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akoch 09-06-2008 08:48 AM

How to seal my attic access - airtight?
I have a 2foot by 2foot attic access in my closet ceiling. I know that there is some heat loss. How can I seal this air tight so it looks nice and still be able to get into the attic in the future if I have to.I do not store anything in the attic space . Is there some kind of caulk that can be removed without making a mess? Thank you

Ron6519 09-06-2008 02:06 PM

From the sound of the post there seem to be many issues involved. Soupy caulk that does not cure is defective. You don't use 100% silicone caulk inside most of the time as it sits in proximity to painted sufaces. You would use an acrylic or latex based caulk.
You gloss over the condensation issue. You need to detail that a little more. Like, where the house is located? Humidity level in the house vs. outside? Central air?
It sounds like you have poorly installed windows with little or no insulation surrounding the frame.
Hopefully the window quality is better then the install. Another contractor should be able to fix it.

Nestor_Kelebay 09-07-2008 11:40 PM

[quote=eric s;24753]Hello everyone.


I suppose that the tub and tile caulk would have cured if his was not an area where there is condensation but, still am 100% sure that the contractor should have used 100% silicone as the sealer!
Please. Never ever never use a silicon caulk (100% silicone or otherwise) anywhere other than the joint around a tub or shower pan. Silicone is a GREAT caulk. The problem is that it's very hard to remove COMPLETELY, and nothing, absolutely nothing will stick well to a microscopically thin film of silicone caulk still remaining on the surface after removing most of the silicone. That is, it'll work fine on the first application, but then you have to jump through hoops to remove it completely before you can get any other caulk to stick, including another application of 100% silicone caulk. Even new silicone caulk won't stick well to old silicone caulk.


Good to use a Window and Door 100% silicone or otherwise?
I wouldn't. Look around for a product called "Kop-R-Lastic". This is a synthetic rubber with high adhesive strength, but even higher COHESIVE strength, which means it sticks to itself even better than it sticks to common construction materials. That means that if you even want to re-caulk, you just get the Kop-R-Lastic started at one point, and then pull it off like a rubber rope.

Alternatively, phone around to the local companies that make and install windows and doors, and see what they're using. Their installers have to remove their windows if there's a problem, and then reinstall them, so they'll be wanting a caulk that's paintable, easily applied and cleanly removed.

In Canada, Kop-R-Lastic is made under license from the Koppers Company of Australia. If you find "Stone Mason Gutter & Siding Sealant" in the evestrough area of your local Home Depot, then the product inside the tube is clear or white Kop-R-Lastic. They put the same product in both the tubes marked Kop-R-Lastic and the Stone Mason Gutter & Siding Sealant. Apparantly, U.S.E. Hickson has been bought out by the Henry Company, so you may see Henry Kop-R-Lastic available in the USA soon.

Use Kop-R-Lastic outdoors and a paintable acrylic caulk around your windows indoors. If you've already used silicone caulk, then look for a product called "Silicone-Be-Gone" in the caulking aisle of your local home center. This is a gelled solvent that doesn't actually remove the silicone caulk, but just makes it swell up and gets soft so that it can be more easily removed by mechanical means, like scraping or scrubbing. To check to see if you have all the silicone off so that you can re-caulk, get some portland cement (or other fine abrasive powder) and dust it over the surface where you removed the silicone caulk from and rub with your finger. If there is any residual silicone caulk left, the grey portland cement will become embedded in it, revealing it's location. Then, just use the Silicone-Be-Gone on those specific locations to be sure that the silicone is completely removed.

Silicone's a great caulk, but the difficulting in removing it completely so that you can recaulk is a misery that outweighs the benefits of using it in the first place. It's OK to use around a tub or shower pan because the smooth surfaces are relatively easy to remove it from. Trying to get silicone off of stucco or any other very rough surface would be a real pain.


The back windows were done last year. The silicone is already mildewing. O.K to use a bleach solution to get mildew off?
You'll find that bleach doesn't take mildew off of silicone unless you know how to do it. Take some baking soda and stir in bleach straight out of the jug until you have a fairly thick paste that you can apply over the silicone. Cover with Saran Wrap and leave overnight, or for several days. When you take the Saran Wrap off and remove the paste, you'll find that the mildew is completely removed.

Be careful of the floor. Bleach will remove the colour from conventionally dyed nylon and polyester carpets.


If the outside and inside areas are sealed properly should there be any condensation? I think the answer is yes. Probably impossible to shut condensation down completely.
Condensation will always occur if the interior pane temperature is lower than the dew point for the humidity level in your house. You might want to consider getting a dehumidifier, or if you have forced air heating, putting a dehumidifier on your furnace return duct.


The ways to find poor seals: Using a match to see where draft sucks the smoke out?
No, use a cotton shoelace. Light it, and then blow out the flame once it's burning under it's own steam. Then, let it smolder, releasing a steady stream of smoke as it does.


If gaps between windows and wood are 1/2 to 3/4" deep is it best to fill the gap with caulk or a filler and caulk?
If the gaps are deeper than 1/2 inch, I'd use a foam backer rod. The size of backer rod you need is 50 percent larger than the joint you're caulking. So, if it's a 1/4 inch wide joint, use 3/8 inch diameter foam backer rod.


Ducking out of cleaning up the caulking mess by saying, "I guess I'll have to come over and clean that up instead of going to what I'd planned on doing." We elected to give him the out he obviously wanted since he's shown too much obliviousness and some poor workmanship.
Huh? Why didn't you say "Yes, we'd like you to clean up the broken glass left in your yard after the installation." That, at least, woulda made some kinda sense. For you to say "OK, you go on to the next job on your schedule." because of his "obliviousness" (if there is such a word) don't make no kinda sense at all, and it just sends the signal to the workman that you're satisfied with the job as completed. It's kinda like telling someone to "forget about it" after they cause a car accident that wrecks your car damage because of their "lack of concern" for your safety.


Thanks for advice.

Nestor_Kelebay 09-07-2008 11:42 PM


Originally Posted by akoch (Post 155542)
I have a 2foot by 2foot attic access in my closet ceiling. I know that there is some heat loss. How can I seal this air tight so it looks nice and still be able to get into the attic in the future if I have to.I do not store anything in the attic space . Is there some kind of caulk that can be removed without making a mess? Thank you

I'd use weather stripping and a couple of latches to hold the access panel down rather than any caulk.

If it's gotta be a caulk, then phone around to the places listed under "Caulk and Caulking Supplies" in your yellow pages to find a product called Kop-R-Lastic. This is the only caulk I'll use on my 66 windows, and it's the only one I know of that will pull off cleanly, just like a rubber rope.

Nestor_Kelebay 09-08-2008 08:03 PM

What happened to the first post in this thread? The one that talked about replacement windows?

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