Note: This DIY article is provided as a general guide only and is not intended to take the place of product-specific installation procedures; always follow applicable manufacturers’ instructions. Depending on your home’s age and condition, location within the home, and other potential factors, repairs and/or upgrades or other services may be necessary prior to the beginning and/or completion of your project that may involve the services of a home improvement professional. This article does not include advice pertaining to local building codes and/or any related inspections.
With the right products and tools, sealing can be an easy and effective home improvement skill. Caulking projects can ensure your home is protected from energy loss, water damage, mold or mildew growth and more. Follow these five steps for a successful sealing project:
- CHOOSE THE RIGHT SEALANT
The type of product you choose can make all the difference. For instance, some projects require painting and exceptional flexibility, like installing wainscoting in a dining room. Other projects might not need painted, but require reliable weather resistance, like sealing windows or doors. Identifying these factors will help you choose the right sealant for the job.For areas that won’t need to be painted, Advanced Silicone 2™ Kitchen & Bath and Advanced Silicone 2 Window & Door 100% Silicone sealants are a good choice, offering a permanently waterproof, shrink and crack-proof seal.If the area will need to be painted, GE-branded Siliconized Acrylic Latex caulks and sealants are ideal. These products offer extreme flexibility to withstand expansion and contraction, as well as easy application and tool.Or, if your project requires a paintable seal with added water resistance, try hybrid sealants, such as Paintable Silicone Supreme Kitchen & Bath or Paintable Silicone Supreme Window & Door sealants. These sealants combine the outstanding waterproof performance you would expect from a silicone sealant with the ease of use and paintability of an acrylic latex.
- CLEAN THE SURFACE
Remove old sealant, dirt and loose particles with a caulk-removing tool, or a wire brush for concrete and masonry applications, and wipe clean with a cloth. Apply painter’s tape to either side of the joint to create a straight edge. Remove immediately after caulk application.
- PREPARE THE TUBE AND SEAL
Cut the tip of the nozzle to the desired bead size. Pierce the inner seal with a stiff wire or similar object. Insert cartridge into caulk gun.Apply the sealant at a 45-degree angle around unsightly cracks or spaces inside and outside the home. If using a caulk gun, squeeze the trigger with even, consistent pressure to control the rate at which the sealant leaves the tube.
- SMOOTH THE CAULK SEAL
Use your gloved finger or a wet caulk finish tool to help achieve a smooth, clean bead of caulk.
- STORE THE TUBE AND CLEAN
Adjust pressure to the gun so that the sealant is barely coming out of the tube. Replace the cap or use a nail or similar object to seal the tube opening. To clean the area around the sealed joint, use mineral spirits for a silicone sealant or a hybrid sealant and soap and water for an acrylic. Wipe excess material from tools and clean accordingly as well.
- GE-branded 100% Silicone, Hybrid, or Siliconized Acrylic Latex caulk or sealant
- Dripless caulk gun
- Caulk-removal tool, putty knife, painters multi-tool or utility knife
- Clean cloths
- Caulk-finishing tool
Whatever your sealing project may be, GE Sealants & Adhesives is here to help you get the job done right. Check out our other projects and how to’s for more useful information!