Saturday, August 17, 2013

Caulks and caulking.

   The last thing I was talking about was caulking, so I need to finish, don't I? Use good caulk! That was my point. If you read the side of a tube of caulk, it'll say something like, "20 Years, Guaranteed," or "35 Yr. Durability," or "Five Years Guaranteed Mold Free." Okay. Sure, caulk will last 20-35 years, but where we live, especially those of you in Montgomery, where the soil goes up and down with regularity, simply lasting a long time isn't worth ten cents. If the caulk doesn't give and take, move around, stretch with the movement of your residence, then it will split, be prone to having holes in it, and not do you any good whatsoever. Water will run behind your brick moldings unchecked.
    The anti-mold guarantee isn't so hot, either. It'll say that "soap" etc., will cause the caulk to be moldy. Alabama mold can grow anywhere. It's one of our few great, home-grown products.
   The best caulking we've found for these problems is Sonolastic NP1. Architects recommend it all the time for doors and windows because it stretches so well and mold doesn't adhere to it as well as it does with most products. NP1 is also expensive--we pay from 5-8 bucks a tube. It's not sold everywhere, and it's very difficult to apply so that it looks nice. It's paintable, but comes in colors, if you can find them. We prefer finding a color that matches and using that, because you have to let it cure one week before you can paint it. The other problem is tooling it. The company says to dry-tool it, which is incredibly difficult. They also say to not tool it with soapy water. Well, tooling it with soapy water is the only way we've ever been able to make the stuff look good. I performed a test in my own bathroom, between my tub and the wall tile, using soapy water to tool it. The test strip is six years old and still adhering. It still looks like new. In fact, I'm going to get up and check on it right now. (I walk away). Yep. It's still pliant (I can stick my fingernail in it and there's no mark left behind), it's still the original color (gray), and the caulk and/or grout on both sides of it are moldy. The test strip is clean as a whistle. Uh-oh. I hope my wife doesn't see this blog.
    Therefore, I highly recommend this product. Just remember, if you try to use it, it's a difficult task. I can't advise you to tool it with your finger in soapy water like we do, because it's not advised, and the product is a cancer causer.
    What I do recommend is that you use one of the better latex caulks, either DAP or White Lightning. These are the ones we usually use on doors and windows because they';re easy to apply, paintable, and though more expensive than many caulks, are justifiable in the long run. It would be nice if you could use silicone caulking around your doors and windows, and you can, but few are easily paintable. You are stuck with whatever color you pick--either white or clear. Most people want the caulking around their doors and windows to be painted the same color as the door or window.
    You don't need soapy water to tool the latex caulks. A wet rag or finger works great. I stick my finger in my mouth all day when I'm caulking. I know--gross. But it's fast and it works, even though the tube says to wear gloves. Yeah. Right. What can I say? I can warn you not to use your finger to tool the caulk. Me? Well, I do have Parkinson's Disease, and I do think it was caused by working in construction, but not by caulking. That's another story I'll get to one day, just not right now.
    The main thing about your caulking is that you need to keep an eye on it. We do guarantee what we do, of course, but only for a year. There's a reason for that. If you live in Montgomery, your house will shift sooner or later, and the caulk will split. It's a fact. We can't guarantee caulk won't split, even if we use the NP1. It's gonna happen. The thing is, you need to catch it as soon as you can. It will need to be re-caulked, or at least touched up. You can do it yourself. Just be sure and use a GOOD CAULK.
    Enough about caulking. I'm getting a latexy taste in my mouth.
    Next I'm going to show you how to make corn stickers. Yep--those little do-dads that you stick in the ends of your corn-on-the-cob so you don't burn your fingers. You may think this is a strange blog to use to talk about corn stickers, but I plan to do some design stuff here, too. And the corn stickers I'm going to show you how to make are so pretty, so unique, you'll want to display them somewhere. You'll want to use them as a part of your home design. Trust me. Bye now.

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