This time of year, many homeowners are busy getting their homes ready for winter. And that includes air sealing. The most common materials used to seal air leaks, of course, are caulk and weatherstripping.

But what kind of caulk do you need for the particular project you have in mind? That can get tricky. Follow this easy homeowner’s guide to caulk, and you’ll have your Wichita home winter-tight in no time.

  • Household silicone caulk has a range of uses. Use it to seal tiles and metal fixtures both inside and outside your home.Silicone caulk has the widest application, the most durability and the easiest cleanup, but it is also the most costly of any caulk.
  • Polyurethane expanding foam is a good choice for filling larger holes and cracks, as it expands upon application. It does not adhere as well as other caulks, however, and it can become dry and brittle over time. Use a solvent such as paint thinner to clean up any spills.
  • Water-based foam sealants expand about 25 percent. They typically take 24 hours to cure. They are not suitable for large gaps or cracks, but they do not emit greenhouse gases.
  • Butyl rubber caulk can be used to seal dissimilar materials. It is a highly durable caulk.
  • Latex caulk is an inexpensive sealant often used in kitchens and bathrooms, especially around bathtubs. Lasting two to 10 years, it is not an especially durable caulk.
  • Oil- and resin-based caulk is an outdoor caulk is not the most durable caulk, and its adhesion typically doesn’t measure up to other forms of caulk.

Most types of caulk come in cartridges that fit in caulking guns. If you’re trying to calculate how much you’ll need: An average door or window frame takes a half cartridge, while foundation work generally calls for more–as many as four cartridges.

Committed to taking even more energy-saving measures in your Wichita-area home? Get in touch with the experts at Comfort Systems. We can help you every step of the way, from making your home as airtight as possible to choosing the right energy-saving furnace. Give us a call. We’re happy to help.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Wichita, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about caulking and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.