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Why is it a BAD Idea to Caulk the Gaps in Between Shingle Siding?

Recently I had a client message me with concerns of there being gaps in between the shingle siding on his family’s home, after we had conducted our prep and were well on our way through applying the finish coat.

While he was SUPER complimentary on how hard the crew had worked on things, he was not quite sure if they had properly caulked items that should have been caulked, due to the noticeable gaps in between the shingles on the home’s siding.

Caulking the gaps in between shingle siding may seem like a quick and easy solution to improve the appearance and weatherproofing of your home. However, there are several reasons why it is actually considered a bad idea:

Impaired Ventilation: Shingle siding is designed to allow for proper ventilation, allowing moisture to escape and preventing the buildup of condensation. By caulking the gaps, you disrupt this natural airflow, leading to potential moisture problems such as rot, mold, and mildew. These issues can compromise the structural integrity of your home and even pose health risks.

Trapped Moisture: Shingle siding is designed to shed water and allow it to flow downward. However, if you caulk the gaps, water can become trapped behind the shingles, leading to moisture infiltration. This trapped moisture can cause the shingles to deteriorate prematurely and result in costly repairs or replacements.

Decreased Durability: Shingle siding is intended to expand and contract with temperature changes. By caulking the gaps, you restrict this natural movement, which can lead to warping, buckling, and cracking of the shingles. Ultimately, this compromises the durability and lifespan of your siding, necessitating premature repairs or replacements.
Aesthetic Issues: Caulking the gaps in between shingle siding can create an unnatural and unsightly appearance. Shingles are designed to overlap and create a visually appealing pattern. Applying caulk disrupts this pattern and can make your siding appear disjointed and unattractive. Furthermore, caulk may change color over time, leading to an even more noticeable and unappealing appearance.
Maintenance Challenges: Shingle siding requires periodic maintenance, such as repainting or re-staining. When you caulk the gaps, you create additional obstacles for future maintenance tasks. Removing and reapplying caulk can be time-consuming and difficult, and it may damage the shingles in the process. This can make future maintenance tasks more complicated and costly.
Potential Damage: When it comes time to replace or repair your shingle siding, caulking can cause significant damage and increase the complexity of the project. Removing caulk from between the shingles can be challenging, and it may require the use of harsh chemicals or scraping tools. This process can scratch or gouge the shingles, leading to additional repairs or the need for complete siding replacement.

Caulking the gaps in between shingle siding is generally considered a bad idea due to the negative consequences it can have on ventilation, moisture management, durability, aesthetics, maintenance, and potential damage.

While it may seem like a simple solution, it can result in significant issues and expenses – both short and long term!

If coming across a situation such as this, it is always advisable to consult with a professional who is able to provide expert advice on the best course of action for your specific situation as it relates to shingle siding.

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