One of the most overlooked aspects of a home is the caulking (or sealant). The protective and aesthetic benefits of a new paint job or new roof are obvious and nice to look at. But what about the thing that keeps out unwanted water, air, dust, insects, and sometimes can help in firestopping?
Caulking is typically found in the corners of windows, chimneys, roofs, siding, sinks, or any other place where two types of building materials meet and need to be sealed. The main purpose of caulking is to ensure that there is no leakage between the materials. In fact, proper caulking can save you up to 30% or more on your energy bills. Therefore, it wouldn’t hurt to check on your caulking once in a while.
When Should I Check The Caulking?
The best part about doing an inspection on your caulking is that it only takes a few minutes to do. You can do it while you’re already outside doing yard work, cleaning gutters, or anything else you need to do around the house.
Overall though, follow these guidelines:
New Home – If you have a newly built house, a lot of the settling takes place in the first year. Make sure to check it and be prepared to possibly have it replaced within the first year to make sure everything is properly sealed.
Established Home – If you are living in a home that has already been around for a while, it may be wise to have it redone every 5 years (depending on the quality of the caulking). At minimum, check it every year to stay ahead of things.
Higher Energy Bills – If you notice an increase on your energy bills without any other changes, it might be due to some air leakage from damaged caulk. It would be a good idea to double check the exterior caulking especially and see if it’s cracked or peeling.
How Do I Check The Caulking?
Check the caulking around fixtures such as bathtubs, showers, sinks, and pipes. See if it is loose, cracking, chipping, or peeling.
Check around windows, siding, frames (door, window, garage, etc…), and any other place that should be sealed. See if the sealant is loose or cracking.
How Do I Fix The Problem?
Living in a condo, the interior work will typically be handled by you. It is important to stay on top of these things, as leaks could affect other owners, leaving you with a large bill. Additionally, if you suspect you have a water leak make sure to check out our article on How To Tell If You Have A Water Leak In Your Condo.
Here is a quick 2-minute video on how to caulk your interior windows.
Most condos consider the exterior work part of a common area, and should be covered by your reserve fund. If you notice your exterior caulking need some work, there is a good chance that your fellow homeowners need it too. Check with your manager to see when the last time caulking was done, and when they had planned to redo it.