vinyl window track edge was caulked - remedy

homeboundJanuary 21, 2011

I hope someone can visualize this issue.

I have a new client with high-end home (couple year old home) and the following problem: for each window (recessed on the interior), the interior joint where the drywall meets the vinyl track was caulked by the homebuilder's painters. Since that track moves with the opening of the window, the caulk is cracking and that would continue to happen. They would like a remedy so that the cracking is solved and it looks very good. I think the caulk should be removed, but I can see that the hairline joint will not be acceptable to them, so I am considering the removal of the caulk, then adding a very slim piece of trim molding butted up against each track (which protrude about 1/4"). Anybody dealt with this issue? Any other options? Thanks much.

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Out here it's common for painters to use the least expensive caulk often referred to as " painters caulk" similar to the term " builders grade". It is usually latex only caulking. Before trimming, you might try removing the existing caulk and re-caulking with a latex caulk that contains silicone. It's paintable but remains flexible for movement as well as contraction/expansion due to temperature changes.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2011 at 10:39AM
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That sounds like a good idea. I'll give it a try on a couple windows.

As a side note, every time I need to pick up some painter's caulk from HD, there's always the dilemma of whether to get the basic Alex (the cheap one at about a buck and a half) vs. Alex Plus (w/ silicone for flex) costing over $2 (as I recall). So far I'd gone with the "plus" for the extra peace of mind, but still, there always was that itchy temptation to go with basic one.

Thanks for the input.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2011 at 8:37PM
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Alex plus is good and is what I typically use. I find that it shrinks, so I usually make two finer passes rather than one heavy one. You can typically run the second bead after the first has formed a decent skin and you have allowed it to shrink a little, usually after a couple of hours. Your project sounds like a minimal hairline crack, so one pass might do it.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 10:21AM
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If you have the kind of track I think you have, no caulk will work; there needs to be freedom of motion, as the jambs spread apart about 1/8" each time the window moves. The jamb liners are backed by a springy closed-cell foam. The homeowners should have been firmly told "no!" the first time.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 2:41PM
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