For the last 5-10 years, new homes have been being built with airsealing in mind. It used to be thought that natural ventilation of a home was necessary in order for it to properly expand during adverse weather changes. But the truth of the matter is that all it really did was let in outdoor odors and toxins inside while letting out heat and cooling, increasing your energy bill. Use these ten easy steps to airseal your home.
Caulk The most effective sealant against small caps and cracks around windows, doors and other smaller penetrations. It also comes in fire resistant caulk for around hot-water pipes and furnace penetrations.
Expanding Foam The most effective method for filling in large voids, openings or cracks wider than 1″. Low expansion foam is good for windows and doors. Never use foam around flammable areas.
Rubber Gaskets Gaskets can be used around plumbing and electrical outlets to tighten seals between layers. Gaskets can also be installed under bottom plates of newly built walls.
Weather-stripping The cheap cousin of the gasket, weather-stripping is primarily used around doors and windows. It can also be used around other opening/closing parts like vents and storm doors/windows.
Joint Compound This is used to seal drywall and sheet goods only. Works best in unfinished basements and garages.
Vapor Barrier Plastic sheeting is commonly used to seal water vapor from between insulation and sheet goods. It is applied to unfinished walls with insulation.
House Wrap Use this effective vapor barrier and airsealant on the exterior of your home between the outside wall and the siding or stucco.
Cellulose The best bet for sealing underneath of crawlspaces and in attics. This expanding foam sticks to joists and beams to create an airtight seal.
Loose Batt Batt insulation is easily pulled apart and stuffed into opening around windows, doors, outlets and other large openings that caulk or foam can cover.
Silver Tape This reflective foil tape is used to seal air ducts and registers associated with heating, cooling and ventilation ducts.