Rain will often find its way into a wall if the exterior light fixture is not properly caulked. Therefore, proper caulking will help prevent water from entering into a wall; helping prevent damage and mold.
The majority of homes do not have proper sealing at the exterior wall light fixtures, yet it is so easy to do. Home owners and buyers should take a couple of minutes and walk around the outside of their home to see if all the lights are well caulked or sealed.
If a fixture is not sealed
When you come across a light fixture that is not well sealed you should:
- If no caulking, then caulk around the fixture.
- If there is caulking and it has deteriorated, then remove the old caulking and replace it with new.
- If the fixture has a rubber or neoprene seal or gasket, check to see if it has slipped out of place. If so try to re-position it. If that is not possible, then replace it or caulk the area to seal it.
Tip – only caulk 3 sides
Most contractors recommend only caulking the top and two sides. They leave the bottom side open, thinking that if some moisture does get in, that it will run out the bottom area, verses being trapped and entering the wall.
If you discover a unsealed fixture – do this quick check for mold and mildew
Check around the light area for mold or mildew evidence. Look for greenish or dark discoloration that may indicate that mold or mildew exist.
Check the interior areas behind the light fixture
Check the interior wall opposite the fixture for stains or odors. Look both at the wall and the baseboard. When moisture enters a wall, the insulation may get wet and overtime wood framing members may deteriorate or rot. Remember, the dark hidden wall cavities provide a friendly environment for mold to grow and go unnoticed for long periods of time.
Keeping exterior light fixtures sealed is a basic maintenance procedure that every homeowner should do. It is easy and inexpensive. Failure to do so may occasionally turn into a repair project or mold or mildew issue.