If you want to replace one of the windows in your home by yourself, then this is a DIY project that you can likely handle. The project will involve the removal of the siding outside your home as well as the release of trim and flashing. This is required to reveal the outer window frame. This frame is typically sealed in place with silicone caulk. The material is usually placed around the window casing, nail fins, sash, and along the trim. In some cases, the caulk is also used to fill in any openings or holes that sit between the frame of the window and the home sheathing. If you need to replace the frame or any other part of the window, then you may find yourself having to remove a great deal of the silicone. This is not always an easy task. Keep reading to learn about some tricks that can help you.
Use A Chemical Remover
If you need to replace a window due to a break in the frame or a sash deterioration issue, then you may have already noticed that the window is no longer airtight. If you notice cold air and water leaks, then this is a sign that the window probably does not have a good seal. As your repair is made, a new layer of caulk should be secured. New caulk simply does not adhere to old caulk properly. Also, old caulk will form a layer of dirt and mildew that is difficult to remove. This debris will prevent the new caulk from sticking in place and creating the airtight seal you need.
Caulks are typically resistant to chemical deterioration, but some solvents can be used to loosen the caulk to the point that it can be scraped away. This is ideal for larger areas where caulk removal is necessary. Mineral spirits can be used to soften the caulk, but the solvent will need to remain in contact with the material for some time. Soaking the caulk in the mineral spirits for a day or more is often needed to remove thick layers. Since the solvent is best used in well ventilated areas, use mineral spirits for outdoor removal only.
Gather several rags and coat them with a generous amount of the chemical. Cover the caulk with the rags. Wait one day, remove the rags, and try to lift a small portion of the caulk to see if it is loose. Remove all loose caulk and then use a stiff bristled scrub brush to release any residue left behind.
If you want to use a chemical material to remove caulk from inside your home, then try a green product like Lift Off. You will need to score or cut the caulk beforehand and use a paintbrush to apply the fluid. Several applications of the product are sometimes required to remove the caulk.
If solvents do not loosen the caulk or if there is caulk in areas that are hard to reach, then you may need to soften the material with heat instead of a chemical agent. Heating caulk can be a slow process. You do have the option of using a heat gun to warm it up, but this is wise only if there is not a great deal of vinyl siding or trim in the area that may be burned by the gun. If you do want to try your hand at this type of tool, then make sure to set it at a low setting to start.
Most heat guns can be set to low heat at around 120 degrees Fahrenheit. A temperature of about 200 may be needed to soften the caulk, so start at 120 and slowly increase heat to 200 if you need to. Also, make sure the gun is fitted with a head that directs heat towards the caulk.
If you do not want to use a high heat device, then you can use a regular hair dryer. Direct the dryer towards small two inch sections of caulk at one time to loosen the material.
Additionally, keep in mind that if you have custom glass, it's likely a better idea to get in touch with a company that specifically works with custom glass.