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Mortar or Caulk around old wooden window frames?

Mortar or Caulk around old wooden window frames?

Old 10-29-12, 03:04 PM
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Question Mortar or Caulk around old wooden window frames?

I hope that I came to the right place to ask this, however I apologize profusely if I didn't put this in the correct forum

In any event, I've got an old 2-story brick house (the lower floor is bricked) with the old wooden windows still in them (see my photo). I'm going to get some new windows later on down the line, however I'm trying to weatherproof around them for the winter and I was wondering what I should squeeze into the gap between the window frame and the brick?

Mortar or caulk?

I've seen folks on other boards say that they use mortar, however it seems as though most folks just use caulk.

The gap (#3 in the photo) isn't really all that wide (although it's a bit irregular in places)....ranging from 1/4" to 3/8" depending on what spot that you're in.

Also, between the wooden window sill and the brick then there are some spots (#1 in the photo) where the brick mortar has crumbled away (and left a bigger gap between the sill and the brick). The old caulk that somebody had squirted there years and years ago had stuck to the mortar so well there that it ripped off small chunks of the mortar in those places when I was removing the old caulk.

Is there an effective method to fix this?...

Last but not least, I've discovered that I have 1 brick that is coming loose (#2 in the photo). In fact, it is so loose that I can move it far enough to begin sliding it out from underneath the sill (although I haven't actually pulled it out).

I would definitely like to fasten that wiggly brick back down, but I'm an absolute novice when it comes to any kind of surgical masonry like that.

Is there also an effective method to make that ornery brick behave better?

Here's the link to my photo too:

Thanks to all the experts out there who answer these types of questions for dimwits like me!
Old 10-29-12, 09:39 PM
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I would go with the caulking.
Old 10-30-12, 01:07 AM
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I agree. Not sure what the advocates of mortar will do when the mortar cracks after the first week, but........ You seem to have done a good job of stripping down the frames, so a good elastomeric caulk would be in order. Elastomeric because it will give and take with the weather and will not crack. Don't use silicone, as it will deteriorate with sunlight and is quite difficult to paint. There are different brands out there, but our local stores carry Big Stretch brand, and it has worked for me quite well, at a moderate price.
Old 10-30-12, 04:52 AM
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As a painter I've caulked windows against brick like that countless times. On new construction it's not uncommon to have to chip some mortar out of the way. The biggest issue with caulking the windows to the brick is keeping a nice bead. Unfortunately most of that comes with experience although a quality caulking gun makes the job a lot easier. It also helps to have a rag handy to clean any excess caulking off of the tip of tube.
Old 10-30-12, 02:51 PM
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Thanks chandler and thank you too, marksr!

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