Why to Avoid Filling Gaps with Silicone when Draught Proofing Your Home

Here’s the best way to seal draughty old wall vents, skirting boards and architraves in your home, without filling gaps with silicone.

Why to fill draughty gaps around your home …

Draught proofing your home is a great way to keep your home warm in winter and cool in summer without cranking up the heater or the air conditioner. When you seal up all of those sneaky gaps and cracks, you can keep your expensive heating and cooling to a minimum, and stop the outdoor temperature from affecting your comfort.

Check these common places for gaps and cracks around the home:

  • Unsealed, open wall vents
  • Gaps between your skirting boards and the floor
  • Gaps between your architraves and the wall
  • Anywhere where one surface meets another surface in your home!

Why to avoid filling gaps with silicone around your home …

We’ve been draught proofing homes for more than 10 years, and in that time we’ve learned a thing or two and about how to stop even invisible sources of draught in your home.

Household silicone most commonly comes in a tube fitted with a long cone-shaped nozzle. This fits into a metal a caulking gun which is used to squeeze the silicone out through the nozzle in a continuous line. A silicone spreader is a plastic scraping pad used for tidying and finishing, it comes in a variety of shapes, often with a rounded and a right-angle edge to provide a different finish.

Yes, silicone is a good product, there’s no doubt about that. But when it comes to sealing up the draughty leaks in your home, there’s a few good reasons to avoid filling gaps with silicone. There’s an art to caulking, and if you’re not an expert caulker – silicone can be quite difficult to apply neatly and effectively.

So here’s what we know about silicone: In a nutshell – it’s really easy to apply too much, or too little… AND it’s really hard to clean up after you make a slip.

  • ISSUE # 1: It’s Sticky and Nearly Impossible to Clean Up
    It’s the best thing about silicone and the worst thing about silicone – it’s incredibly sticky. You only get one shot, and if you make a mess while caulking you’re looking at an eternity of turps, scraping and slicing – your damaged surface may never be the same again!
  • ISSUE # 2: Not Applying Enough
    When running your caulking gun along, if you don’t apply enough silicone, you’ll find it very messy work to add more. What’s the problem? Well, if you’re using a separating agent on your silicone spreader (like soapy water), you’ll find it impossible to add more silicone – because it just won’t stick to itself when you try to fill the low areas.
  • ISSUE # 3: Applying Too Much
    Here’s where it gets really messy. If you apply too much, your silicone spreader will get overloaded with excess, building up onto your fingers and meaning you have to scrape the same place twice, leaving an ugly join where you stopped and started again.
  • ISSUE # 4: It Just Stinks!
    If you’ve ever used silicone before, you’ll know what we mean. If you’ve been lucky enough to avoid it – imagine an intense vinegar smell, sometimes so potent that your eyes water! That silicone odour is the acetic acid fumes being released, which are not good for your lungs and leave your home very smelly!

What to use instead of filling gaps with silicone …

The answer is to use a water-based sealant like Fullers UltraClear, which is our personal choice when performing top-quality draught proofing for thousands of Victorian homes. It’s just as effective and much easier than filling gaps with silicone – and that means a better (and neater) job done at the end of the day!

Here’s why we choose Fuller’s UltraClear as an alternative to filling draughty gaps with silicone:

  1. Goes on White, Dries Clear
    This means you can really see how much you’re dispensing, giving you the best possible shot at caulking evenly. You can see all of the little extra bits when you’re cleaning up, and then it dries clear for a neat and almost invisible finish.
  2. You Can Clean it Up with Water
    No more solvents! UltraClear can be easily cleaned up with water when wet. We use a damp Chux cloth and it works a treat!
  3. Less Dangerous Fumes
    UltraClear is much nicer to work with, it’s the healthier option for you and your household and won’t leave any lingering stench in your home afterwards.

See how it’s done …

 

Where do I buy Ultra Clear?
In Australia, you can buy Fullers UltraClear by clicking on this link

Don’t want to do it yourself?
We can help. All of our ecoHome Retrofit Plans include an inspection and diagnosis of fixing the draughts in your home – even the ones you can’t see!

Want to receive tailored recommendations specific to your home in a prioritised step-by-step plan?

Book an ecoHome Assessment Now

6 comments… add one
  • su March 12, 2017, 9:59 am

    why not show a sample of it dried????

    Reply
    • ecoMaster April 2, 2017, 1:56 pm

      Hi Su, that is a good question. Because it dries clear it is quite difficult to photograph. I myself have returned to clients homes and wondered if our installers had missed sealing some skirting to floor gaps. I normally try to slip in a long snap blade knife into the gap. Of course that doesn’t work because the gap is indeed sealed. We will endeavour to get some clear pictures.

      Reply
  • Dawn Bahnmiller April 30, 2017, 12:32 am

    Can I seal a wood ceiling? My bedrooms in my apt have 2×6 wood boards for the ceiling. You can see the black visqueen laid on the roof under the shingles. Both rooms are extremely cold. Have not been able to get property management to address problem.

    Reply
    • ecoMaster April 30, 2017, 2:52 pm

      Hi Dawn, Thanks for your question. Yes you certainly can seal the gaps in a wood ceiling. You can seal anywhere two surfaces join. This is traditionally an area that is overlooking when householders look at draught proofing their homes. There are often spider webs where the gaps are in the ceiling as spiders love a passing trade. Cheers Team ecoMaster.

      Reply
  • Sue May 3, 2017, 10:53 pm

    Hello, just wondering if the sealant is easy to apply. Is a gun necessary ? Also can you get the sealant in different colours ?
    Many thanks, Sue

    Reply
    • ecoMaster May 12, 2017, 8:54 am

      Hi Sue,
      Thanks for your message. If you use a water based acrylic rather than silicone, it is easy to apply. More importantly, it is easy to clean up any excess with a damp cloth. Yes – you will need a gun to apply it. There are many brands of sealant on the market. We have tested nearly all of them and use HB Fullers Ultraclear because it is white when applied and dries clear so you don’t have to worry about colour matching. I note you have a UK email address, so the Fullers brand might not be available in the UK. Correctly applied sealant makes a huge difference to the comfort of your home. Good luck with it. Cheers. Team ecoMaster.

      Reply

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