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Old 06-29-2011, 10:39 AM   #1
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Caulking between Clapboard?


Getting ready to paint exterior clapboard on house and need to learn about caulking gaps between clapboard peices. I've heard several different thoughts from seal the verticle gaps between pieces to leave open for breathability. Gaps are 1/8 - 1/4 inch wide. My concern is if not sealed will weather enter and cause damage long term? Any professional advice? Thanks

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Old 06-29-2011, 01:30 PM   #2
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Caulking between Clapboard?


I have done it both ways. The experts say NOT to fill the cracks so the house can breathe. I usually fill the cracks especially if they are unsightly. I think houses breathe just fine with the cracks filled. After all, clapboards usually overlap anyway, right? Anyway, I have houses that I did 10 years ago and the paint is still decent, the house isn't sweating on the inside, everything turned out fine. Just your preference I would say.

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Old 06-29-2011, 01:37 PM   #3
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Caulking between Clapboard?


I typically try not to caulk the horizontal because wood expands and contracts with the temp, so when you caulk the horizontal it is more prone to cracking and look like crap.
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Old 06-29-2011, 03:27 PM   #4
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I typically try not to caulk the horizontal because wood expands and contracts with the temp, so when you caulk the horizontal it is more prone to cracking and look like crap.
Workaholic, yes, it can end up looking like crap, but most of the houses I have done this on the caulk stays put for at least 7 years and by that time it's time for paint again. I guess you pick your poison.......look at the unsightly cracks or take your chances with the caulk.
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Old 06-29-2011, 03:31 PM   #5
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Caulking between Clapboard?


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Getting ready to paint exterior clapboard on house and need to learn about caulking gaps between clapboard peices. I've heard several different thoughts from seal the verticle gaps between pieces to leave open for breathability. Gaps are 1/8 - 1/4 inch wide. My concern is if not sealed will weather enter and cause damage long term? Any professional advice? Thanks

I vote no cualk
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Old 06-29-2011, 04:16 PM   #6
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Caulking between Clapboard?


Thanks for the advice, guess if the gaps bother me enough and i'm really ambitious the gaps will get caulked. Appreciate the comments from all.
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Old 06-29-2011, 05:52 PM   #7
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Caulking between Clapboard?


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Getting ready to paint exterior clapboard on house and need to learn about caulking gaps between clapboard peices. I've heard several different thoughts from seal the verticle gaps between pieces to leave open for breathability. Gaps are 1/8 - 1/4 inch wide. My concern is if not sealed will weather enter and cause damage long term? Any professional advice? Thanks

Depends on what you're painting with to some extent. First house I ever owned I painted with Glidden Gel-Flo. At the time a fairly decent quality oil based enamel. I also proceeded to seal up and caulk anything that looked like it could possibly let moisture in. A year and a half later, I was repainting over the bathroom and the kitchen. What I had failed to consider was air movement behind the clapboard to allow for moisture to escape. Humidity from the kitchen and bath simply moved through the wood and pushed the paint off.
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Old 06-29-2011, 06:28 PM   #8
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Caulking between Clapboard?


We don't caulk under the clapboards. The substrate needs to breath and oisture needs to be able to escape. Only if there are vents or wedges in the clapboard would I caulk under them.
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Old 06-29-2011, 06:54 PM   #9
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Caulking between Clapboard?


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Getting ready to paint exterior clapboard on house and need to learn about caulking gaps between clapboard peices. I've heard several different thoughts from seal the verticle gaps between pieces to leave open for breathability. Gaps are 1/8 - 1/4 inch wide. My concern is if not sealed will weather enter and cause damage long term? Any professional advice? Thanks
Yes, caulk the vertical gaps (butt joints) of your wood or FC siding.
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Old 02-23-2015, 03:44 PM   #10
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Caulking between Clapboard?


My builder friend, a guy who has been in the trade for nearly 40 years, took me outside today and showed me WHY NOT TO CAULK when your old house (mine is 1904) has "beveled siding" aka clapboard.

Our painter went crazy with the caulk, the job was beautifully done. The new paint is all on the East side of the house and gets full sun from sunrise until noon. Guess what? Not even six months later and this old house is telling us it HATES the caulk. Looks terrible, with the caulking all cracked and even a few old boards are cracking now, too. Sun/moisture causes the wood to expand and contract. The caulking refuses to budge and that means trouble.

The painter is a top-notch painter, known him 25 years. But guess what? His insistence on caulking means the house cannot BREATHE! Plus rain will run down and collect at the bottom of the window corners, because he caulked all that as well. Hello, wood rot and mold. Now the caulking has to be removed (a hellish job!) and all on my dime.

I visited this site as part of my "evidence-gathering, " since my painter just won't listen to us about knocking it off with all the caulking! The house is telling us to stop, you can see that plain as day.

There's a reason this old house of mine was a-okay for over 100 years. Now we goofed up and she needs a ton of extra TLC and no more sealing up her "lungs." DO NOT CAULK!
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Old 02-23-2015, 04:56 PM   #11
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Caulking between Clapboard?


Caulk is not going to keep the house from breathing. When siding is new it typically is a tight joint between boards. No breathing issues then. And I certainly hope we aren't replying on gaps in out wood for our house to breath.
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Old 02-23-2015, 05:16 PM   #12
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Caulking between Clapboard?


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Originally Posted by Matthewt1970
Caulk is not going to keep the house from breathing. When siding is new it typically is a tight joint between boards. No breathing issues then. And I certainly hope we aren't replying on gaps in out wood for our house to breath.
Yeah, but old houses are different than new houses. They didn't use vapor barriers, etc in the old days. And most old houses already have so many coats of paint that the permeability has dropped to near zero anyway, caulking them up tight can tip the scales to a peeling disaster.
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Old 02-23-2015, 05:47 PM   #13
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Caulking between Clapboard?


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Yeah, but old houses are different than new houses. They didn't use vapor barriers, etc in the old days. And most old houses already have so many coats of paint that the permeability has dropped to near zero anyway, caulking them up tight can tip the scales to a peeling disaster.
But even old houses had new siding at one point.
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Old 02-24-2015, 03:53 AM   #14
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Caulking between Clapboard?


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But even old houses had new siding at one point.
mine did (does) not, nor do 90% of any old houses I have ever painted

maybe it depends on location?
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Old 02-24-2015, 11:26 AM   #15
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Caulking between Clapboard?


We do not caulk under clap boards where they over lap each other, but we do caulk where all trim meets siding, as needed, windows/doors etc and at the but joints if they have larger gaps. I've seen first hand, especially on older homes that have been sealed up/everything has been caulked by previous painters and eventually the paint fails a lot sooner then it should, along with other issues.

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