9th July 2021
Sealing a home or building can be seen as a slightly overlooked practice in terms of maintenance, but not adopting correct and regular sealing practices could cause several issues, especially in terms of structural damage and energy wastage.
Cracks and gaps can occur anywhere, from the basement to the bedroom, and they can be so small that you don’t even notice them, but they can make a big difference.
According to uSwitch, sealing and draught proofing a building “can save up to £50 — or 10% — on your annual heating bill”¹. As well as this, many experts cite poor ventilation and lack of draught proofing as a leading cause of condensation, damp and even mould.
This can then lead to further issues that don’t just affect the integrity of a home or business. According to the NHS, damp and mould can cause “respiratory problems, respiratory infections, allergies or asthma. Damp and mould can also affect the immune system.”². So, it is vital to make sure that any cracks or gaps are sealed correctly and thoroughly.
As previously mentioned, gaps in sealant can occur anywhere, and it’s important to make sure even the most hidden and tight spaces are sealed before the problem escalates.
Make sure you check regularly in usually forgotten areas, especially those that are usually concealed by furniture, as this is the perfect environment for a crack or gap to worsen while you’re none the wiser.
Other problem areas include Recessed Lighting, Attic Kneewalls and Chimney Shafts, so make sure you have every area covered!
There are plenty of products available that are perfect for all kinds of sealing in different areas around a building.
Liquid Sealants are, according to the Department of Energy, a convenient way to “seal air leaks through cracks, gaps, or joints less than 1-quarter-inch wide between stationary building components and materials.”. This makes them a great way to seal gaps that are extremely small or are in perpendicular areas and corners. Even though the terms “caulk” and “sealant” are used interchangeably, they do have varying qualities that fit specific purposes. The main difference between the two lies in the end result once they have dried down, sealants dry down to a flexible and rubbery finish, whereas caulk dries down to a more solid finish.
The choices when it comes to Caulks and Liquid Sealants is dependent on what sort of space you planned to use it in. In Bathrooms, Kitchens and Windows for example, silicone sealants are the best option, as these sealants act as an excellent water and moisture repellent, making them perfect for these high moisture areas. Caulk on the other hand is a more suitable choice for areas that are prone to expansion and contraction, best used when working with materials such as plasterboard, wood and in other masonry projects.
Weatherstrips are another vital part of the sealing process, these self-adhesive memory foam strips can adapt to the varying structure of gaps in doors and windows and can seal gaps between 2 and 7mm. As the name suggests, Weatherstrips are designed to combat changes in weather, making sure your home or business is protected in those harsh winter months.
These strips are perfect for timber and uPVC doors and windows in particular, so they will more than likely be suitable for your project.
Apart from a simple visual inspection, you can feel around for air leaks that may not be so easy to spot.
This inspection involves holding the back of your hand over any area that you suspect may have an air leak, if you can feel a draught on your hand, it is important to seal this area as soon as possible, before you risk the leak becoming larger and causing more issues.
For spotting any possible air leaks in doors and windows, appropriate testing methods include seeing if you can rattle windows in their frame, or detecting any form of daylight seeping through door or window frames, this can be an indication of a leak.
So, to protect the peace of mind of the occupants of any home or business you’re working on, make sure you know the best practice when it comes to sealants and the sealing process. Whether you’re make a new project completely airtight, or inspecting for air leaks in an existing building, it is important to never neglect this process.