How Often Should You Caulk Your Windows? – Complete Guide
Caulking your windows helps to seal out drafts and prevents leaks. It’s easy to apply yourself and doesn’t take long. However, it also doesn’t last forever, so you’ll need to reapply it now and then for maximum effectiveness. We will look at how often you need to reapply caulk and give you some tips on applying a solid seal with a professional appearance.
How Often Should I Replace Caulk?
The short answer is that you’ll need to replace your window caulk when it needs it. Most window caulk brands should last about 5 years, but several factors can come into play.
Many people may not realize that the age of their home can affect the window caulking. New houses can take a while to settle, and the wood in your home can flex over the first several years. This settling and flexing can cause your window caulk to crack and become dislodged.
If you live in an area that experiences lots of heavy rains or freezing weather, it can cause your caulking to deteriorate much quicker than it should. Because weather patterns in North America often travel from west to east, the caulking on the west side of the house can deteriorate faster as it takes the brunt of the wind and rain.
Sunlight is another enemy of window caulking. Though many brands have ingredients that offer UV protection, continuous exposure to the hot sun can break down the caulking and cause it to become brittle. Because the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, the windows on the east and west side of your home will tend to need replacing more often than the windows on the north and south side.
There are plenty of other factors that can break down your window caulking. If you live in the woods, insects and tree sap can become a problem. If you live on top of a mountain, you may experience more extreme temperature changes, while living in a valley can cause unusual wind directions.
How Will I Know It’s Time to Replace Caulking?
We recommend inspecting your caulking every year and replace it if you notice any cracks developing or if you see it pulling away from the window. If you feel drafts in your home, it’s often a sign that you need to replace the caulking, and you may also notice a sudden rise in heating costs as your heat escapes through the gap created by aging caulk. You may notice more small bugs in your home in the summer than usual, especially at night when they are attracted to the light.
You may hear your windows rattle in extreme cases because the window caulk is what holds the glass panes in place and provides a cushion. If the caulking has badly deteriorated, the window will begin to rattle on cold days. You may also notice chipped paint and warped wood because, without caulking, the rain will get into the windowpane. Allowed to sit, the wood will absorb the water and could warp while the swelling can crack the paint.
How Do I Replace Caulk?
If you notice the caulk around your windows showing signs of wear, you cannot apply new caulk over the old because the old will continue to deteriorate faster than the new. The best thing to do is to remove the old caulking completely before replacing it.
Removing Old Caulking
Removing the old caulking is not difficult, but it will require patience and will take some time.
Applying New Caulking
If you use a good, high-quality caulking brand, you should get about 5 years before you need to reapply it. However, harsh weather can speed up deterioration, especially on the house’s east and west sides. We recommend a yearly inspection in early spring to look for crack and peeling away, so you can replace it in nice weather. Other people like to make their annual inspections in early fall to make sure their windows are sealed tight for the winter. As long as you stick with it, either method will work.
We hope you have enjoyed reading and have found the answers you need. If we have helped you reduce drafts and save money on heating, please share this guide to how often you should caulk your windows on Facebook and Twitter.
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