Sealing your home’s air leaks requires careful consideration of the type of caulk to use for the job. It’s not enough to simply buy any caulk you find at your local home-improvement store. Choosing the right kind of material to use will ensure a long-lasting seal in the areas where you find leaks, resulting in an airtight home and lower energy bills.
Surprisingly, there are a number of different kinds of caulk from which to choose, so it’s important to know the differences between materials and where it’s best to use one kind of caulk over another.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Silicone – Basic household-type caulk uses silicone in the solution, and it’s ideal for sealing your home’s air leaks that occur around joints in metal materials or for sealing around kitchen and bathroom tiles and fixtures. It adheres well, doesn’t shrink, and is easy to clean up with a cloth. To seal around building materials, brick or metal flashing, however, use a construction silicone.
- Polyurethane – Often called spray-foam caulk, polyurethane-based caulk expands when dry, which makes it useful for larger gaps that occur around your home, and it can be used along interior or exterior locations. It creates a tight seal, but requires a solvent to clean up.
- Foam – This type of foam sealant is water based, appropriate for sealing your home’s air leaks around door and window frames, and along smaller gaps or leaks. You can clean it up with water, and it will expand by about 25 percent after it’s applied; however, it still creates a tight seal.
- Butyl rubber – An effective sealant for joining differing types of materials such as plastic, wood, glass, metal or concrete, it will expand by up to 30 percent, but it doesn’t create as tight a seal as other types of caulk, and requires mineral spirits for clean-up.
If you’re wondering how energy efficient your home really is, contact Cool Power today. We’re happy to conduct an energy audit, so that sealing your home’s air leaks results in targeted, effective results. We’ve been serving homeowners on Long Island since 1975.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hauppauge, New York and the Long Island area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about air leaks and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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