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Community and Q&A

Caulking with closed cell insulation

Peter Whitman | Posted in Green Building Techniques on

I am building a new home with R30 and R 50 walls and ceilings. We will have 3″ of closed cell in the basement walls.
What are best management practices for caulking?
Thanks in advance.
Peter Whitman

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Replies

  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    Peter,
    I'm sorry, but I don't understand your question. I'm guessing that you want to ask something like "Is it possible to build a house without caulk?"

    Or maybe "Where should I use caulk?"

    Or maybe "How many tubes of caulk should I buy?"

    Or maybe "Will my tubes of caulk be damaged if I store them in a location subject to freezing?"

    Or maybe "How do I clean my fingers after I use my fingers to smooth a caulked seam?"

    But if you aren't more specific, it's hard to guess what you want to know.

  2. Peter Whitman | | #2

    Sorry for the lack of specificity.
    Is it necessary to caulk the inside and outside of the foundation plate if I am spraying closed cell insulation on the interior framing covering the plate.
    Also, how do I clean my fingers after I use them to smooth a caulked seam?
    Thank you in advance.

  3. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #3

    Peter,
    Q. "Is it necessary to caulk the inside and outside of the foundation plate if I am spraying closed cell insulation on the interior framing covering the plate?"

    A. By "foundation plate," I'm assuming you mean the pressure-treated mudsill. (At least that's what we call it here in New England.)

    If you are building a home with a basement or a crawl space, it's possible to cover the crack between the mudsill and the foundation wall with interior spray foam. However, that's not enough for a good air seal. At a minimum, you want to install foam sill-seal between the foundation and the mudsill at the time when the mudsill is installed. After the house has been framed, providing some weight on the mudsill, it's usually a good idea to caulk this crack on the interior for an improved air seal. Alternatively -- a more expensive but better option -- the crack can be sealed with a high-quality European tape like Siga Wigluv.

    Then, after the caulk or tape is installed, a little spray foam in addition never hurts.

    If you are building a home on a slab foundation, I doubt if you will want to cover the crack between the mudsill and the slab with interior spray foam. In this case, just like the house with a basement, I recommend foam sill seal and (later) caulk.

    Q. "How do I clean my fingers after I use them to smooth a caulked seam?"

    A. Use an old T-shirt dampened with a little water or a damp paper towel.

  4. Peter Whitman | | #4

    Can I use the Siga Wigluv to seal the exterior between the mudsill and top of foundation?
    Thank you for your continued advice.

  5. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #5

    Peter,
    Q. "Can I use the Siga Wigluv to seal the exterior between the mudsill and top of foundation?"

    A. Yes.

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