking can turn into mold or mildew.

Caulking: How To

Put your caulking cartridge into your caulking gun. Use the scissors to cut the tip of the caulking cartridge into a point at about 1/2 inch from the tip. Cut at a 45 degree angle from one side, and then cut from the other side of the tip at the same angle, so that your cartridge tip comes to a point at the end.

Snipping off the tip of a caulking gun at a 45 degree angle.

Step 1 - Stick the tip of the caulking cartridge into the corner you wish to seal and pull the caulking gun handle/trigger slightly until you get just a bit of caulk to come out. Keep the tip moving, as you want an even amount released, no more than about 1/4 inch thick. Start at the top of a frame and work your way down, or work right to left.

Caulking a door frame.

Step 2- Once your caulk has been applied, wipe your finger in the same place and direction the caulking gun went. Press the caulk down into the crevices along the edge, to where you stopped applying caulk. You want the caulk to look even and smooth. You will have excess caulk on your finger at the end. Simply wipe this on a rag or paper towel.

Step 3- Use another wet rag to wipe along the edge of the caulk if any gets pressed too far out from the corner. It should remove easily with soap and water while it is still wet.

Cleaning the area around a door frame after caulking.

Step 4- Continue to do this in all corners and crevices of your home until all cracks are sealed. Let it dry completely before painting. A proper caulking job should not require painting unless the area is painted bright or dark colors.