DIY: How to Properly Caulk Your Window

An air draft, beam of light, puddle of water, or an ant trail are all signs that it’s time to reapply caulk to your window frame. Your home’s windows are sealed with a flexible material called caulk and the purpose of this sealant is to fill the gaps and cracks that could lead to air leaks or letting in rain water. And while applying caulk to a window isn’t rocket science, it can be a tricky process. Especially if it’s your first time caulking. Here are six steps to properly apply caulk to your window frame like a pro.

When to Caulk

Worker caulking the floor to wall edgeThe best time of year to caulk is during the dry season when there is the least amount of moisture and precipitation. The sealant sets properly and adheres best when the temperature is 45 degrees or warmer. Fall is typically the preferred month to accomplish this task and usually takes a day or less to completely seal all of your home’s windows.

Materials Needed

Materials NeededSealing your windows for cracks and air leaks requires very few materials. For residential windows, silicone caulk is the ideal sealant. It is the ideal choice because it is flexible, waterproof, and can withstand extreme temperatures and weather conditions. You will also need a scraper or utility knife to remove old caulk for a clean surface. A putty knife will be useful for smoothing the applied caulk strip. A caulk gun is essential for this job as the sealant does not simply squeeze out of the tube like toothpaste. Once you have all of your materials, you are ready to begin.

The Caulking Process

  • The Caulking ProcessStep 1: Remove old caulk, debris, and molding from the window frame with your scraper or utility knife for a clean surface. Be sure to allow time for the surface to dry.
  • Step 2: Place the caulk tube into the caulk gun chamber. Squeeze the trigger of the gun until the caulk tube is secured.
  • Step 3: Cut the tip of the tube at a 45 degree angle for the desired bead size. A bead is the line of caulk that you’re adhering to the window frame.
  • Step 4: Hold the caulk gun at a 45 degree angle and seal the entire strip in one continuous movement. Be sure that all cracks are covered.
  • Step 5: After applying, smooth the sealant with your putty knife or a wet finger. This process is known as tooling and is necessary for removing excess caulk and bubbles.
  • Step 6: Once all of the windows are completed, place the cap back on your caulk tube and allow your masterpiece to dry. It takes 24 hours or longer for the caulk to dry, so don’t go poking at it the next morning.

Applying caulk is not limited to your windows; you can also apply the sealant to doors, countertops, showers, and sinks. And depending on whether it is a job for the exterior or interior of the home, different types of caulk will be necessary. Properly applying caulk to your window frames is a simple way to keep your windows better maintained. Feel free to contact your nearest Shamrock Roofing Representative if you would like a free inspection on your home and to see if your windows are in need of repair.