Frustrating Gaps in Vinyl Windows


Old 02-07-11, 11:27 AM
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Frustrating Gaps in Vinyl Windows


Any help would be great. I have searched and searched and am so frustrated I can't find help for my problem.

I have a home that was built in 2004. The windows are vinyl and some of them have significant gaps between the felt "hair like" strips that run down the inside of the window and edge of the window frame. I have read that these "hair like" strips are called window pile. Hopefully I am using the right term. The pile seems to be in great shape so I don't think replacing it is what I want to do but I want to close the gap. It is as if the window isn't large enough for the frame it is in!

If I open the window so it that it swings in ...and wiggle it a bit, I can close the gap on one side but then the other side has a gap. Is there a trick to get this fixed?

If I can't, are there people who can fix this? It seems silly and very depressing actually If my only solution is to replace the windows!

I have tried weather striping but I can't find a solution that allows me to open/close the windows. My wife will not allow me to just seal the window closed. In cases where the top of the window has a gap, I certainly can seal it...because the bottom window won't be able to open at all.

Please help! This is very frustrating to be throwing this money away during the winter and summer!

Thanks in advance,

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Old 02-07-11, 03:05 PM
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Can you use caulking to close the gap?
Old 02-07-11, 03:53 PM
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Then the windows wouldn't open. Is the gap between the window and pile from front to back or side to side? Set a framing square inside the frame and see if they are square all the way down or if they are bowed. Tightening the windows too much will create a gap in the pile, but loosening often will correct it.
Old 02-07-11, 07:51 PM
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Yeah, a lot of the time the installer has tightened the screws through the frame too much, or omitted the shims that would otherwise prevent the frame from distorting.

I would take measurements across the width of the masterframe, and see if it is spread in the middle. Even a 1/16th would be enough to cause a problem but it sounds like your frame may be spread 1/8".
Old 02-22-11, 07:23 AM
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Google the words "adjusting vinyl window jam" and there's lots of site that explain how to do this.
Old 03-08-11, 08:41 AM
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If the gap is too large for caulk then simply place a rubber sealant on the actual sash itself. You will have to remove the window sashes to do this.
Old 01-02-13, 01:43 PM
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Chandler and all,

I apologize for not responding to your messages. I never got an email alerting me of a response to my problem! Well here I am almost a year later still miserable about these windows. My wife and I want to seek the place it is so uncomfortable but I want to see if there is a cost effective way to fix. The answer chandlers question, the gaps are side to side if I understand the question. I can't caulk the windows or they won't work. Again, gap is between the pile on the sash and the frame. They are double hung windows. There isn't an adjustment screw for the windows, I checked that. So I'm assuming the worse case scenario is that I have to hire someone to take out the windows and shim them ... Does this sound right? I heard that is almost as expensive as getting new windows because of the labor!

Is it something I can do myself? Can it be done from inside or outside? I guess I am looking for a way to understand how I can pull the window out and fix. As mentioned before, this is fairly new construction but no warranty or option to go back to builder because im second owner.

Thanks again!
Old 01-02-13, 04:30 PM
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Until you open the sashes and tip the windows down in order to take measurements at the top, middle and bottom, we can't really give you further suggestions. It "sounds" like the masterframe of the window is spread in the center but until you actually measure, we can't really give you very good advice.

If the house is only 4 yrs old, the windows would likely have nailing fins (either behind the siding or behind the trim) and with no pictures or description of the siding and trim we are just guessing at the advice we give. So maybe post some pictures of the exterior if you can.

If the windows are spread in the window, yes it might mean removing the window, which isn't that hard... the hardest part is setting up a decent scaffold to stand and work on. But the windows may not necessarily have to come all the way out- you may simply need to pull the nails in the nailing fin and squeeze the windows back into shape... perhaps shimming them (from the inside) in the middle so that they can't bow out again.

To reshim the windows, the interior trim would need to be removed, and we don't know what you have for interior trim since we can't see it. Do you have casing and wood jambs butting up to the windows or does drywall butt up to the windows, with no casing? (called a drywall return)

Hopefully this will get you going.
Old 01-02-13, 04:51 PM
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Thanks for the reply. I will get some pictures together and post them and get some measurements. Not sure if it helps but attached is a pic I took of the gap. The outside is vinyl siding and I have vinyl trip all along the window. On the inside, the only thing that I can see that is considered trim is a wooden window sill at the bottom with just plain old drywall along the sides and the top.

If this requires me to do the work outside, I am not comfortable doing the work (scafolding would be outside of what I consider my talent to be!)

With this said, how do you even find someone who does this work? Window people only want to sell you windows. I talked to a handy man who told me I might as well get new windows if I hire someone because the labor to fix the problem would probably cost as much as buying new ones and having them installed.
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Old 11-18-14, 08:23 AM
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I know this thread is old, but who cares, that's what the internet is good for, so no complaining! I came across this thread, and learned that that part of the window is called window pile, according to original poster.

I did dabble in replacement window business about a decade ago, very little(not enough to know what pile was obviously) but that gap looks way too big, like windows were not measured properly. The gap I have is 1/3 that size, and it's letting air through.

From now knowing it's called window pile, I was able to find a company **** that sells window pile. Going to take a look at my windows, and see if it is replaceable. It looks like the premium pile can help in my situation

Last edited by Shadeladie; 11-18-14 at 10:57 AM.
Old 12-01-14, 11:45 AM
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Jason - any pointers on where you found premium pile weatherstripping?

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