Tuesday, May 17, 2005

How to apply caulk to the exterior of your house

Gather round, ladies and gents, and hear of Cliff's adventures in caulking! I had never caulked before today, and I must say that I am now a fan. Not so much because it's fun; it is no more or less satisfying than any other home improvement task. But it is so much fun to say! Caulk. It's a noun or a verb. The word fits the object that it describes quite well, like platypus. And when someone asks what you did today, you can say, "I caulked all day" and for once not be lying.
So the proper way to apply caulk to an exterior crack is as follows:

1) Be sure that the crack is free from excess moisture, mildew, dirt, dust, and animal feces before you begin. Trust me.

2) Make sure that you have both a can of caulk and a caulk gun. A caulk gun is a metal half-cylinder with a long metal rod coming out of the back and a trigger and handle on the bottom. Now there are several kinds of caulk. The two most common are silicon and siliconated latex. Silicon is the best, but if you are planning to paint over the caulk you must get latex as paint does not stick to the silicon caulk.

3) Now you're ready to caulk. Cut the tip off the tube of caulk at a 45 degree angle, being sure that the opening is no more than 1/4 inch unless you are caulking an obscenely big space.

4) Placing the nozzle against the crack, begin caulking smoothly, applying a healthy amount of caulk to the crack. Don't worry too much about the aesthetics of the caulk when you are applying it; just make sure that the crack is filled.

5) Once you are done caulking, use your finger to push the caulk further into the crack. It is important that the whole crack is filled so that there is no place for water to seep in.

6) Finally, take a wet cloth and wipe away excess caulk from the edges of the crack. Let the caulk dry for the allotted time (usually about 2 hours) and then you are free to paint over it. Voila, weatherproofing for the masses!

Now that I am such a fan of caulk, I will look to expand the roles that caulk plays in my daily life. I will substitute it for milk in my breakfast cereal. I will begin making things out of caulk to give to my friends for their birthdays, such as monkey figurines and pocketwatches. And keep an eye out for my forthcoming book, More Fun in the Bedroom with Caulk.


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