CAULKING AND WEATHER-STRIPPING STANDARDS
Weather stripping of doors and windows helps keep the home properly heated or cooled. Metal stripping should be free of dents and loose sections, and plastic or rubber, stripping should be glued tightly. The junction between windows, doors and exterior wall material (i.e. siding, brick) will need to be caulked to minimize air infiltration. Caulking will need to be maintained by the homeowner throughout the life of the home. It should be noted that some air infiltration is normal during high winds.
Common Defects or Problems:
1. Common Defect or Problem – Caulking cracks.
Performance Standard – All types of caulk will dry out. Builder to remove old caulk and replace with new caulk at cracked areas one time during the first year. After the one repair, caulking becomes an owner maintenance responsibility.
Builder Repair Responsibility – Builder to repair to performance standard one time during the first year.
Craig’s Comments: Caulking is supposed to be a flexible joint between dissimilar materials that keeps out bugs and air. Many times caulking is used to keep out water, even though caulking will fail sooner rather than later. In any case, caulking is a high maintenance item. Let the builder repair it per SC RCS once during the first year. Then do not put off maintaining the caulk on an annual basis. Some caulks are better than others. Polyurethane is Craig’s favorite but difficult to find. Silicone caulk doesn’t bond well to concrete or brick. Ignore the warranties.
2. Common Defect Problem – Caulking is missing.
Performance Standard – Builder is responsible to caulk all wood, wood to masonry, aluminum to wood and aluminum to masonry to local codes.
Builder Repair Responsibility – Repair to meet performance standard. Craig’s Comments: If the caulking is missing at closing, the builder is responsible for patching it. After that, it’s yours. Pay attention to the caulk. See above.
3. Common Defect or Problem – Air infiltration around doors and windows.
Performance Standard – Doors and windows are cold spot sources and some infiltration of air must be expected. Proper weatherstripping and insulating around these areas can minimize air passage. However, depending on the type of window (i.e.double hung and sliding windows will have more air infiltration than casement or stationary windows) and under certain temperature and wind conditions, some infiltration will be observed by the homeowner.
Builder Repair Responsibility – Builder to inspect and adjust poorly fitted weatherstripping. If draft comes around casings, builder to make sure insulation is in place around window wherever possible.
Craig’s Comments: New windows are much tighter than older windows. If you feel a draft around a window that is closed and properly latched, bets are that the window or its installation is defective. (Make sure though, that what you are feeling is not caused by a ceiling fan or the furnace fan.) I’ve seen 4×12 ft pieces of sheetrock, doors, cabinets and about everything else slid in through windows, so it is possible that a drafty window is a damaged window. Window manufacturer representatives can be good sources in evaluating whether a window is performing or installed correctly.