All About Caulking!
Caulking is used to prevent water damage outdoors at window trim, door trim and siding connections, and at locations where water leaks might occur. It also is used inside to water-seal sinks, tubs and showers. Other inside uses included hiding gaps in woodwork connections and repairing long narrow cracks in walls and ceilings. By the way, here is the secret that will help you to determine whether to make a repair with caulking or putty. Although caulking and putty often can be used interchangably, caulking is specifically designed to fill long narrow joints. Putty is used to patch small holes such as those made by nails.
Caulking to prevent water damage is a necessicary evil that is, at best, a temporary repair. But, temporary or not, it is important to get the longest life out of each caulking application. To accomplish this it is important to match the appropriate type of caulking to the job at hand. The following are a few examples of how to get the most for your money when caulking.
Latex caulking is the easiest type to use. It can be cleaned with fresh water — a little soap helps. And a smooth application is guaranteed by wiping the bead into place with a wet spong or lint-free rag. An alternative we like to use is our finger. Careful for splinters — ouch! Latex caulk can be used indoors on wood work connections and where woodwork meets wall board — and on the wall board as well. Gaps being caulked should not exceed one-eighth to three-sixteenths of an inch in width and should be free of loose debris. Keep in mind that of the hundreds of types and brands of caulking there are only one or two that work in wet conditions. A good reason to make sure that the area to be caulked is completely void of moisture. Because it it water base latex caulk has the tendency to shrink — as the water evaporates. It is not very flexible and if used to seal a joint that moves or vibrates the joint will quickly reopen.
Pure silicone caulk will last longer than latex and it won’t shrink. It never dries completely and therefore is not useful in areas that can be easily accessed. Think about it — you can damage a new piece of clothing on a caulking job that was performed the year before.
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