Most caulking is meant to last about 5 years but it’s important to check it every few years to make sure it’s doing its job. Too much direct sunlight or heavy rainfall as well as freezing temperatures can cause your caulking to deteriorate much faster than it should.
How do you know if it’s time to replace the caulking?
If you notice any cracks developing or if you see it pulling away from the window or if you feel drafts in your home, it’s often a sign that you need to replace the caulking. 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.
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.
Never caulk over old caulking
If the existing caulk has hardened and is pulling away, running a bead over it is sure to be an exercise in futility. The old caulk will continue to pull away, taking the new caulk off with it. Scrape off the old caulk with a steel putty knife first.
Silicone or Polyurethane Caulking?
The main difference between silicone caulking and polyurethane caulking is that the latter is an organic material while silicone is inorganic.
The polyurethane-based sealant has great adhesion to surfaces, a good duration of protection and resists well. However, it deteriorates quickly when exposed to UV rays and sunlight. It loses its properties over time while silicone retains them regardless of the elements.
In addition, silicone is much more resistant to temperature variations in our region and retains its flexibility, essential for caulking. Silicone cures faster than polyurethane and can be applied in very cold or very hot weather, unlike polyurethane-based sealant.