Temporarily sealing windows
July 1, 2014 6:58 AM   Subscribe

The building I live in will be power washed next week and the landlord has asked that we (i) close our windows and (ii) move items away from the windows that might be damaged by inadvertent leakage. I'd like to take the extra step of sealing my windows because I am fully confident that they will leak. My thought is some kind of tape but I don't want to harm the paint on the sills or leave marks on the glass. Thoughts?
posted by janey47 to Home & Garden (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A giant sponge on each of the window sills.
posted by devnull at 7:00 AM on July 1, 2014

Never used it myself but there are a number of seasonal window weather-stripping options that should work, like DAP Seal n peel. I think most are caulk, and there may be some kind of strips.
posted by novelgazer at 7:09 AM on July 1, 2014

Masking tape will achieve your objectives of 1) tape that 2) doesn't leave marks.

Depending on how much leakage you're expecting it may not hold up, but it would be easy, cheap, and better than nothing.
posted by phunniemee at 7:16 AM on July 1, 2014

Painter's tap with an additional layer of paper towels to catch spatter.
posted by arnicae at 7:16 AM on July 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

I would use a combo of the second and third suggestions: cram some of the peel n stick caulk in the cracks (that stuff does come away cleanly), and then I'd cover the windows with that hairdryer shrink saran draft stuff. (I don't know how cleanly that stuff comes off of the window sills, so others will have to chime in on that front.)
posted by 8dot3 at 7:19 AM on July 1, 2014

I would just hang towels or washable blankets over the windows.
posted by mskyle at 7:24 AM on July 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Get 3M Weather Sealing Tape.

This stuff is a thick, wide, plastic single-sided tape that comes off easily and should block any spray from flying through the cracks. It's a lot easier to apply and remove than the thin breaky double-sided tape that goes with the whole-window insulating film.

Water will still work it's way around a lot of stuff, so like others said back it up with some rolled-up towels in strategic spots.
posted by JoeZydeco at 7:26 AM on July 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

I would use waterproof caulk around the windows (can't hurt), and the shrink wrap stuff for the cleaning.

Caulking will help keep weather and bugs out.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:44 AM on July 1, 2014

Don't caulk your rental windows, especially if they are sash windows. I think Masking tape would be fine - it doesn't need to have super sticking power because any leakage will be incidental drips, not the actual spray from the power washer.
posted by Think_Long at 7:51 AM on July 1, 2014

Buy peel-off caulk. You get a great, water proof seal and you can peel it off easily without damaging wood or paint. It's usually used for temporary winter weather proofing.
posted by quince at 7:57 AM on July 1, 2014

Yeah, I'd vote against the insulation shrink wrap. That stuff takes off paint like nobody's business. Since the tape needs to be instantly strong enough to hold up against the tension of the shrunk wrap, and needs to last all winter in a moderately hostile environment, it's not the easiest tape to get back off cleanly.
posted by jeffjon at 8:04 AM on July 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you take regular old plastic wrap (Saran Wrap or equivalent) and roll it up a bit, you can tuck it into the cracks around the window with a palette knife or scraper. Or a butter knife, in a pinch. I do it sometimes to seal up drafts in the winter, but it should also work to keep out a little water.

Benefits: totally non-marking, plus you probably already have it around.
posted by echo target at 9:29 AM on July 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If you can get gaffer tape, as opposed to duct tape, that should work. It's meant to be removed without any damage to surfaces, including paint. But make sure it is gaffer tape!
posted by Too-Ticky at 9:44 AM on July 1, 2014

Blue painters' tape - NOT masking tape which might be a pain to remove.
posted by Cranberry at 2:09 PM on July 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: To follow up: I used gaffer's tape and, even though the "power wash" was delayed by ten days, it didn't leave a residue or harm any finishes. Thanks!!
posted by janey47 at 1:13 PM on July 23, 2014

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