Caulk and foam can serve as the first line of defense by sealing gaps and cracks around a home, helping to prevent pests from entering. Each can be used alone as a proactive and insecticide-free approach or in conjunction with such products if pests have already penetrated the home.
Helping keep pests out of your home is as easy as following these steps below:
1. Locate the potential entry points for bugs and pests
There are several areas on the interior and exterior of a home that could have gaps and cracks that should be sealed, including:
- Roof trim, roof rafters, joints, sheathing and siding
- Exterior columns, steps, decks and porches
- Exterior pipes and foundation
- Doors, windows, door and window frames
- Moldings and baseboards
- Floorings and walls
- Interior pipes and plumbing
2. Fill the gap. How do I know if I need to use caulk or foam?
When to use silicone caulk or sealant:
- Gaps or cracks smaller than 1/2" by 1/2" (unless using backer rod)
- Inside or outside
- Applications that require flexibility due to joint movement
- Visible applications that require fine, detailed work
Instructions for Sealant:
Clean the Surface
Remove old sealant, dirt and loose particles with a caulk-removing tool, or a wire brush for concrete and masonry applications, and wipe clean with a cloth. Apply masking tape to either side of the joint to create a straight edge. (Remove immediately after caulk application.)
READ ALL SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE USE AND FOLLOW COMPLETEL
Wear safety goggles, gloves, respiratory protection and protective clothing.
Prepare the Tube and Seal
Cut the nozzle to desired bead size. Pierce the inner seal with a stiff wire or other similar object. Insert cartridge into caulking gun. Seal around unsightly cracks or spaces inside and outside the home. If using a caulk gun, squeeze with even, consistent pressure to control the rate at which the caulk leaves the tube.
Shake can vigorously for one minute.
Smooth the Seal
Use your gloved finger or a wet caulk-smoothing tool within two to five minutes of application.
Screw dispenser completely onto can valve being careful not to activate valve.
Store the Tube and Clean
Adjust pressure to the gun so that the sealant is barely coming out of the tube. Replace the cap, or use a nail or similar object to seal the tube opening. To clean the area around the sealed joint, use soap and water when using an acrylic, and mineral spirits for silicone sealant; wipe excess material from tools and clean accordingly as well.
To become familiar with product, test on an experimental surface by slowly depressing the trigger while the can is inverted. Continue use in inverted orientation.
When to use foam:
- For gaps or cracks larger than 1/2" by 1/2" and/or larger, difficult-to-reach cavities
- Inside where little to no moisture will be present
- When needing insulation value
Fill rough openings approximately 1/3 full to allow for expansion. At the 1/3 point, release trigger, but keep straw moving.
Allow the first layer of foam to cure before applying a second layer. Do not disturb uncured foam. Trim cured foam with a sharp knife or sand as needed. Foam exposed to sunlight must be painted or stained.
To Store: One time use should be expected. Expiration date for GE-branded foam is located on the bottom of the can.