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Caulk Talk

If air leaks are causing your heating and cooling system to work harder, it’s time to get caulking. Try these techniques to get a smooth, mess-free seal.

CHECK the weather.
Apply caulk during dry weather when the outdoor temperature is above 45 degrees F.

CHOOSE the right caulk.
Know your intended use (interior versus exterior surfaces, for instance) and buy caulk labeled for that specific situation.

GET a good gun.
A dripless caulk gun gives you more control of the flow.

START with a clean surface.
Remove old caulk, paint, dirt, dust, grease and debris.

TAPE the area.
Attach strips of painter’s tape about 1/8 inch away from both sides of the seam to mask off areas where caulk shouldn’t be applied.

CUT carefully.
Cut the caulk tube nozzle tip small and do the small gaps first. Then, cut it bigger for the larger gaps.

USE both hands.
Use your dominant hand to hold the gun and pull the trigger. Support the barrel of the gun near the tip with your other hand.

PUSH, don’t pull.
To get a better seal, push the caulk into the gap rather than dragging over it.

MEET in the middle.
When you have a long bead to run, caulk from one end to the middle of the seam. Then, start at the other end and meet the first bead.

FINISH with your finger.
Moisten your fingertip and drag it with light pressure along the bead to smooth.

Read more caulking tips here.