Seal gaps around walls and floors

Close-up of a caulking gun being used to seal gaps between a door seal and the floor

Gaps and cracks between skirting boards and walls and between floorboards contribute to unwanted draughts in your home and unnecessarily high energy bills. Fortunately, sealing these gaps is usually a relatively easy task you can do yourself.

What to do

How to seal up gaps and cracks

Step 1: Safety first

Special care needs to be taken in houses with certain types of internal gas appliances, as they require fixed ventilation to expel the products of combustion from the home and operate safely.

Step 2: Finding draughts

To draught-proof your home you will first need to identify draughts by looking, listening and feeling for light, moving air, rattles and whistles. Pay particular attention to skirting boards, floorboards, door and window frames, architraves, cornices and inside and around cupboards. If you are renovating, make sure the joins between building elements are also sealed.

Step 3: Sealing gaps and draughts

Like many jobs around the house, sealing up gaps and cracks relies on good preparation of the surfaces to be sealed. Make sure the surfaces are clean and dry, and gently sand any painted surfaces, as this will help the sealant work better.

Tools of the trade

Although large gaps may require carpentry work to make the gaps smaller, a caulking gun can be used for smaller gaps. Silicone sealants are water resistant and should be used in areas exposed to the weather. Expandable foam fillers are suitable for larger gaps or holes. Caulking products are available from your local hardware store in clear or white, and some can be painted over. You will need:

  • a caulking gun 
  • caulking compound or sealant 
  • a cleaning cloth and sandpaper, to thoroughly clean and prepare surfaces before sealing them.

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