Home inspection findings by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck, Professional Real Estate Inspector TREC# 9073

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How Often Do I Need to Caulk Doors, Windows, and Wall Joints

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Keeping wall joints and wall penetrations caulked keep moisture problems down, and caulking helps with energy efficiency. If you caulk once, do you need to caulk again?

How often should one caulk? I have been asked this on other occasions, and my response involves the fact that you never can tell. I often advise that you should take the time to examine your home every so often. My preference is once a month that a homeowner should look around the home for problems to remedy. When I thought about it, there are some trends that I have noticed, so I will share those with you.

New Construction- a year after the home is built, I find that the caulking of joints has to be redone. During the first year, quite a bit of settling happens, and this leads to separation of the caulk from the wall joint. This is a normal process.

Established homes- under normal conditions, I suggest that caulk should be redone after five years. Normal conditions means that the home experiences the same conditions year after year. Why five years? This may be random, but I noticed that homes which were built six years ago, and had the caulk taken care of after the first year, tend to need new caulking after five years. This also happened on my own home. After five years, I had to do touch-up caulking. Five years keeps coming up.

What if you do not have normal conditions? If you have been in a long drought, and then a large amount of rain floods your property, you can have a situation where your home could be moving more rapidly than normal. Or let us say, that the last homeowner did not keep consistent moisture around the foundation, and then a new homeowner began regular watering, you may find your home moving. In these case, the joints can separate, so caulking is needed.

You will notice that I wrote ” could be moving” and “may find you home moving”. Those terms sound like I am covering myself. Each home is different though. My neighborhood may flood, but how much water stays in my yard? Is it the same as the amount of water in my neighbors yard? Did it flood evenly around the house, or did one side have more standing water? If your house is moving all together, then there will be less separation. I guess that this leads me to my original statement: check your house every so often.

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© Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Home Inspector Houston, Texas
Frank Theodor Schulte-Ladbeck
home inspector, TREC# 9073
Houston , Texas , 77063 United States
713.781.6090

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