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Frequently Asked Questions

Application

Where do air leaks most commonly occur in a home?

Windows and doors are very common areas for air leaks in your home. But air leakage can also occur in cracks and holes in your attic, basement, and even around your chimney. These hidden leaks can often be the most significant sources of energy loss, contributing to up to 20% of your home’s heating and cooling costs. That’s up to 10% of your total energy bill. Keep cold air (or hot air) where it belongs by sealing air leaks in your attic, basement and around your chimney to help save money.

What areas should I be sealing in my home?

In general, apply caulk or sealant in gaps, cracks or joints in areas where you want an airtight or watertight seal. Here’s a list of important areas to seal:
  • Around windows and doors
  • Chimneys
  • Holes in the attic floor, knee walls and cracks where outside air can enter or inside air can escape.
  • Basement rim joists (where the foundation meets the wood frame)
  • Against the surface where faucets or pipes meet the house
  • Cracks in exterior siding or where two different materials meet (siding, chimney or foundation)
  • Around air vents and ducts
  • Leaks in gutters or cracks in flashing
  • Kitchen sinks, faucets, backsplashes and countertops
  • Bathroom sinks, tubs, showers, the shower surround and backsplashes
  • Between crown molding, baseboards, chair rails and wallboards

What caulk or sealant can I apply on my electrical components?

Caulks or sealants should not be considered for use in any electrical application.
 
Contact a customer service representative at 1-866-275-4372 for more information.

How can I find air leaks in my home?

Air leakage can ramp up your energy bill, making up almost 20% of your heating and cooling costs. Sealing those air leaks can both improve your home's energy efficiency and give you energy savings in the long run. Fortunately, there are a variety of tests designed to detect air leaks. Many of these leaks are easy to find because they can be felt and are located in common areas of the house—especially around window frames and door frames. But others are much more inconspicuous. In those cases, ask your energy provider to perform a blower door test or a home energy audit to better identify your home's most vulnerable areas. That way, you can take the necessary steps to improve your home's energy efficiency.

How do I seal air leaks in my home?

Sealing air leaks in your home depends on the size and location of the leak. There are two ways you can seal leaks:

FOR SMALLER GAPS AND CRACKS:
Seal smaller gaps and cracks, such as around window frames and door frames, with a caulk or sealant. If the area needs excellent water or weather protection and will not be painted, a 100% silicone sealant is recommended. If the area may come into contact with water and will need to be painted, a siliconized acrylic or hybrid caulk or sealant is recommended. For more details, check out our steps to a successful caulking project.

FOR LARGER GAPS AND CRACKS:
To seal larger gaps and cracks, use an insulating foam sealant. These products expand to fill gaps and cracks for an airtight seal while also adding insulation value to the area. Not only will this improve your home’s energy efficiency, but it will help keep the cold air (or hot air) outside where it belongs. Learn more about using our insulating foams for at-home repairs.

What tools will I need to caulk?

  1. Caulk removing tool or putty knife (to remove old caulk and debris)
  2. Household cleaner or rubbing alcohol
  3. A stiff wire brush (if repairing masonry or concrete)
  4. A clean, dry cloth or (lintless) paper towels
  5. Painter's masking tape
  6. A backer rod (if the gap is more than 1/2" wide or deep)
  7. Caulk gun (A caulk gun is not necessary for smaller jobs that can be finished with squeeze tubes.)
  8. Mineral spirits or isopropyl alcohol (when using silicone)
  9. Gloves

How do I apply caulk?

Caulking is as simple as five easy steps. Visit our Projects & How-To's Page for directions, as well as tips for specific projects.

Does caulk/sealant go bad?

GE-branded caulks & sealants feature a "Use By" date on the bottom of the cartridge. This will tell you if the caulk/sealant is still fresh and able to be used. If you cannot read the use by date or want to test the caulk/sealant prior to starting a project, there is also a simple test that only takes 10 to 15 minutes. Run a small bead on a piece of cardboard. If after about 15 minutes, the product doesn't form a "skin," the product is probably too old and won't ever fully cure (dry completely).

Product

What is the tooling time for a 100% silicone sealant?

The typical tooling time for Silicone 1*, Advanced Silicone 2* and Supreme Silicone is between 5 to 10 minutes depending on the moisture or level of humidity in the air.

How long will caulk/sealant release an odor?

Caulk/sealant releases an odor during its cure cycle. Most of this process occurs during the first 24 hours after the product is applied. GE Silicone 2*+ sealant is a neutral cure sealant and does not have the same vinegar-type odor that is associated with acetoxy cure sealants like GE Silicone 1* sealant and most other silicone sealants.

Which caulks/sealants can be painted over?

100% silicone is non-paintable. GE-branded Paintable Silicone Supreme and All Projects Paintable Silicone are waterproof and paintable sealants that combines the exceptional performance benefits of silicone with the paintability of an acrylic latex.

Another option is a siliconized acrylic latex caulk or sealant. These products are paintable, durable, flexible, with easy water clean-up.

Troubleshooting

The 100% silicone sealant is hard in the tube. What should I do?

If the caulk or sealant is hard in the tube, it has started the curing process. It cannot be used and has most likely passed its use-by date. If the use-by date has not been exceeded, the sealant should be returned to the hardware store or retailer for a refund.
 
On a 10.1 oz cartridge, you can find the "Use By" date close to the bottom of the cartridge. On a 2.8 oz squeeze tube, it is located at the top of the tube, usually above the punched out hole. Make sure to check the date prior to purchasing the caulk or sealant.

The silicone sealant will not cure. What should I do?

Silicone sealant generally cures within 24 hours. If it has been over 24 hours, check the silicone sealant "Use By" date on the package. If the product is older than the "Use by" date printed on the product, safely dispose of the product. If the product was applied prior to that date, contact a customer service representative at 1-866-275-4372 for a complete refund. Be sure to have the sealant so the following information can be provided to the customer service representative:
  • Stock number: The stock number is most easily found near the last four digits of the UPC. It is located on the cartridges at the very bottom line of text, to the right of the UPC.
  • Batch code: This is ink-jet printed on the bottom of the cartridge, or stamped into the top of the squeeze tube.
  • Description of the type of sealant