Contrary to what you may think, caulking is crucial for any home maintenance project. Before walls are painted over, caulking is required to cover up any gaps and cracks to achieve a smoother and more even finish. Depending on your method, mastering the caulking technique can be challenging and take some practice. Regardless, you should regularly check your home for any maintenance issues. Any cracks in wall joints and penetrations could cause moisture to seep in the opening and trigger mold and mildew growth, causing permanent structural damage to your home.
Regarding how often to caulk your home, as a general rule of thumb, we’d recommend inspecting your home every month and caulking every time you identify any issues in your home before they escalate into a problem that may be irreversible and will be costly to rectify
Caulking Your Home’s Interior
Before repainting your home’s interior, you should look for any gaps in the walls, trims, and moldings and caulk them using an appropriate sealant like polyurethane, which can be sanded and painted over. Doors and windows are where you want to be especially cautious as cracks and gaps around their frame result in drafts (air leaks).
This could result in energy loss, where warm air escapes from the interior during the winter months and cold air escapes from the interior during the summer months. What are the consequences? You may ask. Chances are you will probably find that your utility bills for your air conditioning unit and your heater in your home will rise significantly to compensate for your energy loss. In addition, you will find yourself switching on the heater and AC unit more frequently than usual, all because of gaps and cracks around your window that cause drafts.
When caulking around these areas, carefully consider which types of sealant you should be using and whether they can be painted over. Sealants such as acrylic may not be suitable as they repel oil and latex types of paint. At the end of the painting job, you find the gaps you have previously filled in coming off and cracking. Instead, they should be used for waterproofing purposes around wet areas such as the kitchen and bathrooms in sinks, tiles, showers, and bathtubs.
Caulking Your Home’s Exterior
Exterior doors, windows, and walls should be inspected regularly to check for any gaps, cracks, and openings that could cause drafts to occur. Between the walls of your interior and exterior, there will be wall panels of electrical wiring and insulation to keep the home functioning. Therefore, keeping the home’s exterior well-caulked is crucial to ensure that pests, water, and air will not enter these openings and cause structural damage to your homes.
When caulking your exterior, you should look out the areas around your roofs, exterior trim, utility entrances, wood replacements, and the eaves of your home’s siding and foundation. In this case, as your exterior will be exposed to the elements, selecting a caulk such as a silicone sealant, which is UV-stable, highly durable, and waterproof, will be more suitable to protect the home’s internal structure.
Seasoned or Newly Built Home?
The frequency you need to caulk your home could also depend on how old your home might be or whether it is newly constructed. During the first year following the construction of your new home, you may find that settling may happen, and the previously caulked areas may start separating. Fret not, as this is a completely normal situation. What you will need to do in this situation is to re-caulk the areas where the sealants may have come undone and fill the gaps to reinforce them – pay special attention to the trims and moldings of your windows and the frames around your doors.
On the other hand, many seasoned homes can go up to five years without requiring any re-caulking work. However, this may differ if you live in an environment where the weather is unpredictable and short extreme weather events like storms may occur, you may find that the caulking work can move more frequently than it should. For instance, rainstorms and high humidity can cause caulks from the walls to come off sooner than the sealants’ promised lifespan. In this case, you will have to re-caulk your wall joints and penetrations.