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Caulking: An Underrated Home Maintenance Essential

  • Posted: 06.25.2018
Man on ladder caulking around a window

Think of caulking as performing a bit of magic in your home: A few minutes of time and a few dollars spent on materials and your house is, instantly, protected from some costly home repairs and higher energy bills, too.

Caulking can prevent water from entering your home’s structure through the roof, walls, windows and doors. Sealing cracks in those areas stops water from leaking into your structure and stops rot, as well as mold and mildew development.

Effective caulking also prevents air leaks that can require more cooling in the summer and more heating costs in the winter. Energy.gov estimates that sealing air leaks can result in an annual savings of 10-20 percent on heating and cooling costs.

Where to Caulk
Outside: Caulking is important both indoors and outdoors. To find places where caulk makes sense, think about where air or water (or both) may try to enter your home:

  • Meeting places. If you have wood siding, be sure to caulk where windows and door frames meet siding and where siding meets at corners. If your home is comprised of brick and wood, you can caulk wherever these materials meet. However, if you have vinyl siding, you won’t caulk in these locations, as vinyl moves with temperature changes.
  • Openings, gaps and cracks. Caulk any gaps and cracks in your siding, stucco, masonry or foundation, as well as openings where vent ducts, heating and cooling, plumbing and wiring lines enter your home.
  • Roof. Climb onto the roof to caulk gutter corners, seams, downspouts and end caps. If you have a chimney, vents or skylights, caulk around these areas.

Exception: Don’t caulk the undersides of window trim, door trim or siding such as clapboards, as you don’t want to trap moisture in the structure.

Inside: Think about areas with lots of water, such as the kitchen, bath and laundry areas, as there is potential for water damage if you aren’t vigilant in keeping caulk working at 100 percent.

And, as with outside your home, areas to be caulked include where two areas meet; these include where:

  • The backsplash meets the counter and wall
  • The sink meets the countertop
  • The tub and shower meet the surround, the floor and the wall
  • Plumbing comes through a floor or wall

Exception: Don’t caulk around the bottom of the toilet, because if the toilet seal fails, water trapped beneath the toilet can cause the floor to rot.

More Information:

Source: Home Tips for Women