Get out your caulking gun before summer is out

Posted by Woodrow Aames ~ August 19, 2011

OK, gunslingers, it's time to draw your caulking gun before the bad boys of winter settle in to ravage the homestead. Kidding aside, caulking and sealing is a home improvement project that fits the schedule between barbecues and beach trips. You'll gain a lot of protection for your home with just a little time and effort before the cold winds blow. Not only will you preserve your window frames and walls, you'll increase insulation and save on energy costs for the chilly weather ahead.

The U.S. Department of Energy recommends that you purchase a disposable cartridge of caulking compound for every two windows you need to shore up. In addition to the automatic release guns, caulking comes in squeeze tubes, ropes and even aerosol cans (not recommended if you have a conscience).

Caulking prep and repair made simple

Grab a putty knife and stiff brush and examine your window frames. If old caulk has cracked or chipped, remove it before making repairs. Clean your surfaces with rubbing alcohol to assist caulk adhesion. Do the work in low humidity if you can to promote even curing when the new caulk is set. And summer heat helps the fresh caulk adhere to your surfaces. You should apply caulk in the mid-afternoon when the house has expanded fully and before it retracts in the cool evening air.

If you're re-painting the house, prep for painting at the same time as you do for caulking. Caulk comes in a wide range of colors. If you're re-painting, choose opaque caulk that will hold your fresh paint.

Other quick, end-of-summer home improvements

Reader's Digest suggests that you start simple curb-appeal projects that won't take a lot of time or money. For example, you may want to seal your driveway while the weather is good. Winter is a poor time to expect a good cure from freshly poured asphalt.

You won't spend hardly a cent by cleaning out your garage now that the weather is agreeable. Remove, recycle or sell your unwanted items while people are still visiting garage sales. You'll appreciate the added room come winter.

If you're quick enough to get it going, autumn is your last chance to add a new deck this year. If you already have a deck, get it scrubbed and sealed before snow and ice come for their annual visit.

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