Window caulking is one of the most important, yet overlooked parts of window maintenance. Caulk seals the gaps around windows, preventing indoor air from escaping, and also blocks drafts of outdoor air from getting in through window frames. Window caulking not only contributes to the comfort of your home but also impacts your energy consumption and can have a direct impact on heating and cooling bills.
How Often Should Window Caulking be Replaced?
Caulk is super-important as it insulates windows. The bad part is though, that it doesn’t last forever. In order to maintain maximum effectiveness, caulk will have to be reapplied every once in a while to interior and exterior windows. Like many homeowners, you may neglect to reapply caulk to your windows.
If you’ve been feeling cold or hot drafts blowing through your windows or if your energy bills are higher than usual, your window caulking – or lack of window caulking – could be to blame. When caulk degrades, its effectiveness significantly reduces and eventually becomes completely useless. When that happens, indoor air will escape, outdoor air will blow inside, and your home’s HVAC system must work harder to maintain indoor temperatures, all of which will result in a higher utility bill.
Needless to say, making sure that your window caulking is in good shape is a must. How often should you reapply window caulking? Let’s take a look.
How Often Should Window Caulk be Reapplied?
While applying caulking to windows “as necessary” may not be a very helpful answer, it’s the truth. Although the vast majority of brands of window caulking last five years or so, there are a number of factors that can shorten window caulk life expectancy.
The age of your house
Believe it or not, the age of your house can impact the caulking around your windows. The caulking in newer houses tends to need to be reapplied more frequently. Why? Because it takes a while for newer houses to settle. As the house settles, the wood expands and contracts, which can affect the caulking. For example, the caulking can become cracked or completely dislodged.
The weather has a direct impact on how often caulk should be reapplied as well. Heavy rain, high humidity levels, and freezing temperatures can speed up the degradation of window caulking. In the United States, weather patterns travel from the west to the east, which means that the caulking around the windows on the west side of your house may deteriorate at a faster rate.
The powerful UV rays and extreme temperatures from the sun can wreak havoc on window caulking. These factors can dry caulk out, which can result in cracking. Therefore, if your home receives a lot of sunlight, you’re probably going to need to reapply the window caulking on a more frequent basis.
How to Tell When Window Caulking Needs to be Reapplied?
The factors listed above are just some of the most common factors that can impact window caulking, causing it to degrade faster than the average five-year lifespan of most caulk brands. Since everyone’s home is different, there isn’t an exact timeframe for reapplying caulk to windows. Therefore, you should get into the habit of inspecting the window caulking on a regular basis.
Inspect the caulking at least once a year, though preferably twice a year, prior to winter and before spring. If you notice any of the following, it’s time to replace the caulking:
- Small bugs on the windowsills
- Increased energy bills
- Window rattling
- Whistling sounds blowing through the windows
- Moisture on the windowsills
- Condensation on the windowpanes
Additional Reading: Update or Replace Windows – energy.gov
Discount Window and Door of Omaha
At Discount Window and Door of Omaha, we are committed to providing the best quality doors and replacement windows. We employ the most skilled installers to ensure the highest standard of quality service. Our installers are highly trained, certified industry professionals with years of experience, including some second and third-generation employees.