Rope caulking is a good product for you to use to save money on your heating and air conditioning bills. Rope caulking is an item that most folks don’t know about or use. When I first heard about it, my mind pictured the oakum fiber rope used to caulk seams between the planks of wood boats.
Finger tip rope caulking is not like that at all. It is not really big enough to call rope; it is more like the size of 3/16” cord. I think the finger tip part of its name comes from its small size. I other sizes are available. It looks and feels like putty or gray modeling clay.
It comes in a box rolled up like a ribbon. Each “rope” of caulking needs to be separated from its neighbors when you use it. I suggest that you keep the rope caulk inside your house so it will be warm and pliable when you use it.
One of the best places to use it is between window frames and the siding on your house. Sealing a gap around your windows will stop cold air drafts and save on your heating bill. It is a two-season winner because it will also save on air conditioning. Sealing moisture out will prevent wood rot also.
Clean the areas where the cracks and gaps are around the window. If you skip this step, the rope caulk may not stick to the crack you are trying to fill. By clean I mean no loose material no oil on the material the caulk is to seal.
I use a stiff bristle brush to remove any loose stuff. Most of the time a good brushing is all the cleaning you will need.
If the surfaces are slippery, I wash the area using a spray bottle filled with alcohol. If you wash the area, you have to take a break while it dries.
The alcohol does not stain; it dissolves oil and dries fast. You can use rubbing alcohol from a drug store or shellac thinner alcohol available at a paint supply store.
Remove the rope caulk from the box. Measure the length of crack where the draft is coming from on your window. Rip off a piece of rope caulk to match this length. I never seem to get the length right, so I have to add a piece or trim off the extra. To be honest I work with it in lengths of about 6 inches at a time. I find a long string of it gets in the way too much.
Use your finger to work the rope caulk into the cracks or gaps around all four sides of your windows. You fingers are a good tool for this job. Another reason it is called finger tip rope caulk.
I found some places where mortar was falling out between the front door frame and the brick facing on our home. So, I filled these gaps with rope caulking. My fat fingers were too big to get in between the bricks and the door.
I dug a 25-cent coin out of the bottom of my pocket to use as a tool. It worked OK, but my fingers got tired using it. A big straight blade screwdriver is a better tool for this job and may keep you from getting a splinter in your finger.
If you don’t like gray, you can paint over it, but it blended right in with the mortar. For big cracks, you may need to push in more than one layer of rope caulk to fill it.
Less of a Mess
It works good and for me it is less of a mess than squeeze tube or caulking gun stuff. I cannot keep my fingers out of the caulk as I try to push it into cracks and smooth the surface.
With gooey caulk, I get it all over me. Then my wife yells at me when I get it on my clothes.
For me, rope caulking does a neater job. No clean up needed, after the job.
Now He Tells Me!
With this product, it is easier to do a good job while the weather is warm. When the caulk and the window frame are cold, you have to work harder to fill the cracks with rope caulking. Working outdoors on a 50-degree day I found it works better if you roll a short piece between you hands to warm it up a little before pushing it into a crack.