Caulking helps to prevent water from creeping into your home through the doors and windows. It also keeps your home tightly sealed, and prevents heat from escaping.
There’s no denying that caulk serves an important purpose, but even the best caulking job doesn’t last forever.
Over time, the caulk around your windows and doors can be broken down by the elements and start to cause major water damage — possibly even rotting your sheathing.
We recommend checking your caulking twice a year, and it’s simple to do. Just check for any gaps, separations, or crumbling areas. Is the caulking no longer sticking to the surface? Is it cracking or shrinking? Is there powdering or dusting on the caulking?
If your caulk has seen better days, it’s a good idea to replace it. You can hire a professional to do this, or tackle it yourself with a putty knife and a little caulking material.
If you need to buy caulking materials, remember that there are many, many (MANY!) different types, and you need to choose the right formulation. If you have a brick home, you’ll want to choose a variety designed to adhere to brick surfaces. Certain kinds of caulking — like the 100% silicone variety — can’t be painted, so think about the full plan for your home before you make your selection.
If you have quite a large gap between your windows/doors and the siding of your home, you’ll want to pick a type of caulking that’s designed to fill a larger area. Another option is filling the area first with a backer rod, and then applying caulk.
Most importantly, you’ll need to select a type of caulking that’s intended for exterior use, so it holds up against the elements.
But before you can install the new caulking, you need to remove the old stuff. You can scrape it off with a razor, or purchase a product to soften it and make it easier to remove. You may need to clean the area with a bit of paint thinner, depending on the surface — so feel free to ask us about it!
Installing caulk is relatively easy, because you’re simply squeezing a bead of material in a straight line. Many people actually find it kind of fun! You can use a caulking gun, or apply it directly from the tube, depending on the variety you’ve purchased. It’s one of those tasks that gets easier every time you do it.
Caulk has a difficult job to do, and it’s important to have confidence that it’s going to work properly. So check it twice a year, replace it when it stops working effectively, and choose the formulation that will work best for your home.