Rope Caulk

Seal windows and cracks easily without a caulk gun.

Rope Caulk RollIf you don't want to mess with a caulk gun (and they can be messy), rope caulk may be a good choice for sealing leaky windows. It's sort of like working with ropes of clay—just unravel some caulk and push into place.

The good:

  • Inexpensive, no equipment necessary, and easy to apply.
  • Comes in white and gray. The white looks almost as good as regular caulk.
  • Rope caulk can be removed, making it a viable alternative to both window plastic and temporary caulk.
  • Can be applied both indoors and out.
  • No odors. Caulks, especially temporary caulk, can have a noxious odor for several days.

The less good:

  • Cords can stick together in the roll and be a bit tough to unravel sometimes.
  • It doesn't give as smooth a look as caulk applied with a caulk gun (by someone who knows what they are doing).
  • On cold days it's not as pliable. Letting it warm a bit makes it easier to separate the ropes and apply.

For windows, get white rope caulk unless you don't mind the gray. Start with a small window to develop some skill using the caulk—after one window you'll be a pro.

You can seal a window temporarily, as well; for example, on a part that slides. When you remove the caulk in the spring it might take some alcohol to get any residue off.

If you're sealing a small hole in a wall, rope caulk will work well. For larger holes, you might consider using a foam filling compound or having it professionally sealed. You can even use the gray caulk to seal your chimney damper.

Note that I could only find white rope caulk by searching, and my local big-box "home improvement store" didn't have any rope caulk at all.

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