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Old 08-10-2011, 10:10 AM   #1
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Q about poor air quality after ext. caulking


A few days ago our contractor finished installing hardie plank siding installation on one side of the house. As part of that, he ended up caulking around a pair of bathroom windows. Since that time, we noticed that there is a small buildup of paint-like odor in the house, usually noticeable when we walk in at the end of the day. That gets flushed out after we open the windows.

Anyway, a member of the household got some rash on the skin overnight after sensing the same odor yesterday evening. Anyway, when I walked around to trace the origin of the odor, the only source is the caulking applied ON THE OUTSIDE of the bathroom windows. The windows on this daylight basement floor are kept closed, but when I get close to them I get a faint smell and when I open them, the odor is strong when I open the window.

I researched the caulking material, and it is OSi Quad, which has a few VOCs. This is NOT a polyurethane based sealant.

Questions:

1. How could the odor be getting into the house? Only way I can imagine is if the odor is somehow getting in through the air intake.

2. Anything else I should check that accounts for transfer of odor from outside of the home to inside?

3. Will the odor go away when we paint over the caulking (painting not started yet).

4. How many days/weeks would it take this sealant to completely cure and stop off gassing?

Any ideas to test, verify path of odor flow into the house are appreciated.

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Old 08-10-2011, 10:21 AM   #2
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Q about poor air quality after ext. caulking


The odor will go away. Some people are more hyper-sensitive to smells, etc, than others.

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Old 08-10-2011, 10:25 AM   #3
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Q about poor air quality after ext. caulking


most houses have what we Pros call a negative pressure situation in them. air is always entering the house around cracks/doors windows and even where he caulked. hot air rises up the chimney and creates a draft/negative pressure along with bathroom and cooking exhaust fans. that smell should go away in a few weeks but the only way to know for sure is to contact the manufacturer of the caulk. not much you can do about it except find a relative for the sensitive person to stay with for a couple of weeks or send them to summer camp if they are young.
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Old 08-10-2011, 10:48 AM   #4
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Q about poor air quality after ext. caulking


Thank you folks. I figured it would go away, but the concern level went up because of the rash that developed on my wife's hands. She spent the night at a different home, but the initial exposure in the evening for a couple of hours was enough to trigger the rash.

Thanks for the tips.
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Old 08-10-2011, 10:54 AM   #5
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Q about poor air quality after ext. caulking


It is possible the rash was from something else. Did she go to her doctor to make sure that it was nothing major, and also take a Benedryl?
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Old 08-10-2011, 11:26 AM   #6
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Q about poor air quality after ext. caulking


Ask the contractor for the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) of the product that was used, or look it up on the internet. Every product that comes from a factory has one.

That will tell you if you need to be concerned about the vapors.
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Old 08-10-2011, 11:28 AM   #7
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Q about poor air quality after ext. caulking


gregzoll: it is always possible somethiing else caused it, but we know she is sensitive to those odors and this was the only thing that changed in her environment. In any case, we wanted to understand the odors as we were surprised they made their way into the home from the outside. Now I understand it is because the sealant is directly over the gaps around the windows and negative air pressure is helping it seep in.
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Old 08-10-2011, 11:47 AM   #8
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Q about poor air quality after ext. caulking


If it is cool in your area today, I would open up the house and let it air out for the next 24 hours. Placing a fan in the window for the bath also helps, along with running the exhaust fan. Check with your utility to see if they offer any type of testing to check how air tight your home is. I know that in the Winter, our house is tighter now, since I have sealed up as many openings, and gaps that I could, than how it was when we first moved in.
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Old 08-10-2011, 02:49 PM   #9
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Q about poor air quality after ext. caulking


Thanks folks. I got some info about the quad sealant from company site. I have been airing the house last few days, but this rash showed up when the home was locked up during the day, causing buildup. I will leave the exhaust fans running.

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