How to Recaulk Window Panes




Introduction: How to Recaulk Window Panes

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Over time, wood dries out and shrinks. If you have wooden window frames in an older house, the wood might have shrunk enough to pull away from the caulking that seals in the window panes. Even if you have metal or vinyl windows, caulking snafus can happen, and the caulk itself could be old or misapplied.

Aside from letting the warm air out of your home, old or bad caulk can cause paint to peel and can let moisture into the window frame, which can lead to wood rot.

Recaulking an old window isn’t difficult. You’ll need a caulking gun loaded with the right kind of sealer (ask an employee at your local hardware store for a recommendation), a putty knife, some paper towels or rags that you can pitch afterward and a steady trigger finger.

Source: Cure for the Common Cold Room

Photo via Dean in SF

Step 1: Clear Out Old Caulk.

Use the putty knife to clean out any old caulk from around the window or frame. You want to start with a work surface that’s empty and fairly clean.

Photo via Wikipedia Commons

Step 2: Cut the Tip Off the Caulk Tube and Break the Seal Inside.

You should leave a hole just wide enough to fill the gap with caulk. Once you’ve cut a proper-sized hole, push a long nail, a chopstick, a broken wire hanger or one of your neighbor’s thin screwdrivers into the tip until you feel the seal inside pop open.

Photo via Nathan Friedman

Step 3: Apply the Caulk.

Putting steady pressure on the caulk gun’s “trigger,” run a bead of caulk into the gap you’re trying to fill.

Photo via smashz.

Step 4: Smooth the Seal.

Using a wet finger or a damp rag, push the caulk into the gap and smooth it out into a nice, curved seal.

Photo via Vanilla Bean Girls

Step 5: Clean Quickly.

Clean any extra caulk off your hands, the window, the caulk gun and any tools you intend to return to your neighbor before the caulk dries.

Photo via Rakka

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    1 year ago

    Thanks to both Sunnymoonndn030270, and Kaufmanesque, for the information on the seal puncture wire. I did not know that new guns come with one nor did I know that the old, used caulk gun I have, may no longer have one attached.

    Just so everyone is clear, you should use glazing putty between the window glass and the window frame, if the frame is wood. Caulk is not a good option as it doesn't leave as clean of a seam and will wear out far sooner than the glazing putty will. I'm currently reglazing some windows that were installed in 1927, so if you do it right, it should last at least that long.


    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you, for the information regarding the glazing putty. I was pretty sure some type of putty was needed but didn't run across the particular type - or the reasoning behind needing/using it - until now.


    2 years ago

    You do realize that all caulk guns come with a seal punture wire?


    Reply 2 years ago

    Picture example from this post.


    Reply 2 years ago

    noun: joke; plural noun: jokes
    1. a thing that someone says to cause amusement or laughter, especially a story with a funny punchline.
    "she was in a mood to tell jokes"

    Reply 2 years ago

    Do you purchase a caulk gun every time you buy a tube of caulk? I have never owned a new caulk gun. I have a couple. Usually I find caulk guns in the trash or for a quarter at a garage sale and they will rarely still have the seal puncture thingy. The author of this instructable was giving out some advice to folks that might not be as fortunate as yourself by listing various items one could use instead of your beloved wire. I would also like to point out that the author was having a bit of fun and made a joke about using a neighbor's screwdriver. Sunnymoon, see if you can find any other jokes in this instructable. If you need help post another comment and I will be glad to point them out for you.