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Sealing Tips and Advice

Sealing Windows, Doors, Attics, and Basements

  • Make sure doors and windows are closing securely and do not need to be rehung.
  • If you plan to paint the exterior of the window or door frame, make sure the caulk you use also can be painted, or that the color caulk will be compatible with surrounding materials.
  • To get the tube started and test the flow, hold the caulk gun over a garbage can and apply pressure on the trigger. Get comfortable with using the gun before you start your job.

Sealing Kitchen, Bath, and Plumbing Applications

  • Swab the joint with rubbing alcohol to remove soap scum, body oils, and other residue. Rubbing alcohol dries quickly and leaves the surfaces impeccably clean so the new caulking will adhere well.
  • When caulking a bathtub, fill it with water. You might even want to get into the tub wearing tall boots. This will pull the tub to the furthest distance from the wall. Apply a fresh bead of silicone sealant to the joint.
  • If you are caulking a shower stall, work from the inside out. Do the inside seams before the external ones so you do not brush up against any uncured caulk and create extra work or a mess.

Testing for Energy Leaks

Your home should be tested twice a year (once in the spring and again in the winter) to see if you are protected from energy loss, pollution, pests, and moisture. If you find gaps and cracks, be sure to seal—it's as easy as five simple steps.

  • Test #1: The dollar bill test: Place a dollar bill between the doorjamb or between the window sash and sill. With the door or window closed, attempt to remove the dollar bill. If it slides out easily, you are losing energy.
  • Test #2: The flashlight test: Shine a flashlight around the edges of your door at night. If you can see light from the other side, you're losing energy.
  • Test #3: The moist hand test: Pass a moist hand around the edge of your doors and windows. Where you feel a draft, you are losing energy. This test works best on cold, windy days.

Don't Waste Time and Energy

Not all caulk is the same. Because silicone is permanently waterproof, flexible, and shrink-/crack-proof, unlike most non-silicone caulks, it won't leave gaps or cracks for air and water to seep through over time. Those leaks can lead to water damage, mold growth, and higher energy bills—all of which can translate into your lost time (when you have to do the job again), lost energy, and lost money.

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Frequently Asked Questions