Caulking and Sealing – the Basics to a High Performing Home

The American Institute of Building Design (AIBD) encourages the design and building of High Performance Homes. The AIBD High Performance Homes Team is creating a series of blogs that guide you as the designer or consumer in good practices for building high-performing homes. 

Contrary to the belief that a high-performing home or building science is expensive and unattainable to the general consumer, many basic practices are available that can achieve a better performance for your home. Many uncomplicated techniques in construction can make a huge difference in the performance of your home.

Consider sealing and caulking as a basic practice.

There are a few simple steps to assure a good energy efficient home is to seal your home properly. There are many ways to seal your home. This article focuses on the simplest approach.

The first thing to do is to visit the home when the framing is completed and the Sub-Siding has been applied. Look for evidence of daylight between studs, sill plates at the top of the foundation and where structural beams are mounted in the exterior walls. If daylight is visible add sealants filling the gaps. 

Look for interior penetrations between floors at electrical & plumbing paths. Where penetrations exist apply an expanding foam to fill the gaps.

After your home has been drywalled, walk around it and look for gaps and holes in any of the insulated and exterior walls, floors, and ceilings. Particularly examine openings around windows and doors. Check where drywall joints occur on the same exterior insulated walls and ceilings. 

Another area to inspect is the mechanical ductwork and floor/ceiling boots that pass through the floor or roof systems. The ceiling openings require sealing the drywall opening before insulation. The Floor diffuser boots can be sealed with a simple bead of sealant. These are often missed. Sealing these locations will help keeping air in the spaces as required.

Remember that the smallest openings can create huge damage to your home, even in a short period of time. A 1-inch square hole can take in 14 pints of water in a two-week period. Moisture entrapment in walls can become very problematic. All areas that you discover to have wholes or gaps should be caulked and sealed.

 See a sample of caulking and sealing joints, where potential wholes and gaps can occur, in the referenced image. Caulking and sealing these areas, even if they look tight, is good construction practice and highly recommended as a basic practice in the process of designing and building a high-performance home.

The High Performance Homes Team strives to be the resource for designers, builders and consumers in the quest to design and build energy efficient, comfortable, and environmentally safe homes. If you would like to be a part of the AIBD High Performance Homes Team, contact AIBD at for more information.

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