I again re-learned from first-hand experience that an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. How? Two of the windows to my own house leaked because the caulking had gotten old and cracked which caused water to leak in. The water saturated some of the framing wood, caused a lot of mold (in no time at all might I add), and basically ended up with two half walls being replaced to get at the problem. A very expensive lesson to learn again.
For those of you who read this blog regularly, you know that I’ll look at the numbers to really see if the cost of the prevention really outweighed the cost of the repairs. So let’s not waste anymore time and look at them right away.
Since the costs for the repairs can fluctuate quite a bit, I’ll make a worse and best case scenario. In the best case scenario, which luckily pretty much happened for me, you won’t need to replace the actual windows (especially if they’re higher-end windows), much of the framing, any of the flooring, etc. The worse case is that everything is completely water saturated and full of mold. In my particular case, in both rooms only the framing below the windows was saturated with water and mold. The rest of the framing, the flooring, and the windows were all ok. So what’s the total cost? Seeing as I had to rip open two walls, replace some framing, etc., a round number of $1000 for labour and materials is easy to achieve. This could however easily climb to $5,000 – $10,000 if new windows need replacing, if the floor is finished, if the water damage spread to the floor below, etc. So let’s assume a small round number of $2,500. Is the prevention worth $2,500?
I quickly went to Amazon.com and looked at the price of caulking where one tube of GE Silicone II caulking will set you back $6.89. Assuming this price, for $2,500 you can buy 362 tubes of caulking. For a standard sized house, I can’t see anyone using more than 10 tubes of caulking (including windows, doors, vents, etc.). Going further, let’s assume we need to caulk every 3 years (this is aggressive, generally you do it every 4-7 years). Looking at the numbers:
$2,500 / $6.89 = 362 tubes of caulking
362 / 10 tubes per session = 36 caulking sessions
36 caulking session * 3 years in-between each session = 108 years of caulking and leak free windows!
Therefore we could have spent that same money we did on repairs and bought caulking for almost 2 full lifetimes and saved ourselves from all leaks in the future (well at least all leaks due to bad caulking) in our lifetime. So yes, in this case, an ounce of prevention is really truly worth a pound of cure!