As air speeds up the drying process, you should prevent air from reaching the unused sealant in the tube or cartridge. One method to achieve this is to squeeze a small blob of sealant out to fill the tip of the nozzle, creating an air-tight seal. Next, you can either cover the whole nozzle with a plastic bag and secure it in place with a rubber band, or tape the tip-off tightly. Although these storage methods do not mean that the sealant will not dry out, it will greatly extend its shelf-life.
The most efficient and effective way to remove the old caulk is to use a chemical silicone sealant remover. You will first need to scrape or peel off the loose pieces of sealant, then apply the remover to those areas and wipe it off with a damp cloth.
Although most silicone sealants are rather resistant to mold growth, after their prolonged exposure to the high moisture in damp areas, you will eventually end up having to clean black mold growth on older silicone seals. A good way is to soak some cotton wool in household bleach, place it on the affected area and let it sit for at least three hours. When the wool is removed, wash it off with water.
Silicone sealant products each have varied required drying and curing times. Generally, most silicone-based caulks will be dry to the touch in around 1-2 hours. However, it is recommended to let the seal cure for at least 10 hours, ideally 24 hours, before exposing it to any water or moisture.
The timings can be affected by external factors in the install location, the thickness of the layer, and any residual moisture in the sealed materials.
All buildings have air leak paths. In many homes, air leaking through holes and cracks is responsible for up to one-fifth of heating and cooling costs. The biggest sources of air leaks are usually located in common areas of the house such as around pipes, ducts, windows, and doors. However, we should also not overlook the hidden air leaks that can be found in attics, basements, as well as around wiring holes and chimneys. These troublesome areas are a big contributor to energy loss too.
You should caulk the small gaps and cracks around the house to keep moisture out and stop unwanted airflow. There are several common places that need caulk/sealant:
- Windows and doors
- Basement rim joists
- Bathroom tubs, showers
- Between crown molding, baseboards, chair rails, and wallboard
- Around air vents and ducts
- Around electrical wiring, outlet, and cable holes
- Around sinks, faucets, pipes, backsplashes, and countertops
Yes, it is important to adequately prepare surfaces. Surface preparation should be done within 24 hours of the application of the product. Different surfaces require different preparations:
- Concrete, Masonry, and Stone: All contaminants and impurities must be cleaned off, and can be done so using a wire brush.
- Porous Surfaces: Create a clean surface using sandpaper or a wire brush.
- Glass, Metal, and Plastic: Clean the surface with a solvent such as mineral spirits and then wipe it dry with a cloth.
- Note that silicone sealant should not be used on any galvanized surface. If you are using silicone sealant for other surfaces, do not clean them with detergent or soap and water.