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How Often Should You Inspect Your Caulking?

Your home or business is made up of a variety of parts all working together to keep both the exterior and interior safe, secure and resistant against issues like water and pests. Caulking is one of the many important aspects of your building, and you should take care to inspect it at regular intervals to ensure that you are aware of any issues before they become significantly worse.

However, the age of your home, the weather conditions each year and how recently you have had your caulking redone can all impact your caulk inspection schedule. Here is what you need to know about inspecting your caulk so that you can maintain a well sealed building.

Why Caulking Inspection Should Occur Regularly

Caulk is an important part of what keeps your house or business free of pests, water damage and other concerns. It seals the joints between installations, such as at the edges where windows meet the wall, door frames and even air vents and toilets.

If caulk is left unattended, it will begin to degrade over time by cracking or peeling away from the surface it is attached to, which is a wide open vulnerability allowing moisture to penetrate. If caulk has worn away from a door, for example, you may see your energy bills rise because the interior is not sufficiently insulated.

Windows with deteriorating caulk may allow moisture to seep into the interior walls, contributing to structural weakness or mold. Pests can find their way into your home or business through holes in caulk, and once they know the way in, they can be hard to remove. The simple process of inspecting your building’s caulk can catch these vulnerabilities before they become serious.

How Often and When to Inspect Caulk

How often you should inspect your caulk is not a cut and dry answer; it depends on a number of variables. If your building is a new construction, it will take a few years to settle into the foundation and may shift during this time. Thus, you should carefully monitor your caulking work in these initial stages, since you can expect more significant movement.

Many homes and businesses benefit from new caulk in the first two years after construction so that any settling issues are addressed immediately. For older buildings, caulk can typically last around five years. However, it is worth scheduling an inspection into your to-do list annually so that issues that crop up can be handled quickly, while they are still minor.

In general, inspecting your caulk is best done in the early to mid summer. This provides plenty of time to fix the issue before cold or inclement weather can throw a wrench in the process. Caulk does take some time to dry—usually no more than 48 hours—so it is best to inspect and repair your caulk during a time of year in which there is less rain or other wet or cold weather.

Areas of Particular Concern

Caulk appears everywhere in your home, and if the job is done well, you may likely not even really notice it. However, you must be diligent in examining all of your caulked surfaces. In particular, pay attention to the caulking around windows and doors, as well as surrounding your plumbing; this may include a shower, tub, sink, toilet or a variety of other bathroom and kitchen tools you use. Your siding will likely include some caulked areas, and while you are outside, best to look up and check the caulking in your roof’s joints as well. The roof bears the brunt of the sunshine and rain, after all. Air vents and exterior lights are two more common culprits on the outside of your home, and these can provide prime locations for pests to make a home and infiltrate.
person applying silicone sealant with caulking gun

Be aware that the surfaces you are inspecting are all different, which means that their caulking may not all look the same. Some areas may use silicone sealant while others rely on rubber or latex.

Address Caulking Problems Sooner Rather Than Later for Best Results

If you have been inspecting your caulk and you believe that it may be in need of repair, it is best to tackle the project sooner rather than later so that your home does not experience any damage from water or other outside factors.