How Often Should I Caulk Around My Home?


Caulk is a product that is under-appreciated and often forgot about while working on an interior painting project. Professional painters, on the other hand, consider it to be a highly valuable product. Caulking is an easy skill to master but if you’re into do-it-yourself projects, then you can always hire a paint contractor to assist you.

It is important to keep wall penetrations and wall joints caulked to prevent moisture problems and caulking also helps with energy efficiency. Many homeowners have asked us how often caulking should be replaced.

We advise our customers to examine their home every so often, preferably once a month. This check is to help spot any maintenance issues that should be taken care before they escalate into a serious problem. When caught early, the problems can be remedied without costing you a fortune.

Newly Constructed Homes versus Established Homes

After a year of a newly constructed home being built, joint caulking may need to be redone. Within the first year of complete construction, settling will occur and it can lead to separation of caulk from wall joints. Don’t worry, this is a completely normal process.

In normal conditions, established homes can usually go about five years without needing to re-caulk. When we say normal conditions, it means the same conditions a home withstands year after year. If your home is built in an area that has a constant change of weather conditions, we recommend paying closer to attention areas that are caulked. Situations such as rain floods can cause your home to move more rapidly than usual. The caulk will eventually begin to separate from the wall joints and caulking is necessary.

Interior Caulking

Are you looking to improve a paint job’s overall appearance? Caulk can be used between trim moldings and walls to fill gaps. This should be done before applying finish paint. We recommend caulking around interior windows and doors. This will help reduce drafts and decrease your energy bill. On average, homes have air leaks that are equivalent to keeping a three-square-foot window open always. You’re literally throwing money out that “window”.

When choosing caulk, take into consideration if it is acrylic or silicone caulk. Silicone caulk is not a good choice for painting. It will repel both oil-based and latex coatings. This can cause separation if wet and peels when it dries. Silicone caulk is recommended only for non-painted surfaces such as showers, tiles, tubs, and can be used for weather-proofing that blocks unwanted drafts.

Keep Your Home Comfortable with Exterior Caulking

Exterior door and window caulking can be completed as necessary; not just when your home needs a new exterior paint job. When caulking windows, be careful not to caulk over weep holes. They are needed to help water escape from behind screens or storm windows

Think about your home’s exterior walls as if they were a sandwich. There’s outside home siding with walls on the inside that are painted. In between the two bread slices, the home contains electrical wiring, insulation, and other mandatory components. If you open the exterior walls to put in the doors and windows, there isn’t insulation. For this exact reason, both double and triple pane windows have become increasingly popular to fill in the place of insulation.

There are several other home exterior areas that can be caulked such as:

  • Utility entrances –  cables, wiring, faucets, etc.
  • Exterior Trim – decorative trim, angles, and corner boards
  • Roof – skylights, vent stacks, or chimneys
  • New wood replacement – wooden trim and siding
  • Any place that your home’s siding meets the foundation

If you are considering a new interior paint job in Chicago, IL and need caulking, Marc Poulos Painting can help. Schedule a consultation via phone by dialing 1-800-PAINTING.

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