6 Ways You Can Make Exterior Caulk Last Longer

Long-Lasting Exterior Caulking Tips

How long the exterior caulk will last depend on the manufacturer, but it’s estimated that it should last anywhere from 3 to 10 years. However, certain factors can significantly reduce your caulk’s lifespan, such as weather conditions, overuse, and improper installation methods. Here are some tips on how you can make exterior caulk last longer.

Choose Acrylic For Most Jobs

By far, acrylic caulk is your best bet for any deck or patio project, whether you’re applying it to a seam or using it as an adhesive. While there are many types of caulk available at your local hardware store—silicone sealant, silicone rubber, and latex among them—acrylic is highly versatile and affordable. Plus, once it dries you won’t have to worry about changes in temperature and humidity causing peeling. When temperatures get below 40 degrees Fahrenheit though, be sure to use a high-quality vinyl-rated acrylic; otherwise it may crack. Acrylic caulk can withstand extreme weather conditions and is often considered a permanent repair solution for simple cracks or surface imperfections.

Consider Polyurethane

Polyurethane exterior caulk can last anywhere from three to 10 years or longer, depending on your climate and how well you take care of it. Because polyurethane can be difficult to use, make sure you know what tools you’ll need and whether or not you’re up for doing a little DIY caulking before going out and purchasing materials. You may also want to ask an expert at your local hardware store for advice on how best to apply polyurethane caulk so that it lasts as long as possible.

Start With A Clean Crack

When starting with a clean crack, it’s easier to smooth out your caulk in one quick pass. Even if you have to repeat it later, it still looks better than starting on an uneven or dirty surface. What’s more, cracks (and other imperfections) can trap moisture that leads to mold and mildew—one of your biggest caulk problems. The best way to deal with them is to start over from scratch, but think about cleaning up before applying that first stroke of caulk.

Prime Before You Caulk

The caulk primer provides an even surface for your caulking to adhere to and will help keep it from shrinking in extreme weather conditions. It also prevents stains caused by incompatible materials, such as certain paint brands with certain caulks. For these reasons, it’s important that you prime before you caulk for long-lasting results.

Fill Hidden Holes

While waiting for your caulk to dry, make sure to run your finger along every groove and crack in your surface. There are often small holes and gaps that aren’t visible until you apply the caulk. If there are any small holes or cracks, apply caulk over them before they dry. It’ll help keep water from leaking out openings that can potentially damaging your walls in a few years.

Use A Backer Rod

Backer rods are used to fill any gaps that may exist in your application of exterior caulk. They take pressure off of large expanses and keep them from cracking or peeling, which can extend its lifespan by months. They’re super cheap and easy to use, but most importantly, they’re a simple trick for helping you get better results from your caulking job.