Monday, August 5, 2013

Caulk and Cracks

A lot of the neighbors are touching up their houses. It really is a domino effect. One neighbor starts a landscape project, and you see other neighbors getting out in their yards, too.

A little over two months ago, I saw some neighbors fixing the outside trim of their house. They caulked the seams and repainted the trim. It made such a difference! So, I decided to tackle ours.

Caulking helps keep the house weather-tight and prevents damage to structural elements. Caulking around windows and doors helps lower heating and cooling bills.

Lowes and Home Depot are nowhere near our house or places of work. It’s not on the way to anything either. So, when I was on the phone with my mom and she said she was going to Lowes, I had her pick up some caulk for me. I told her DAP, but she came back with this.

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The only guidelines I gave her were it had to be for the exterior and paintable. And it was.

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The outside trim of our house is not in bad shape, but it needed a little lovin’. The house turns 5 years old in August. Before we closed on the house, I had the builder do a better job at sealing what I think I remember him call the “bird boxes.” This is the framing under the eaves.

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It was evident the crack was there and glaring at us.

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I had to wait for some good weather. There was a lot of rain going on in May. I remember the first year we were in the house, we had flood level rain.

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It hasn’t been that bad since. But this year came close. I think the added plants and re-grading that we did helps with the flooding. But it’s not only flooding in our yard, but everywhere in the city.

Back to the trim… After it had been dry for a while and I got the boys down for a nap, I got my ladder and went outside to start sealing the cracks.

I looked up all kinds of tricks. If I were doing the bathtub, I would have been more precise, but since I could paint over this, I wasn’t going to use the fancy, time-consuming tricks.

I actually read to clip the tube to the width you need for the gap you are working with.

Remove the old caulk before applying a new, fresh seal.

There is no need to flatten or shape the bead of caulk to get it to look concave, or depress. As the caulk cures, it will shrink to form a concave seal. This step was new to me. I ended up wetting my finger and flattening the caulk into the crack.

This project took three days to do (spread out over 4 weeks). The first day (aka nap time) I cleaned all my windows. I used a mixture of jet dry and dawn. Worked beautifully.

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The next project day, I went around and added the new caulk to all the areas.

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The tube said it would take 40 minutes to dry. The boys would be awake by then, so I left the paint for another day. 

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I touched up the caulking around the windows and doors.

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I have one day a week that I can tackle a project or two, so I waited until the next Saturday’s nap time and painted over my seal.

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I also took it to another level since I have the paint out and touched up some other areas.

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I feel much better tackling this project. Hopefully in five years it will still look this good.

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