How to Remove Old Caulk from Windows – How to Replace Caulking around Outside Windows

Simple Instructions on How to Remove and Replace Caulking Around Outside Windows and Doors

By Mark J. Donovan

Exterior caulk plays an important role in keeping your home warmer during the cold winter months and cooler during the hot summer months.

It is also vital in protecting your home from water damage by preventing water from seeping behind house siding adjacent to windows, exterior doors, chimneys and several other places around the exterior of your home. Exterior caulk, however, doesn’t hold up forever, and it is important to use the right type of caulk

Overtime it will crack and break down, regardless of what the caulk manufacturers say, thus enabling air and water too penetrate into your home or behind your house siding. As a result, it is imperative that you check the exterior caulk around your house annually and replace it if shows signs of cracking, discoloration, and/or failure.

How to Remove Old Caulk from Windows and Doors

To re-caulk around your exterior doors and windows, as well as chimneys and pipes that exit your home, you first need to remove the old exterior caulk. New caulk does not adhere well to old caulk. Therefore you will need to remove the old exterior caulk using a carpenters knife, and either a putty knife or flat screw driver.

To remove the old caulk use your carpenters knife to score the old caulk along the edge of the surfaces it comes in contact with. For example, to remove old exterior caulk from around a window, score the caulk with your utility knife where the caulk meets both the house siding and the window frame. Follow the same process around doors, chimneys, and other objects with exterior grade caulk around them.

Next, use your putty knife or screw driver to dig into the old caulk to pry it out from the seam around the window or door frame. 

This process can be time consuming, however after you do it on a couple of windows you’ll master how to pry and remove the old caulk fairly quickly.

The important thing to remember, however, is to thoroughly remove all of the old caulk from the seam.

How to Replace Caulking Around Outside Windows

Once you have meticulously removed all of the old exterior caulk, as well as any loose dust or particles, you can then apply new caulk to the seam.

This article explains how to properly caulk around windows and this article provides an important tip that can prevent water damage to your windows and home when caulking windows.

Steps for Caulking Around Outside Windows

Use a caulking gun to apply a solid bead of caulk to the seam. Also, use a paintable Latex caulk with silicone, with at least a 25 year life.

After applying the bead of caulk, immediately run your finger and a moist paper towel over the freshly caulked seam to push the caulk thoroughly into the seam. 

Caulking Exterior Windows

Watch this Video to Learn How to Caulk Windows.

You may want to consider applying a strip of masking tape on either side of the seam prior to caulking it to ensure a clean caulk line. 

After you run your finger and moist towel the length of the freshly caulked seam, remove the masking tape to leave clean caulk lines.

Again, replacing old and cracked exterior caulk will ensure that there are no leaky drafts seeping into your home, and prevent any rain water from penetrating behind your home’s house siding where it can lead to mold and mildew growth, and rot.

And that’s all there is to it on how to remove old caulk from windows. Good luck with your window caulking project. 

For information on Installing Replacement Windows and Interior Window Trim

  • See the Installing a New Window Ebook from  The Installing a New Window Ebook provides easy to understand, step-by-step instructions, on how to remove an old window and install a new one. Pictures are included for every key step in the process.

Install a new window

  • See the Installing Interior Window Trim Ebook from  The Installing Interior Window Trim Ebook provides easy to understand, step-by-step instructions, on how to install interior window trim around a window. Pictures are included for every key step in the process.

Installing Window Trim eBook

Related Information Removing old Caulking around Outside Windows

Additional Window Installation and Maintenance Resources from

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