Caulking – The Need to Knows!

A home maintenance that pays back right away is re-caulking your home. Caulking is a relatively simple task and it protects homes against water and moisture intrusion. It’s quite effective in preventing drafts and heat loss and also prevents dangerous fumes like carbon monoxide from seeping into the house.

First thing is first, knowing which type of caulking to use; silicon, latex or hybrid? In wet areas, like the kitchen, bathroom and home exterior, use silicon, not latex. Latex caulking will mould, as it’s not mildew resistant. Latex is for interior finishes and seals in dry areas. Hybrids offer excellent adhesion to paint and are commonly used for trim work.

About 90% of exterior caulking applications today are silicon. They should be rubberized with a minimum of 20 to 25% flexibility. These products are excellent for allowing movement, which is especially important around window and door. Where temperatures drop to at least -20 C in winter and rise to 30 C in summer (Canada eh?) the rubberized material allows for expanding and contracting.

Interior versus exterior caulking

Different types of caulking deliver different benefits. Some are water-resistant; others have different levels of durability; others can be painted over. One big difference between interior and exterior caulking is that indoor caulking can usually be painted while outdoors can’t.

Now, take a quick walk around your house and check the condition of all caulking; inside and out. Check for mould around windowsills, cracks in the caulking and any gaps between materials; you’ll want to make sure these are sealed.

Good job is invisible

Although caulking is fairly simple, it’s one of those things that can really separate the pros from the amateurs. You can definitely judge a pro’s caulking job simply by looking at it. If a job is uneven, messy or inconsistent, you can deem it as amateurish work.

For example, pros will apply an even bead of caulking and then “tool” or smooth it out, usually with a piece of wood they dip into a solution of soap and water. The soap and water makes the tool slippery, so it doesn’t grab the caulking, giving you that nice, smooth, finished look.

Caulking is one of those things you don’t want to cut corners on because it can really screw up the look of the entire job. That’s why you hire a pro to do it right.