Weatherproofing your home will not only improve the indoor climate and your level of comfort but will also reduce your electricity bill. So this winter season, take some time to inspect your house inside and out, paying extra attention to the air points of entry such as windows and doors. The following guide will teach you how to weatherproof your windows and doors for winter.
When inspecting your house for possible energy loss, mind your house’s exposure to the sun and dominant winds. The areas that are often subjected to dire weather conditions like these will require your extra attention. This is because cracks and gaps will inevitably develop between, windows and their surrounding brick wall.
House Weatherproofing Techniques
- Sealing around windows and doors
- Adding window shutters, blinds, or curtains
- Replacing windows and doors
- Adding attic insulation
- Waterproofing and insulating basement and house foundation
While some weatherproofing measures can turn into big home improvement projects, there are some efficient DIY steps you can follow. An easy way to do so is to simply caulk and seal drafty windows with a window gap filler.
Caulking Windows and Doors
When you are sealing window and door frames, it is important to choose the right caulking for the project. There are currently 3 main types of exterior window caulk on the market to choose from:
- Silicone caulk (or a mix of silicone and latex) is waterproof, very flexible, and shrink-proof with a life expectancy of 20 years after application. It is clear when it dries but tends to have a strong odour after immediate application.
- Polyurethane caulk is more commonly used for sealing windows and doors. It is expected to last 10 to 20 years. Polyurethane expands as it dries perfectly filling door and window gaps. Polyurethane caulks can also be painted over which makes them a fantastic window sealer for most projects.
- Butyl rubber, oil-based, or resin-based caulks are less expensive than the previous two types of window and door sealant, but they offer much less flexibility and do not last that long.
Things to Keep in Mind When Caulking Windows and Doors
Before applying the new caulk, it is important to remove the old layer with caulk remover gel. The old caulk hardens and becomes brittle with time and traps moisture beneath, which can host humidity and mold. Remove it completely and clean the area with rubbing alcohol before a new application.
Mind the Gap
Another important aspect of caulk application is the size of the crack in the door or window. If the crack is more than half an inch, use a backer rod to fill the gap instead of filling it with caulk. It is also essential to even out the window caulk surface after application; not only does it look more professional, but it also makes the window seal less vulnerable. In addition, it minimizes the risk of unwanted mould growth.
If you are caulking windows in a house with a brick exterior, you have to use caulk that is clear when it dries. Silicone caulk is a good example. The trick here is to get as little caulk as possible on the brick surface. You will need a good dispenser gun for this project so that it would distribute the caulk around the window evenly.
Read ‘Em and Weep
If your house is fairly new and there are trim boards around the windows or doors attached on top of the siding, you should not caulk the gaps in between. Windows like these have openings called weep holes. A weep hole is a small opening that lets water out of the windows so that they do not collect moisture. In this case, weep holes should not be sealed nor caulked because they serve a purpose in the overall structure of the window.
Window Sill Sealant
Another significant area to pay attention to when sealing or resealing a window is an exterior windowsill. A windowsill mainly diverts the water from the wall beneath the window. The windowsill might also develop gaps over time, mostly in 2 areas: between the window and windowsill, and between the concrete slabs or bricks that make up the windowsill. When you are caulking, make sure you take care of these areas too.
At the end of the day, it is critical to check the structure of your doors and windows. In some cases, a window or door seal would defeat their intended purpose and cause costly damage. Although caulking windows and doors seems like an easy DIY project, contact a door and window expert for a professional opinion. An expert can give you with many benefits not just for your house, but on your hydro bills, as well.