A guide for homeowners doing renovations.

Specifically - Hiring Contractors, How to Save Money and Disaster Prevention.

Showing posts with label Windows. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Windows. Show all posts


Note there are constantly new caulking products that mix recipes or overlap usages.  Their drying times, health hazard/risk, traits and usage significantly change by caulking type.

Silicone, Acrylic, Butyl, Polyurethane & 2-Part Epoxy are all kinds I'm familiar with.

This article is about Silicone & Acrylic caulking (see below).

To decide which you need to use, there is one critical piece of information you need to understand: usage.

Caulking purposes in residential:

  • Waterproofing, (Most Common)
  • Gap filling (Most Common)
  • Vapor Sealing
  • Soundproofing (not going to cover that in this article)
  • Fire Rating (not going to cover that in this article)


  • Are used primarily in "finishing" environments,
  • Are "waterproof" but not recommended for the primary waterproofing,
  • Are paintable (hence "finishing") but comes in a variety of colors,
  • Great at Gap Filling,
  • Easy to clean up with water,
  • Comes in a variety of colors.


  • Is typically NOT paint-able BUT you can buy expensive ones that are,
  • Typically Clear, Translucent or Transparent but you can get them is different colors as well,
  • Is sometimes great as an adhesive for things like back splashes, counter top anchoring, mirror anchoring, and other smooth surface to smooth surface "blob" gluing,
  • Highly flexible, 
  • Resistant to shrink/expansion,
  • Doesn't want to dry out or crack.
  • Smells powerful and is hard to clean up.
  • Used as the primary waterproofing caulking.
  • Resistant to mold.
  • Reacts with neoprene washers (turns yellowish).
  • Can get Fire Rated Silicone based caulking.

Here are some quick test questions to help you understand the differences.


1. Question:  What kind of caulking would I use around a tub surround?

Answer:  100% Silicone

2. Question:  What kind of caulking would I use with a window installation?

Answer:  Behind flanges for example, use silicone.  Behind any trim use either silicone or acrylic.  Visible sections around trim or flashings, use acrylic.

3.  Question:  What kind of caulking should I use around a sink?

Answer: Use Silicone.

4. Question:  What kind of caulking would I use on a metal roof?

Answer:  Drying times, UV(Ultra-Violet) ratings & specific usages make a difference here.  Typically Silicone is handy, especially with flashings however,  a Butyl caulkings is sometimes better.  For shingles, a Polyurethane caulking is more preferred.  However, there are cases where either can be used however, pay attention to UV rated products, drying times and what you're adhering to.  Epoxy caulkings are also an option however, they are way more toxic, cost more and are good for mortar/concrete solutions.  

A lot of the time you just need to know about Silicone and Acrylic because it's the most common for homeowners.  

You can read the backs of the tubes for the more specialized, usage specific types.

Don't use acoustical sealant (because it's black and water resistant) on a roof!  That's for sound & vapor barrier penetrations!

Please "like" this if you found it was helpful and leave a comment if you have any questions.




OK.  This is important.  So the moisture is the problem but what's causing the moisture?

***Flowchart - Coming Soon***

Before I really get into the troubleshooting, you're going to need to know a few things.

We are trying to find a dew point.  It's the point at which the hot air meets the cold air with the humidity typically higher for some reason. (ie: bathroom showers, kettle boiling, fish tanks etc.)

Here's the process of troubleshooting:

STEP 1. Checking for Window Argon Seal

Check for condensation or frost in between the panes If there is condensation on the inside, then the argon fill seal is broken and your window might be covered under warranty.  To my experience the Argon seal breaking has a warranty of 2-5 years.

Keeping your bathroom fans' vents
clean goes a long way!

STEP 2. Check wall insulation/penetrations for air leakage via conduction through the wall or through a breach in the vapour barrier

If there isn't any, then check by feel(or use a surface heat thermometer $30) to see if the wall under the window is cold (properly insulated) look for areas near plugs for cold air in the winter, hot in the summer.  You might have a floor register that is mixing with outside air and creating that dew point OR it might not be causing enough air flow in your home(see #3).  Typically, if it's JUST the floor register and your walls are well insulated, the condensation in the wintertime is from the Argon seal breaking.

STEP 3. Checking air flow - lack thereof

If none of those cases are present then more than likely you have a humidity problem and poor air flow.  Also as mentioned, that can be caused by blinds, curtains and an unintentional "passive solar/heating effect." I suspect your humidity is too high given your airflow.  You may need a dehumidifier.  Check your bathroom fans too...Have some fish tanks?

STEP 4.  Checking temperature consistency in each room. (To figure out if it's one window vs all windows or one room vs all rooms)

Try opening all your vents for a while, enough that your furnace is working to heat each room consistently, grab a $30 surface temperature gun or digital thermostat and check to see if your rooms of a single story are all the same temperature, then check the room with the window.  (might as well point the surface detector at the wall and check a reading for #2 relative to other walls.)

If it's all windows or all rooms, you have a furnace/heating/air circulation problem. Call the HVAC guy.  If it's just one window or room and you're sure it's not #4, then it's #5 below.

STEP 5. Unlikely but poor window installation - specifically between the rough opening (R.O.) and the window.

In some cases, the perimeter of a window installation can be prone to being poorly insulated: either lack of acoustical sealant on the V.B., or no insulation between the window and the rough opening.  Pop the casings off and check, maybe spray some low expansion spray foam in any gaps.  Use silicone caulking around the perimeter if you can't spray foam.

STEP 6.  If you haven't solved your problem, I'd like to know! 

Email me your situation and I'd be happy to learn with you.

PLEASE, DON'T REMOVE SIDING - You don't need to unless you're getting damage from water and the above situation is dew point related - not water shedding related.


Recent Posts

Our Moto

Get more knowledge. Get better. Keep an open mind. Tactfully debate what you think is incorrect and together we can learn the best procedure, product or building philosophy.


  1. Decide on a project priority
  2. Find some features you like
  3. Research the kind of contractor you need
  4. Research the kind of plan maker you need
  5. Consider finding & including a contractor in the designs for big projects
  6. Develop a budget from the concept designs
  7. Tweak your concept and budget until it's affordable
  8. Continue saving for more contingency until the project is ready to start!

Please leave a comment!

Ask A Question

We fully encourage the public to ask questions. Please email us with a specific question in mind and we'll do our best to provide you with a solid answer.