We get many calls for Baytown window repair for drafty windows, window leaks, and other issues due to gaps between the window frame and the wall. Oftentimes, this is something simple you can fix yourself by re-caulking your windows. Replacing the caulk around your windows is an incredibly easy project you can usually take care of in just a weekend to seal your house from drafts, moisture, and other issues. In this blog, we’ll explain why caulk is important around your windows, how to re-caulk your windows yourself, and other helpful information about window caulking.
Drafty, Leaky Windows? Replacing Caulk is a DIY Baytown Window Repair Option
First and foremost, you might be wondering how you will know you need re-caulking versus, say, Baytown glass repair for drafts, leaks, and other issues with your window. The key here is to do a thorough inspection to get to the bottom of what’s causing the issue.
For example, if you have a cracked or broken window pane, this can absolutely cause drafts and water leaks. Therefore, you should take some time to look closely at each of your windows to find the culprit. If there’s nothing wrong with the glass and the window panes seem to sit snugly in the window, then turn your attention to the window frame. Cracks in the window frame can also cause issues. Problems with the glass or frame may need professional Baytown window repair or even replacement for old or extremely damaged windows.
However, in most cases, drafts, small water leaks, and even more insects in your home are simply due to worn out caulking around the window. Look for signs of damage or wear in the caulking in the joints of the window frame and between the window frame and the wall. It may look cracked, shrunken, discolored, or it may even start crumbling when you touch it. If this is the case, most homeowners can actually handle this repair job themselves.
What is Caulk? Why Do I Need it Around the Windows in My Home?
So, what is caulk anyway? Essentially, this is a flexible sealant that is designed to help fill gaps less than ¼” thick. For instance, you’ll find caulk around your bathtub to prevent moisture from damaging the walls and floors in your bathroom. Caulking around your windows helps seal your home from gaps between the frame and the wall.
Window caulking has many benefits. Caulking helps seal your home from air leaks that can drive your energy bills for heating and cooling according to the U.S. Department of Energy. It also helps prevent moisture leaks and insect infiltration through joints in the windows. Also, crumbling caulk can make your home look neglected and detracts from the beauty of your home and décor.
You use caulk around stationary parts of your window, such as between the frame and the interior and exterior walls of your home, while weather stripping is meant for moving parts of your windows. Re-caulking your windows is a relatively easy project that can save you money on energy bills and also prevent damage to your home.
Baytown Window Repair: How to Re-Caulk Windows
The great news about re-caulking windows is that it’s something you can easily do yourself. You often don’t need the skill or knowledge of the technicians from your Baytown glass company to replace the caulking around your windows. Instead, you can follow our simple steps and tips below to re-caulk your windows for Baytown window repair.
Remove the Old Caulk & Clean the Area
The very first thing you should do is remove all the old caulk. You might be tempted to just lay caulk over the old, but this can actually make the seal ineffective and can also make the new caulk wear out faster. Fully removing the old caulk and cleaning the area helps the new caulk adhere properly so it lasts longer.
Follow these steps to remove the old caulk around your windows:
- Apply caulk remover to soften the old caulk
- Allow the caulk remover to sit for a few hours
- Scrape the old caulk away with a caulk removing tool, utility knife, or putty knife
- Thoroughly clean the area with soap and water and allow to dry
- Follow up by using rubbing alcohol around the area where you will apply the new caulk
In some cases, if the old caulk has let moisture in, you might notice mold or mildew where the old caulk was. If this is the case, you need to kill it with a bleach and water solution before moving onto steps 4 and 5.
Select the Right Caulk for Baytown Window Repair
It’s also important to choose the right caulk for Baytown window repair. Otherwise, you might find that the caulk wears out faster or doesn’t properly seal your home from the elements. When you go to the hardware store, you’ll find many different types of caulk. Once you find the right one for your needs, make sure you pick up enough. For most average sized windows, you will need about half of the cartridge for one application.
Silicone caulk or a silicone blend caulk is a great option for windows. It is moisture resistant, UV resistant, and incredibly long-lasting. This makes it great for caulking both inside and outside of your windows. However, it’s important to note that paint won’t stick to it. So, if you want to paint over it, this might not be the best option for you.
Polyurethane caulk is another common option for Baytown window repair. This option doesn’t last quite as long as silicone, but is still a good option for caulking the interior side of your windows. Keep in mind that polyurethane does break down with UV exposure. However, you can paint over this caulk option, which can help reduce UV damage.
Butyl rubber caulk is a heavy-duty option that is often used to seal gaps in things like your home’s gutters. You can also use this to caulk window exteriors. It offers great weather resistance and a good seal for your windows. Butyl rubber caulk can be painted, which is another plus. However, this option does cure more slowly and doesn’t last as long as silicone. Also, due to the fumes, most people only use butyl rubber caulk for exterior projects.
Applying the New Caulk
The final step is applying, smoothing, and cleaning up the caulk. For this, you will need your caulk cartridge, a caulk gun, some rags, and a little water.
First, make sure to inspect the window and determine where to apply the caulk. Don’t apply caulking to moving parts. Also, look for any weep holes that help moisture exit the window frame. Caulking over these can trap moisture and lead to mold, mildew, and moisture damage in your home.
Next, you’ll need to put the caulk cartridge into the caulk gun and cut the tip of the cartridge. Be conservative when cutting the cartridge tip. You can always cut more later if needed.
Now you’re ready to apply. Start at the corner and move toward the middle of the joint. Then, go to the other corner and lay a bead of caulk from that corner and connect it to the other bead. This helps you avoid putting too much in the corners and can help you apply a more even layer of caulking. Also, we recommend using two hands to keep the caulk gun steady. Apply a generous amount, as the caulk does typically shrink as it cures.
Next, you will need to smooth the caulk out to create a better seal and make it look nicer. One of the best ways is to simply wet your finger and gently swipe it along the edge of the window. If you find that you have a hard time creating an even line this way, consider placing painters tape in a straight line along the window frame and the wall for crisp edges.
Once you’re finished, clean up any excess caulking immediately. You want to remove it before it dries. You can usually do this with just a wet rag.
How Often to Replace Caulk for Baytown Window Repair?
So, how often do you actually need to replace the caulk around your windows? The simplest answer is “as often as you need to.” Of course, we know this might not be easy to tell, so let’s break that answer down.
Most caulks will last at least five years, so typically you won’t need to do it more often than that, unless it wasn’t applied properly, you didn’t use the right caulk, or something causes the joints to move significantly and wear out the caulk. The exception is if your house is new, as new builds typically settle significantly in the first one to two years, so you might need to do it more often in the first few years.
However, we recommend inspecting the caulking around your windows at least once a year. Springtime is a great time to do this as the weather is usually good for both your inspection and re-caulking if you need it. Look for any signs of worn caulking, such as gaps or cracks in the caulking, crumbling caulking, leaks, mold, or drafts. If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to re-caulk to protect your home and your windows.
Joey’s Glass – Top Baytown Glass Company
Our team at Joey’s Glass offers superior quality glass services for your home, car, and business. We offer everything from Baytown window repair to windshield replacement. As Baytown’s oldest full-service glass company, we are dedicated to providing the best service to our customers. If you need glass repair, installation, or replacement, contact us now for a free quote.