3M - Caulks and Sealants (1)
Sealants are essential for weatherproofing a home. Caulking is the most common product used for this application. The right selection of sealants can prolong the life of any home. Sealing the cracks leading into the home prevents water damage and lowers energy bills by adding a measure of insulation.
Caulking comes in two main varieties: interior and exterior. Interior types are ideal for sealing cracks where windows meet frames or for sealing plumbing fixtures, such as bathtubs. Interior multi-purpose caulking often has a lower VOC level than varieties for exterior applications. Exterior products are more resilient in the face of sun, wind, rain, and snow. A high-end type can provide protection against moisture for decades if installed and treated correctly.
Among interior and exterior sealants, choose from latex or silicone formulas. Latex products dry to a less flexible consistency than silicone, but they have the advantage of being paintable. While silicone isn’t paintable, it is available in many colours to match most walls and fixtures. Silicone is resilient and can expand and contract as the cracks between a window and walls — or a bathtub and frame — widen and close.
If you don’t have the time to use caulking, or if you’re filling large gaps, try spray sealant. This product comes in a can and doesn’t require an additional dispenser to use. It comes in multiple varieties, including variations for smaller or larger cracks, and some products are formulated to resist fire. Select models come impregnated with bittering agents to make them taste foul to rodents, which prevents the animals from chewing into and damaging homes. Spray foam expands once it’s dispensed, so there’s no need to go over it with a second layer.