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  1. #1
    Joseph Stevens's Avatar
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    Default Caulk or No Caulk

    First off I know this question may be elementary to many but I am a new inspector, not yet inspecting homes.

    I have looked at various homes with aluminum, vinyl, steel, and wood siding. I am trying to figure out in what situations the siding should be caulked around the edges and not. My understanding was that caulk should be used at any situation where there was nothing else preventing water to getting through to the WRB. I have noticed some vinyl siding caulked at the "J" channels and some that isn't. Same with aluminum and steel, sometimes it's caulked and others it isn't. I've even looked at some wood siding that you can see tar paper in between the joints between the siding and window frame.

    When is caulk required.

    Thank you for your help.

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  2. #2

    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    It's a judgement call. In a perfect world, caulk should virtually never be needed. There should be flashing at all siding butt joints, GSM flashing at all horizontal trim areas, properly lapped materials, properly installed WRB with a drainage plane, etc., etc. Caulk is kinda like a band aid. I call for it all of the time, because I can't trust the installers to do things right.


  3. #3
    Philip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    Vinyl and Al siding if installed correctly should need no caulk. Sub sills is the only place required. Caulking usually means bad measuring or cutting.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    The easy copout answer is- refer to manufacturer installation instructions
    A better answer is- whenever you are butting dis-similar materials against each other in exterior conditions
    A realistic answer is- that it depends on field conditions
    Vinyl siding doesn't need caulk in very many locations. I've seen guys caulk the siding at the inside of the J-channel. how stupid is that?
    On the other hand, if the J-channel isn't caulked to the wood or vinyl window frame, I call it out as an incomplete installation. In a hard rain you better believe rain will get in that seam.
    One of the things to keep in mind, especially with newer construction, is the lack of roof/eave overhang. All these houses with essentially no overhang except the gutter expose sidewalls to a lot more driving water forces.
    You'll learn over time what's a good caulk detail and what is someone's attempt at remediating a problem.

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  5. #5

    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    BW: Sorry, I can't buy that line of "reasoning". Please illustrate to us how one can provide an effective WRB without the use of sealants, especially in light of the fact that so many materials manufacturers require the use of sealants with their products.
    I still like my answer
    I did write "perfect world" didn't I? Sealants fail, and can not be relied upon without maintenance. How often do you see homeowners maintain those seals properly?
    Yes, sealant is required in some circumstances, EIFS and stucco, and trimmed out areas come to mind.
    There's really very few places that sealant should be needed, yet it's relied upon as a band aid in so many instances.


  6. #6
    Ian Currie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    I realize this thread hasn't been active for over a month but it relates to a question I have.

    Stucco is very common where I live and most of the stucco homes that I see do not have caulking between the stucco and casing (windows and doors).

    I've read that it's an absolute must and also that it's absolutely unnecessary, or that it depends upon the installation method and / or the window manufacturer's instructions.

    It appears there are many variables, so how can I know when it is needed and when it isn't?


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    "...in a perfect world..." as Brandon said earlier, caulking should rarely be needed. Unfortunately Utopia is a far off land...I would have to say you would need to know exactly how the windows, doors and casements/trim were installed before determining if caulking is needed or not. As inspectors we look at homes that are anywhere from new to decades even centuries old and who knows what went on during the installation.

    Over time stucco usually pulls away from wood casement or the casement shrinks away from the stucco. I invariably recommend caulking those gaps, primarily as a maintenance issue and especially as a matter of course if the stucco is to be painted or re-color coated. Applying caulk, to some extent, takes the guesswork out of potentially hidden issues (in that we rarely see what is behind the casement and whether correct flashing etc. was used). If everything around the casement looks sound then an ounce of prevention...etc.

    Having repainted many houses myself, caulking around the frames and trim also makes for a neater finish and also helps to minimise insect infiltration. It really can't hurt. Incidentally, I sometimes use the sanded tiles grout which comes in a tube like caulking, for those applications, it's paintable, matches the stucco better and fills larger voids.

    BTW nice first name...


  8. #8
    Ian Currie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Page View Post

    . . . .Having repainted many houses myself, caulking around the frames and trim also makes for a neater finish and also helps to minimise insect infiltration. It really can't hurt....
    I've read that caulking around windows and doors where not required can actually contribute to water becoming trapped behind the walls. That is my concern, that caulking around casements may actually be harmful, where not needed / warranted / recommended by the manufacturer.

    Does anyone else believe that casements in stucco walls should always be caulked (other than Brandon - I already know his thoughts)?

    On the flip side, does anyone feel strongly against recommending caulking these areas 'just in case'?

    Thanks.

    Last edited by Ian Currie; 08-26-2010 at 11:50 AM.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    Aluminum and vinyl siding expand and contract a lot, and are therefore installed "loose" under their fasteners.

    Caulking the joints will restrict that required movement by trying to hold the siding panels in place.

    The point was raised that caulk is used to make siding water tight (only it was raised in different words), but ...

    NEITHER aluminum nor vinyl siding is designed nor installed to be water tight, so what purpose does the caulk serve?

    Other than, of course, to restrict the required movement of the siding during expansion and contraction.

    That means the caulk is there for purely "cosmetic" reasons, and those "cosmetic" reasons create a negative effect on the "loose" installation practices which are required and which allow the siding panels to expand and contract.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  10. #10
    Ian Currie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    Jerry,

    Useful information, as always (and I mean that sincerely).

    My question, though, was specific to stucco (traditional Portland cement type).

    Can you (or anyone else) offer advice regarding caulking stucco (not EIFS) at casements?

    Thanks again.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    Ian
    If there is moisture making its way inside the stucco, there are other issues which need to be addressed. Caulking around top horizonal planes and verticle runs of casement should not 'trap' moisture, IMO, that's what the stucco screed is for (to allow moisture to run out).


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Currie View Post
    My question, though, was specific to stucco (traditional Portland cement type).

    Can you (or anyone else) offer advice regarding caulking stucco (not EIFS) at casements?
    Sorry, I was replying to the original topic and forgot you had changed gears there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Currie View Post
    Stucco is very common where I live and most of the stucco homes that I see do not have caulking between the stucco and casing (windows and doors).

    I've read that it's an absolute must and also that it's absolutely unnecessary, or that it depends upon the installation method and / or the window manufacturer's instructions.

    It appears there are many variables, so how can I know when it is needed and when it isn't?
    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Currie View Post
    I've read that caulking around windows and doors where not required can actually contribute to water becoming trapped behind the walls. That is my concern, that caulking around casements may actually be harmful, where not needed / warranted / recommended by the manufacturer.

    Does anyone else believe that casements in stucco walls should always be caulked (other than Brandon - I already know his thoughts)?

    Ian,

    First we must start off with the presumption of a "proper" stucco installation, and that includes the proper installation of the proper accessories are all breaks, such as at windows and doors.

    When the proper stucco accessory is installed around a window, the gap between the window and the accessory should be 1/4" as almost all caulks/sealants of reasonable quality require a minimum space of 1/4" for the caulk/sealant.

    The stucco is then applied up to the accessory. The accessory serves as a separation between the stucco and the dissimilar material the window is constructed of. The sealant between the accessory and the window allows for expansion, contraction, and in general limited (very limited) movement between the two materials. Keep in mind that a proper sealant application means the sealant is ONLY adhered to TWO surfaces, the window surface and the opposing accessory surface, the sealant *is not* allowed to adhere to the back of the space (whatever is back there, say building wrap with flashing over it, etc.).

    Which brings us to a properly flashed window and if water were to get through that unsealed 1/4" space the water would drain down the drainage plane behind the stucco and drain (weep) out at the weep screed at the bottom of the stucco area (it should have, is required to have, a weep screed along the bottom of the stucco area).

    The sealant which is applied reduces that air and water infiltration dramatically - thus the sealant is a 'good thing'.

    If one was to leave sealant out because it will trap moisture and water behind it, then they are acknowledging that moisture and water are getting behind it and thus would need to properly design the system to either not allow that to happen, or, design in a drainage plane (like stucco has) which helps control where the moisture and water goes.

    It is acknowledged by the industry, by the ASTM standards, by the codes, that water WILL go through stucco, and thus a drainage plane is required, and a specially designed weep screed is required along the bottom to allow that moisture and water to weep out.

    If the normal amount of water anticipated gets through the stucco, it is drained down the drainage plane. If abnormal amounts of water get through the stucco, such as with hurricane driven rain, and the openings such as windows are properly flashed, very little water should get where it is not wanted, and being as hurricanes are rather short lived for any specific area (there have been some which hung around a very undesirable time, as much as about 2 weeks, and those are simply not accounted for by any building construction method used in normal houses as the cost would be too great), then when the hurricane leaves, the house begins to dry back out, both to the outside and to the inside (as long as there is power to run the a/c, which becomes crucial in those times).

    Now, however, what you are likely referring to is where the stucco goes all the way to the window and there is no accessory ... and that is simply installed wrong to start with, and there is not a lot which can be addressed unless the stucco system is installed and applied properly.

    Caulking/sealing or not caulking/sealing those installation is hit or miss to begin with.

    I realize I wandered a bit in the above, but hopefully I wandered around in the right direction for you.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  13. #13
    Ian Currie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    First we must start off with the presumption of a "proper" stucco installation, and that includes the proper installation of the proper accessories are all breaks, such as at windows and doors...
    It seems that improperly installed stucco homes are plentiful in Winnipeg. On so many there are no weep screeds, no casing beads / stops, no 1/4 inch gap, no caulking, etc.

    So things certainly are far from perfect.

    I've just read an article that states caulking between casements and stucco (where there is no casing beads) is virtually useless since caulking cannot properly adhere to stucco.

    So, in the end, I don't think it's appropriate to recommend caulking where stucco accessories are absent. It might be akin to recommending duct tape to 'fix' a leaking pipe (another band aid 'solution' that simply isn't right).


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Currie View Post
    So things certainly are far from perfect.
    And even when you may think they were done right...

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  15. #15
    Joao Vieira's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    that last photo shows poor workmanship during installation


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    Hi, ALL &

    Up 'here' in the WET West Coast - water-proofing all joints /cracks is regarded as a very good idea - wherever a change of materials occurs, or where already applied and has separtated - so long as one can recognize weep-holes @ window frames or sub-sill flashings /through-wall flashings which are designed to allow water-exit & should NOT be sealed-up.

    We need to seal-up our buildings like submarines, here !


    CHEERS !

    -Glenn Duxbury, CHI

  17. #17

    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Currie View Post
    It seems that improperly installed stucco homes are plentiful in Winnipeg. On so many there are no weep screeds, no casing beads / stops, no 1/4 inch gap, no caulking, etc.

    So things certainly are far from perfect.

    I've just read an article that states caulking between casements and stucco (where there is no casing beads) is virtually useless since caulking cannot properly adhere to stucco.

    So, in the end, I don't think it's appropriate to recommend caulking where stucco accessories are absent. It might be akin to recommending duct tape to 'fix' a leaking pipe (another band aid 'solution' that simply isn't right).
    Ian
    What article?
    Can you send it my way?

    Thanks


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    I've used hundreds of tubes of caulk over the years, never had a problem with the correct caulk sticking to the appropriate surface, including stucco. If the gap is too large however, other remedial measures are taken as well as caulking. Maybe climate and extreme weather conditions make a difference and I can only speak to my experience(s) throughout California.

    .


  19. #19
    Tom Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    I recently contacted the Vinyl Siding Institute, and CertainTeed as a manufacturer, because I've been getting push back on my reports when I mention caulking between J-channel and the door/window trim...

    Both VSI and Certainteed replied that this practice is incorrect and should not be done because it restricts the expansion and contraction of the vinyl siding. Both mention that the flashing and house wrap obviously needs to be done properly prior to the siding installation. Now I just put their comments into my report as confirmation.

    VSI has a good installation manual on-line if you have other questions.


  20. #20
    rick bunting's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Comb View Post
    And even when you may think they were done right...
    I would say the main culprit here appears not to be window to stucco caulking but failing window frame miters. These are open allowing water to get behind the stucco saturate stucco continually (these should be caulked). My GUESS would be that the lath is improperly applied too, or no expansion joints are present not allowing the stucco to move coupled with excessive water intrusion to causing cracks.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    Quote Originally Posted by rick bunting View Post
    I would say the main culprit here appears not to be window to stucco caulking but failing window frame miters. These are open allowing water to get behind the stucco saturate stucco continually (these should be caulked). My GUESS would be that the lath is improperly applied too, or no expansion joints are present not allowing the stucco to move coupled with excessive water intrusion to causing cracks.
    Rick, very observant you are... window corners opened and allowed water to leak into wall cavities. Caulk between the window and stucco appeared to be fine. The cracks in stucco were caused by poor drainage and grading which allowed poor sub-soil to settle at one corner. The repair - Helix piers were installed to support the foundation; Windows were replaced; Stucco was replaced. All courtesy of the builders warranty and insurance company. No court battle, no legal fees, just my consulting fee.

    As a general FYI to inspectors, please be careful when comparing and discussing today's "traditional" stucco with yesteryear's traditional stucco. The game changed in the mid 1980's when installers began to use non-traditional materials and installation techniques. As illustrated in the photo above, even when the stucco installer gets it right something else can be problematic and make it appear to be a stucco issue.

    Fred Comb, ACI
    Mahtomedi, MN
    www.homeinspectionsofmn.com

  22. #22
    Ian Currie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Parlee View Post
    Ian
    What article?
    Can you send it my way?

    Thanks
    Mark,

    I'm camping with the family this week but will look for it when I get back. I don't remember the source, and it may not have been reliable - it was the only one I read that said that sealants don't bond properly to stucco. I don't know what the author's history / experience with this has been.

    In the end, the general consensus seems to be that caulk is a 'band aid solution' to improper flashing. Water naturally gets behind stucco so caulking the joints around windows and doors may slow infiltration but likely will not prevent it. Is that a good thing? Is it money / time well spent or a waste of time?


  23. #23
    Joao Vieira's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    It depends on the application.

    Primary and secondary caulk beads in precast come to mind.


  24. #24
    Ian Currie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Parlee View Post
    Ian
    What article?
    Can you send it my way?

    Thanks
    I’ve found the article I mentioned earlier (about caulk not adhering well to stucco).

    The article is entitled, ‘Metal Lath Accessories Needed or Not: Casing Beads’ and it’s from The Metal Lath Newsletter (Volume 03, Issue 01, September, 2003). Here’s a link to it http://www.metallathinfo.com/newsletter0903.htm

    The article is about the improper use of return lips as the casing bead for stucco applications (found on the outside edge of plastic and aluminum windows).

    Following are two quotes from the article regarding the use of caulk (as a 'solution' to improper flashing):

    “Some of these contractors tried to remedy water intrusion problems by applying multiple layers of caulk on several occasions to try to stem the tide of water intrusion. Some of the structures that the author visited were less than a year old and well on their way to water damage and mildew problems.”

    “Caulking does little good because; although it will adhere well to the window it does not adhere very well to the stucco edge.”

    The author of the article is Gary J. Maylon, who also wrote the book entitled “The Metal Lath Handbook”.

    Although I do not know how well his ideas are received by the construction industry, it does appear (based on his bio) that he has plenty of experience on the topic (i.e. “Mr. Maylon has been involved with the stucco industry for over thirty-eight years and has been involved in technical services and support for more than twenty-two years.”).


  25. #25
    rick bunting's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    To say that caulking will not work around a window is simply incorrect.
    I think that something is getting lost in the translation here, first of all there are very few products that today’s caulk and primers will not bond to. The main reason for “adhesive failure” of a sealant is because the joint is improperly designed and or installed. Unfortunately there are a lot of “contractors” that think that you fill any gap with sealant and all is right with the world. Take a look at the following for a better explanation of proper use and design: http://www.wbdg.org/design/079200.php
    Another thing to remember is that caulking is a maintenance item and does require periodic removal and replacement, aging sealant showing signs of drying or cracking should be noted.


  26. #26
    Joao Vieira's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    I Always recommend a caulk joint around wall penetrations, especially around steel sleeves. There are specialty collars for vents and such that are to be attached under the weather barrier (say on the sheathing), but most architects don't know or their existence or don't think they are important.

    Mortar joints around metal penetrations will crack due to the metal expansion/ contraction. Also, any mortar joints immediately above any perpendicular surface to the vertical wall will absorb excess moisture.

    A well designed caulk joint will avoid both problems.


  27. #27
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    Yes, there are very good uses for sealants (I hate to refer to those as "caulk"), however, ...

    Keep in mind that this thread started out about caulking SIDING, not all those other things.

    Caulking/sealing SIDING is an entirely different matter - may or may not be required, may or may not even be recommended, and may or may not actually be detrimental.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  28. #28
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    I don’t know how to include multiple quotes in one post, so I have simply copied and pasted parts of Rick’s latest response below.

    Quote from Rick: “To say that caulking will not work around a window is simply incorrect.”

    I’m not saying that caulking does not work when applied around a window. I’m suggesting that there is little merit, if any, to recommend that joints around windows and doors be sealed where the stucco has been applied improperly; that is, up to the casement, without stucco accessories (See the last bit of Post No. 13).

    Jerry set things straight (for me) in his post (No. 12) when he stated the following: “Now, however, what you are likely referring to is where the stucco goes all the way to the window and there is no accessory ... and that is simply installed wrong to start with, and there is not a lot which can be addressed unless the stucco system is installed and applied properly. Caulking/sealing or not caulking/sealing those installation is hit or miss to begin with.”


    Quote from Rick: “The main reason for “adhesive failure” of a sealant is because the joint is improperly designed and or installed.”

    The thin joints created between a window or door casement when stucco is applied directly to it is, without question, not properly designed or installed. The information contained in the web page you posted confirms that.

    For instance, the web site states that the design for weatherproofing must provide a minimum depth of 1/4 inch (6 mm) for the sealant to substrate bond AND that a minimum width of 1/4 inch (6 mm) opening is necessary to ensure that sealant applied from a caulking gun will flow into the sealant joint properly.

    The stucco applications that I am discussing do not meet the aforementioned criterion; therefore, it is still my opinion that recommending sealant between improperly installed stucco and window/door joints isn't the right thing to do. The resulting seal would be questionable and does not solve the issues associated with missing or improperly installed flashing. At best, it may only delay the inevitable rot and decay.

    On the other hand, I do agree that recommending sealant between casements and stucco accessories and around through-wall penetrations has merit.


  29. #29
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    Just as an aside, you would not believe how many architects will specify a sealant joint at a window or door, then cover it up with stucco or siding.
    The point about these joints being servicable, that is replaced, as they dry out and fail, is apparently lost on them. I always flag hidden sealant joints as being a problem down the road. They need to be accessible in order to work over the life of the structure.

    I'm a dyslexic agnostic-Don't believe there is a dog...

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    Ian
    Your original post made no mention of "...improperly installed stucco...". You simply asked whether caulking on stucco against casements was a good or bad idea, for fear of trapping moisture. I think that issue has been addressed in other posts. The problem with your latest post and assumption is that you presume to know that the stucco was improperly installed so therfore caulking would not be worthwhile and likely detrimental. Symptoms of improper stucco, flashing etc. install would typically be exposed elswhere (interior) if moisture penetration existed. But what's the alternative?...Complete tear-out of the stucco and install appropriate flashings, stucco bead and brick mould and stucco etc (very costly) or apply appropriate caulking and have the owner/occupant keep a close watch for moisture penetration (minimal cost). As long as you make the customer aware of the potential problems from your determination of improperly installed stucco and suggest possible alternative remedies (short and long-term, the good, bad and ugly) and record such the issue is largely resolved ...caveat emptor...and your work as an inspector is done. Communcation is key...

    Simply to discount caulking/sealants in bridging stucco/casement gaps as detrimental even if the stucco install was improper, is IMO and with respect, a tad short-sighted.


  31. #31
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    You do not have to remove the stucco and install correct casing/stop beads There are variations to poorly designed sealant joints that have been developed that will perform far better than just filling the gap with sealant. The use of bond breaker tape, bandaid joints and in some cases a flat plate eliminates three sided adesion and gives the sealant a place or point within the joint resulting a functional joint.

    You're right Jerry none of this has anything to do with vinyl siding, but what the heck it's a little slow this week.


  32. #32
    Joao Vieira's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    Sure, sealant is the correct terminology. The problem is very often people look to me like I am talking about aliens when I mention the words "sealants installation"; Now that I am talking about it shouldn't it be application instead of installation?

    This reminds me of myself a few years back when I heard the same words in one sentence. The first thing I though about was concrete/masonry sealants


  33. #33
    Ian Currie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Page View Post
    Your original post made no mention of "...improperly installed stucco...". You simply asked whether caulking on stucco against casements was a good or bad idea, for fear of trapping moisture.

    The problem with your latest post and assumption is that you presume to know that the stucco was improperly installed so therfore caulking would not be worthwhile and likely detrimental.
    You're right; however, the conversation changed gears when Jerry correctly assumed that I was referring to sceneries where the stucco is applied directly to the casements.

    Jerry and other sources have taught me that stucco should not be installed up to casements. Stucco accessories are required; therefore, when they are omitted then the installation is indeed improper (It’s a fact; I am not presuming or assuming).

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Page View Post
    Symptoms of improper stucco, flashing etc. install would typically be exposed elswhere (interior) if moisture penetration existed.
    These symptoms often will not show up until considerable time has passed, and considerable damage has occurred. A home that is improperly weatherproofed may not show any evidence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Page View Post
    Simply to discount caulking/sealants in bridging stucco/casement gaps as detrimental even if the stucco install was improper, is IMO and with respect, a tad short-sighted.
    I'm not suggesting that sealing gaps at casements in improperly installed stucco is detrimental, I am; however, suggesting that it is unlikely to be effective, and therefore unnecessary.

    I've learned a lot in the last short while by conducting my own research and asking for advice on this forum. Everyone's responses have been very helpful - yours included.

    Based on what I’ve learned sealants require very specific conditions to work effectively. They require 1/4 inch joints, the surfaces need to be properly prepared (cleaned and made smooth), etc. . . Installations where stucco is applied directly to the casements creates a scenario that will likely not allow the sealant to bond properly and as a result, recommending these joints to be sealed is not (in my opinion) justified.

    My opinion takes into account some of the limitations that apply to sealants so I don’t believe it is short-sighted at all.


  34. #34
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    Quote Originally Posted by Joao Vieira View Post
    Now that I am talking about it shouldn't it be application instead of installation?

    Yes sir, that would be correct ... sealants are "applied".

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  35. #35
    Todd Last's Avatar
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    I know that with Hardie Plank they originally specified caulking and now they say no caulking, but rather to have flashing behind the joints

    At least in Portland Or. some builders seem to be slow to switch over to the non-caulk method and still caulk even though it is no longer reccomended.


  36. #36
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    ...Not to start an irrelevant argument, but "applied" to me sounds like "placed or laid on the surface of something", Installed seems more technically correct to me, since there are several steps, involving technical knowledge and any one of which, if not performed properly, may contribute to failure of the joint. "Caulk" is applied, Sealants are installed. Which would you like on your house?


    I'm a dyslexic agnostic-Don't believe there is a dog...

  37. #37
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    Quote Originally Posted by John Carroll View Post
    but "applied" to me sounds like "placed or laid on the surface of something",

    And that is precisely what is done with sealants ... the sealant "is applied" to two surfaces in such a manner that the sealant is supposed to adhere to those two surfaces, and when done properly and when the sealant does its job properly, the sealant spans the joint (gap) between those two surfaces and keeps water/air out from the joint.

    One could say that the sealant is 'installed in the joint', and the way the sealant is 'installed in the joint' as that the sealant is "applied to the two surfaces such that the sealant fills and closes the joint'.

    "Installed" applies to the backer rod/bond breaker tape in the joint as the backer rod is indeed "installed" into the joint to back up the sealant which is then "applied" to the joint.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  38. #38
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    Agreed, but when is backer rod "installed" without sealant? Part of the same operation and subcontract, isn't it?
    Installed it is. Thanks for your clarification.

    I'm a dyslexic agnostic-Don't believe there is a dog...

  39. #39
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    Quote Originally Posted by John Carroll View Post
    Agreed, but when is backer rod "installed" without sealant? Part of the same operation and subcontract, isn't it?
    Installed it is. Thanks for your clarification.
    Again, John, you are confusing terms, co-joining them if it pleases you.

    Yes, you are correct in that BACKER ROD is INSTALLED, and, likewise, no, you are not correct regarding sealant as sealant is APPLIED.

    Do you "install" paint or do you "apply" paint?



    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  40. #40
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    And what shall we call the person who applies the sealant...the applicator?

    ap·pli·ca·tor
    (); /ˈæplɪˌkeɪtər/ Show Spelled[ap-li-key-ter] Show IPA
    –noun a simple device, as a rod, spatula, or the like, for applying medication, cosmetics, glue, or any other substance not usually touched with the fingers.

    Origin:
    1650–60; applicate ( see applicative) + -or2

    Dictionary.com Unabridged
    Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2010.

    World English Dictionary
    applicator (ˈæplɪˌkeɪtə) — n a device, such as a spatula or rod, for applying a medicine, glue, etc

    Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
    2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
    Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008

    ap·pli·ca·tor definition


    applicator ap·pli·ca·tor (āp'lĭ-kā'tər)
    n.
    An instrument for applying something, such as a medication.

    Me? I'd rather be the installer...

    Apply does have another noun form, applier. but there is no definition for one, it's just a bastardized version. "I usea some apliers to a pulla outa your tooth."

    English is my first language, but sarcasm is my native tongue.

    I'm a dyslexic agnostic-Don't believe there is a dog...

  41. #41
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    Quote Originally Posted by John Carroll View Post
    English is my first language, but sarcasm is my native tongue.
    "English is my first language"

    Apparently not. Here are some "Certified Applicators" from a variety of professions ... and they are NOT "tools"
    - EPA: Pesticides - How to Become a Certified Applicator
    - Certified Applicators Information
    - Application for Technician and Certified Applicator License
    - FlightControl PLUS
    - ISDA Alpha
    - (Okay, not from a variety of professions, I did not even get through one ... pesticide applicators.)

    Oh, that's right, you were out of your league, my apologies.

    By the way, I am fluent in sarcasm too, but I always restrain myself least I embarrass one who thinks that sarcasm is their native tongue.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  42. #42
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    I'm not sure when EPA, Flight Control Plus or ISDA Alpha became english usage authorities, perhaps you can quote their credentials??
    Regardless, I stand by my previous post, unless, of course you can find another, more reputable, language usage sources to refute the ones I used.
    I believe you may be out of your league on this one...
    Carry on.

    I'm a dyslexic agnostic-Don't believe there is a dog...

  43. #43
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    Quote Originally Posted by John Carroll View Post
    I believe you may be out of your league on this one...

    I'm not out of my league on this one, I'm standing here waiting for your next lob, only you are not even aware that we are not playing tennis ...

    ap·pli·ca·tor

    noun \ˈa-plə-ˌkā-tər\
    Definition of APPLICATOR

    : one that applies; specifically : a device for applying a substance (as medicine or polish)

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  44. #44
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Last View Post
    I know that with Hardie Plank they originally specified caulking and now they say no caulking, but rather to have flashing behind the joints

    At least in Portland Or. some builders seem to be slow to switch over to the non-caulk method and still caulk even though it is no longer reccomended.
    Hi Todd.... welcome to the board. As s..l..o..w.. as the builders around here are, keep in mind the houses that were sided in 06 are just now being sold..... or maybe it's that they've been foreclosed on and the banks are just now getting around to selling them

    From 05-07 permit dates I pretty much accept either install (caulking or flashing).

    Jerry and John: Maybe you guys should just stop all the banter and settle this the old fashioned way..... measure your caulk.


  45. #45
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    Ok, JP, last post on this and I'm done. Medicine is administered, AS for the polish, I believe applicator refers to the brush, or sponge used to apply the polish to the nail or shoe.

    Making up usage doesn't wash.
    Wishing doesn't make it so.
    Back to class with you!

    Matt, find your own person to badger, this one's mine.

    Last edited by John Carroll; 09-17-2010 at 07:19 PM. Reason: note to Matt
    I'm a dyslexic agnostic-Don't believe there is a dog...

  46. #46
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    Quote Originally Posted by John Carroll View Post
    I believe applicator refers to the brush, or sponge used to apply the polish to the nail or shoe.

    You may need to change what you believe in ...

    The person who applies the polish is an applicator, and they use an applicator to apply the polish.

    You seem to have never heard of words in the English language which are SPELLED and PRONOUNCED EXACTLY the same but have different uses?

    John shot the bull with Jerry. Explain what just happened there.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  47. #47
    rick bunting's Avatar
    rick bunting Guest

    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    John shot the bull with Jerry. Explain what just happened there.

    John and Jerry are going to have a barbeque and drink lots of beer!


  48. #48
    Daniel Mummey's Avatar
    Daniel Mummey Guest

    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    It can be two-fold. Proper flashing should keep the water out but caulking in some cases is also necessary to keep both water & air out, such as with wood siding that abuts window frame flanges w/o trim surrounds and around both doors & windows to eliminate draft. Here on the Oregon coast, as you may know, rain seldom comes vertically but more often than not is driven against house like a fire hose. Before the 90's, before all the sealant tapes and HardiPlank siding around windows, it was a practice of the experienced builders to "double-caulk" around windows. I can't tell you how many homes I've seen over here on the coast with windows to the SW being re-flashed over the years.


  49. #49
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    Default Re: Caulk or No Caulk

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Stevens View Post
    First off I know this question may be elementary to many but I am a new inspector, not yet inspecting homes.

    I have looked at various homes with aluminum, vinyl, steel, and wood siding. I am trying to figure out in what situations the siding should be caulked around the edges and not. My understanding was that caulk should be used at any situation where there was nothing else preventing water to getting through to the WRB. I have noticed some vinyl siding caulked at the "J" channels and some that isn't. Same with aluminum and steel, sometimes it's caulked and others it isn't. I've even looked at some wood siding that you can see tar paper in between the joints between the siding and window frame.

    When is caulk required.

    Thank you for your help.
    Many people here are pointing out the obvious about caulking and flashing..
    Under proper building practices It should not have to be used.
    So they live in a perfect world.
    I do not, nor do the builders.
    After that perfect building has stood for 15 years it needs work.
    If that was the case, they forget about the windows being replaced and all damages that occur during retro fits to the exterior envelope.
    All I can say is, you asked a good question.
    It can be answered by studding up on building methods with siding and window treatments and roofing, to gain some insight.
    Knowing where that flashing should be and understanding how to recognize its look ( flashing ) behind other materials. Plus its placement.
    Be patient and observe every home, even when not working.
    You will get the eye for detail.
    You will make a great HI asking these questions.
    Good luck.
    Do not let the "knuckle heads" stop you from asking solid questions.
    Read for VALUE.
    PS.
    Any answers not being directed at your question, leave it and read on to find the answers you need to answer your question. Do not loose time as I did reading everything.
    Answer your question take note and move on.

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