Caulking to Stop Air Leaks

We all want our home to be energy efficient, and according to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts are responsible for the loss of between 5-30 percent of a home’s energy. Keeping tight seals around your doors and windows is a simple and cost-effective way to help reduce power bills.


Latex Paintable Caulk


Standard Caulking Gun

Putty Knife

Scissors or Knife



Caulking compounds vary in strength, properties and prices. For a long-lasting seal, choose permanently waterproof, flexible, shrink-crack-proof 100 percent silicone (specifically for doors and windows), and if you are painting, try paintable silicone. For this project, we will caulk around a door frame.

  1. Before you apply the caulk, wipe down the surface with a damp cloth to remove any residue or dirt; then strip or scrape old caulk out of the gap or crack.
  2. Take the tube of caulk and cut the tip at a 45 degree angle. 
  3. Pierce the seal on the cartridge to allow the caulk to flow evenly. 
  4. Insert the tube of caulk into the caulking gun.
  5. Start applying a bead of caulking to the areas you have prepared, squeezing evenly, and with consistent pressure and speed to control the rate at which the caulk leaves the tube. 
  6. Complete a section at a time and smooth out the caulking with the tip of your finger.

Note: The trick to a good caulking job is to hold it at a consistent angle and draw the bead continuously rather than in a stop-and-start fashion. Then release the trigger before pulling the gun away to avoid excess caulk oozing out.

Caulk forms a flexible seal for cracks, gaps or joints less than one quarter-inch wide. Making smart choices like caulking to stop air seepage throughout your home can help you save energy and money.