FAQ: Your Guide to Northern Virginia Caulking Service

Homeowners and business owners in Northern Virginia are proud of their properties and like to keep them looking their very best, but of course appearances aren't everything—your house or commercial business also needs to function perfectly, maintain energy efficiency and be protected against damage that could cause serious problems. Professional caulking service for your Northern Virginia property can accomplish all those goals simply and effectively.

There's no question that every modern building in the United States contains at least some caulk, but many people are not totally clear on what Northern Virginia caulking service entails. Where does it get applied? What's the benefit? What kind is needed for which type of problem? And not to put too fine of a point on it, but what is caulking service anyway?

We have the answers to all those burning questions and more from the local Northern Virginia handyman professionals at Mr. Handyman of Northern Virginia - Arlington to Haymarket. Our skilled team is highly experienced with caulking service and dozens of other helpful services that can make your property more comfortable, appealing and functional.

What Is Caulk?

Sealant has been used for thousands of years to help waterproof ships, buildings and other structures that are frequently exposed to moisture. The practice of caulking began with fibrous material soaked in pine tar that was pushed into gaps in ships to make them watertight. Of course, the modern sealant compounds used in Northern Virginia have come a long way and are considerably more advanced—but the basic principle of filling gaps and sealing structures against moisture is the same as it was in ancient times.

Modern compounds are made from a wide variety of primarily synthetic materials such as vinyl or silicone. Caulk is a flexible sealant compound that is packaged in cylindrical tubes or cartridges and squeezed out to form a bead.

What Types of Caulk Are There?

While there are quite a few different varieties of sealant, you'll probably only encounter a couple kinds in your home. Here are a few of the most common types used in Northern Virginia caulking service:

  • Acrylic Latex: The most common kind of sealant used in Northern Virginia houses and business properties, it is used to seal small cracks or holes inside a building and is typically painted over so it is not visible. This is what you are likely to purchase in a hardware store for small home projects.

  • Vinyl Latex: While it is just as easy to use as the acrylic version, it is more durable than acrylic latex and is waterproof, which makes it suitable to be used on the exterior of a house.

  • Silicone: This is the most watertight and durable choice for caulking service, which is why it is typically used in a bathroom around toilets, sinks and other plumbing fixtures. It is very good at adhering to non-porous surfaces and can be very long-lasting when applied correctly by a professional handyman.

  • Adhesive Caulk: A very strong glue that also has some sealing properties, this type is for holding two surfaces together so they can form a solid sealant bond. For example, you can use it between baseboards or other types of exterior trim and wallboard.

Are Caulk and Caulking the Same Thing?

Not exactly. Although these two words are often used interchangeably, they don't mean the same thing. Caulk is the substance that is applied to various places around a building, while caulking is the action of applying it.

Where Does My Northern Virginia Property Need Caulking Service?

You may be wondering where specifically your home or commercial building already has sealant—and where Northern Virginia caulking service is required to help restore your building's energy efficiency and increase indoor comfort. It can (and should) be used in a wide range of applications, including:

  • Between drywall or wallboard and interior trim such as crown molding, wainscoting and chair rails

  • Places where two differing materials meet, such as tile and drywall

  • Corners where two planes intersect at a 90-degree angle in a tile installation

  • Under the plate of air ducts, heat registers, recessed light fixtures, ceiling fans and more

  • Inside door jambs, window frames, vents and anywhere where there's a gap in the exterior siding of the building

  • Damaged areas on the outside of a building, such as cracks and holes in siding

  • Between siding and exterior trim such as exterior window framing, door sills and so on

  • Plumbing fixture plates where pipes or parts of fixtures enter a wall

  • Light switches, electrical outlets and plates where cables for phone and internet service enter the wall

  • Cracks, small holes and gaps in rain gutters or roofline flashing

  • Small spots of damage to soffits and fascia boards that need to be sealed

  • Basement rim joists where the wood framing of the house rests against the foundation

  • Gaps, holes and cracks in your attic floor or walls that can allow for thermal energy loss

These are just some examples of the hundreds of places in Northern Virginia homes and businesses that have caulk or need caulking service. It's certainly not exhaustive, and you'll probably notice many more applications if you start looking around. Our caulking experts are experienced with applications in numerous areas, including difficult-to-reach spaces.

What Are the Advantages of Northern Virginia Caulking Service?

If your house already has caulk in every crevice, why do you need caulking service? Caulk deteriorates over time, which compromises its ability to keep moisture out. When your sealant has degraded or is no longer bonded to the surface where it was applied, it can create some serious problems that make your house less sanitary and comfortable, and also cause your bank account to suffer from excessive utility charges.

Or, it's possible there are places on your property that really should have been sealed up but never were. Whether you need a new application or a replacement for old sealant, our services offer some huge benefits for protecting your home in Northern Virginia—and helping you save money.

Increase Moisture Resistance

Northern Virginia caulking service is critically important to help prevent costly water damage in bathrooms, kitchens, mudrooms, and other places in your house or commercial businesses that are susceptible to unwanted moisture and water leaks. That goes double for the exterior of the building.

Sealant application is a big part of waterproofing your home to protect against moisture from weather elements such as rain and snow melt. It forms a watertight seal that keeps moisture incursion from destroying parts of your property that are vulnerable to costly water damage. That includes problems such as wood rot, which can threaten the structural stability of your building.

Close Up Gaps

There are many places in a building where one type of surface meets another type, and there's usually a tiny gap at that meeting point that is filled with sealant. For example, the line where a tile backsplash transitions into a countertop should have a bead of sealant running along the corner point. That prevents water, dirt and pretty much everything else from getting into that tiny space and causing problems. It also gives the overall installation a tidy, finished look that isn't very noticeable—but when it is missing, it's glaringly obvious. Sealant is also used for window frame repair and other similar jobs in Northern Virginia where air drafts are getting into the house at an egress point.

Decrease Energy Costs

Are you wondering how a bit of sealant here and there could possibly help you save a significant amount of money? When parts of your house (particularly on the exterior) have been compromised, they allow air to move from the outside in and vice versa. Your HVAC system needs to use a lot of electricity or natural gas to keep your home at the temperature you have set on your thermostat, and that air movement changes the temperature inside by allowing warm air from your furnace or cool air from your air conditioner to escape.

That energy loss means your HVAC system has to operate for longer periods of time in compensation, and the additional operation time adds up to a considerable increase on your monthly utility bill. If you've been paying more than necessary on your energy bill because your home is not energy efficient, professional caulking service can make a big difference and get your energy charges down to a more manageable cost.

Keep Pests Out

Right now, at this very moment, someone is probably trying to figure out how to get inside your house. No, not burglars—insects, rodents, and other pests. Creatures such as cockroaches, termites, carpenter ants, rats, mice, wasps and more are always eager to find a way inside cozy buildings in Northern Virginia, and once they do, they'll bring dozens of their little friends in too. Caulking service seals up the gaps and cracks they would love to use to invade your house, keeping pests outside where they belong.

Can Caulk Replace Grout in a Tile Installation?

While both caulk and grout have their place in a tile installation, you cannot eliminate grout and put sealant in its place. Grout is a cement material that fills the gaps between tiles on a flat surface and forms a masonry bond with the backer board or substrate underneath. Caulk is used where two differing materials meet, or sometimes where two planes of tile intersect at a 90-degree angle. The reason why it is sometimes used in corner joints is because all buildings shift and settle over time, and that movement can strain inflexible materials like grout, causing it to crack and crumble. Flexible sealant allows for more movement at the corners while still keeping the seal in place.

Should Caulk Be Applied Over Top of Grout Lines?

It can be, especially in places such as showers where the tile installation will be frequently exposed to water and may need some extra protection. You can find out more about those projects with our guide to what you need to know about a shower remodel. It is also possible to use a type of grout called epoxy grout that is watertight and doesn't need additional caulking service. There is another advantage of applying sealant over top of grout lines: it prevents dirt from working its way into the semi-porous grout material, so it doesn't end up looking so dingy and dirty all the time.

How Often Do You Need Replacement Caulking Service in Northern Virginia?

It's hard to say exactly how often you will need caulking service because there are a lot of factors that influence how quickly the old material will deteriorate. The basic recommendation is to have sealant replaced every five years or so, depending on factors such as:

  • Original type of sealant

  • Quality of the product

  • What condition the surface was in when it was applied

  • The application method used

  • How much it has been exposed to moisture

  • Humidity levels inside and for the overall climate

  • The levels of cleaning and maintenance it has gotten over the years

Can Caulk Expire?

Once it has been applied and has cured in place, it doesn't expire. But it is possible for unused caulk to expire in the tube or packaging. There may be a “best by” date on the package for reference, but you can also test by yourself to make sure it's still okay for use by following these steps:

  1. Squeeze out a small bead onto a piece of cardboard or paper plate.

  2. Wait about 15 minutes

  3. Check the bead for signs of forming a “skin,” which is part of the curing process. If it remains wet and doesn't seem to be setting at all, it's old and should not be used.

When You Need Northern Virginia Caulking Service, Call the Pros at Mr. Handyman!

Whether you are in Springfield, Fairfax Station or another nearby community, you can count on trustworthy caulking service from the team of service professionals at Mr. Handyman of Northern Virginia - Arlington to Haymarket.

Pick up the phone and get in touch with us today at 703-621-4817 to find out more about our reliable handyman service in Northern Virginia, or to schedule a convenient appointment for home renovations, maintenance and repairs with our experienced team.