More than just leaky windows


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Old 04-24-10, 05:04 PM
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More than just leaky windows

Water steadily streams into all of our windows when it rains. When the wind blows against the house the water pours in like a river.

We have to put large bath towels in the window sill to soak up all the water.

Background:
  • The windows appear to be fairly new thermal windows.
  • They were installed by a previous homeowner
  • I continually maintain our gutters and caulking on the outside of the windows
  • It seems most of the water comes in from side ridges where the window slides up and down

How do we stop the water from leaking into our house every time it rains?

I can post pictures if it would help to get a better visual.

We are welcome to your expertise!
 
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Old 04-24-10, 05:20 PM
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Are they wrapped in aluminum on the outside?
I think this is going to be a case were pictures won't help since if you have to ask, then there must not be any visual indication. But definitely post em anyway.

I think your windows are shimmed into a larger opening, like they should be, but the gap is covered for aesthetics and not weather sealed.

But I don't know why the leaking is so bad so pics are good.

If your windows are wrapped in aluminum fascia, try pressing against the inside surfaces where they meet the window structure to see if there is any give.
Are there screws or holes in the part of the window you are talking about? Not that there should be water even getting to that point.
 
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Old 04-24-10, 06:23 PM
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I don't think they are wrapped in aluminum. There is no give when I press the inside. No screws are visible.

Because this is happening on every window, I think water is coming in through the screen (facing the outside) and filling up the base of the window. The water then finds its way out through joints and seams.

We never had this problem at our old home. How does everyone else avoid this problem.

Also, we keep our windows closed when it rains.

Here are some pics but I don't know how much they will help:



 
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Old 04-25-10, 09:31 AM
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There should bw weep holes in the screen track that will allow water to drain below the screen. Often these will have weather stripping and can clog. Try finding the weep holes and clean them out.
 
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Old 04-25-10, 12:35 PM
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Progress is being made but very little. I was able to unclog the weepholes and add a couple more smaller ones. Our front bay window didn't have any weep holes. I drilled a couple small ones and water began to stream out.








We poured two full glasses of water in the window plate and some water began to stream through outside weepholes but not anything close to two full cups.



I think I know what the problem is. Look at the following two pictures. There is probably a good two inches beneath the actual window that is hollow. You can see the ridge gaps on the side of the window. I looked at my parents windows this morning and the bottom of the window enclosure was flat with the window frame, unlike our windows where it is not flat with the window frame.





See if your windows have the track gap like ours.




Water is getting in here and leaking into our plaster walls. This is happening on all but one or two windows. Most of the water is not leaking out of the weep holes.



Is there a way to block the gaps with vinyl? To me is seems the wrong size windows were installed. I wonder if just the bottom plates can be re-done instead of having to buy and install all new windows?
 
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Old 04-25-10, 12:55 PM
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I've never seen widows like that. Its like they have extra interior sills installed or something? The one on the left of your second picture looks more normal.

From the amount and multiple colors of caulk it looks like its been bandaided for years. Sorry if thats all your work...but you have to remove old caulk before you put on new. It even looks like the original weepholes may have been caulked over? I've also never seen that type of screen with tension springs at the bottom...only the top. And is the screen caulked solid to the window frame on the outside?

The first thing you are going to need to do is start cleaning off all that caulk and make sure the window itself is structurally and mechanically sound.
 
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Old 04-25-10, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by n2learning
See if your windows have the track gap like ours.
Not sure what brand I have.

bottom:



and top
 
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Old 04-25-10, 06:33 PM
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Your're right, the caulk job is pretty pathetic on this window. Someone from a different site thinks that my windows were not flashed.

Do you know how I can tell if my windows were flashed?
 
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Old 04-26-10, 12:42 PM
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I may have found the problem.

I removed a strip of vinyl that the screen was resting on. Now I can see two rectangular 'weep holes'. I poured a cup of water in this area and I could see the water running on the outside of the window through the exterior circular holes.



Here is a closeup from a window before I took out the screen track:




Now here is what it looks like with the track removed. Notice the rectangle whole. Water was never able to drain through these holes with the track on. Instead the water worked itself under the window and through the side tracks, and of course eventually draining down our sill and in our walls.



What are your thoughts about removing this piece, did I jack things up? It seems logical that this piece should be removed.
 
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Old 04-26-10, 04:51 PM
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It may have been installed backwards..thick side to the outside maybe?

Cleaning the sills and ensuring the holes are clear is a requirement.

I still think the screens may be upside down?
 
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Old 04-26-10, 07:10 PM
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Not positive but I think those little metal loops at the bottom of the screen are there so water can flow out beneath the screen.

If they weren't there then water could be trapped behind the screen.

Here's what I am going to do:
1) remove the thin track piece that the screen was resting on. Do this on all the windows.
2) thoroughly clean the sills and try to clean beneath that channel piece. I was hoping the darn thing would pop out.
3) Strip the old caulk and re-do. I read that one shouldn't caulk at the bottom of the exterior window. Makes sense. I need as many outlets for water to get out.

I won't know if any of this works until the next rain storm.
 
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Old 04-27-10, 05:23 PM
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No Vic, the windows are not installed backwards.

n2learning, those two metal pieces on the screen frame are the tensioners to keep the screens in the frame.

Now to your problem. 'When it rains the water pours in'. That's a window leak on the outside. (Most of your pics are interior and don't show us anything but how ugly the installation was done!) Look at the caulking between the vinyl trim pieces and the bricks on all 4 sides,at the joint between the window frame and the vinyl trim on the sides and top, and at the joint across the bottom where the window frame sits on the sill adapter. You're probably going to have to remove ALL of the original caulking and put in your own. You'll need a really good caulking, like Vulkem, that will adhere to both the vinyl and the bricks and remain flexible. Wait until the bricks are TOTALLY dry. (I would wait until it hasn't rained for 3 or 4 weeks!)

Once you have the old caulking off, clean the vinyl with acetone or MEK on a clean white rag. Don't use anything (like laquer thinner) that will leave a film on the vinyl.
 
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Old 04-27-10, 05:34 PM
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Hey Lefty...I didn't say the windows were backwards, I meant the vinyl strip that was pulled out in pic 2 of the last post. I was talking about the screens mostly.....just that normally the spring tensioners on the screens are where they can't be seen. All the ones I've seen "normally" have the springs at the top or side where they are hidden from both inside and outside. And the pull tabs are not in the middle at the joining rail (?). See the pic in post 3.

btw...how come none of you WA state guys gave me any travel info a few weeks back...lol. J/K
 
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Old 05-01-10, 08:45 AM
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We had a very heavy storm come through last night and no leaks came through any of the windows!

The track piece that was blocking the weep holes should have been installed on top of the screen, not on the bottom of the screen.

Now when water comes in it filters directly through the weep holes and through the exterior holes directly outside. Unfortunately, such a little mistake caused years of water damage.

A thorough exterior caulk is still in order.
 
 

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