Step 3: Caulking the House

Go on to Step 4: Priming Bare Wood→

Time required:

4 to 8 hours for an average size house

Equipment list:


Caulking the house prior to painting is important for two reasons: One because it makes your house less drafty and more energy efficient; and two because the house will look ten years younger after all its cracks are sealed and disappear under a new coat of paint.


So far you’ve washed and scraped the house. Now the house is anxiously waiting to see what you’re going to do next. He thought the wash job was a little harsh, and the scraping kind of hurt, and he’s thinking maybe it’s time for a little TLC, huh, Mr. Homeowner? The house might even be thinking, hey, you know what? I’ve noticed the past few years that my joints ache when the cold, wet air blows through them. As long as you’re paying so much attention to me all of a sudden, maybe you could provide a little relief for my pain. How about it?

Well, Mr. House, that’s exactly what we’re going to do: Apply some medicinal caulk to your wounds. And despite the high cost of health care these days, we won’t skimp to save money—we’ll buy a whole case of caulk, twelve tubes of the paintable 35-year silicone kind, and then, using a dripless caulk gun, we’ll generously and meticulously pump the salve into your cracks wherever they appear, be it around window or door frames, next to corner-boards or chimneys, or into any joints in the siding where the original caulk shrunk. We will rub the medication into any split or damaged fascia board, any minor cracks in the concrete foundation (if it’s going to be painted), and anywhere else it’s needed EXCEPT the natural gaps underneath each piece of lapboard siding, because we know you have to breathe, Mr. House, and we want that moist breath to be vented in a manner that prevents it from coming straight out through the paint job. Caulking the underside of lapboard siding is a huge no-no.

We will use our fingers to make the caulking look smooth so that when the paint is put on, nobody will even know the filler is underneath, it will appear as one with the structure. We will spend an entire day rubbing caulk into your gashes until our fingertips are wildly tender and our hands ache with fatigue from rinsing them in a bucket of cold water and wiping them on a wet rag over and over again.

We will administer this loving treatment, Mr. House, for two reasons: One because we appreciate how you keep the storms and cold air outside and we want to help you in that regard; and two because by sealing you up tight and making your cracks disappear underneath a fresh coat of paint, we will add thousands of dollars to the value of our houses by creating a powerful, new sensation of solidity. Thousands of dollars in exchange for one case of caulk. Does that sound like a good deal to you, Mr. House? We thought so. Please, then, just sit back and relax while we tend gently to your wounds.

Back to Exterior Painting Videos          Go on to Step 4: Priming Bare Wood