The Importance of External Caulking

During the winter months, it is very important that we keep the moisture out of our homes. With the extreme weather conditions some parts of the country have been facing, the interior as well as exterior of our homes can be damaged by the huge quantities of snow and rain. One way you can guarantee your home is protected is by ensuring that the exterior caulking has been done correctly and has not begun to deteriorate with age.

If there is a problem with your exterior caulking, you often will not realize it until it is too late and the damage from rain or snow has been done. Before winter starts, it is a good idea to take a walk around the perimeter of your home and inspect the areas which may have been affected by past winters. Some places to inspect include:

  • Edges of your home’s foundation—where the siding starts
  • Places where siding meets the windows
  • Corners – particularly if there are any different materials connected together

As you are inspecting the perimeter of your home, there are a few things you are apt to come across. Elements that you should pay close attention to and take care of right away are:

  • Any caulk that is shrinking from its original size
  • Visible cracks in the seams of caulk
  • Any seams of caulk that don’t seem straight or appear to have shifted
  • Caulk that appears less sticky

If any of the above problems are evident once you have completed your exterior inspection, it is important that you take care of the issue right away—before the adverse weather conditions are here! If you wait too long, say after a severe rain or snow storm, water can seep through these areas where the caulk is damaged. This can damage your window sills or woodwork and cost you even more than a few tubes of caulk would have.

Now you have inspected the outer perimeter and it is evident that you need to re-caulk some areas of your home. Do you know how to choose the right exterior caulk? Things to look for when choosing an exterior caulk include:

  • Make sure you choose a caulk that works on the material you are applying it to. For instance, if your home is primarily brick, choose a caulk that is going to work on brick.
  • Do not use a caulk that is 100% silicone if you are planning on re-painting the area after it is caulked. This type of caulk cannot be painted on.
  • Make sure the exterior caulk will match areas that cannot be painted (g. areas where the flashing meets the roof). If you cannot find a caulk that matches the roof color, it might be best to choose a clear caulk.
  • Be certain that the caulk you choose is good enough to cover the gaps or cracks that are in need of repair.
  • If you want caulk that is “user-friendly”, make sure you do not buy the kind that requires mineral spirits for clean-up. Also, avoid purchasing high quality urethane caulk as it can be very difficult to apply.