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Kitchen window leaked, wet rot everywhere...help!

Kitchen window leaked, wet rot everywhere...help!

Old 09-01-13, 11:01 PM
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Kitchen window leaked, wet rot everywhere...help!

Was making coffee this morning and noticed the counter was wet. Paper towel discovered window seal is leaking.

Outside there is some caulk missing in the corner, both bottom corners actually. Can i just get some simple clear silicon caulk for the outside, gut the inside insulation and spray in expanding foam for air and water tightness? Just moved in here 3 weeks ago, HEAVY rain today and the first since we moved in. Went around checking the place out after and this is the only water leaking in.

Do I need to pull the outside window trim off as well? I am going to open up the bottom peace of trim inside and check to see if water is leaking there also. '

Thanks for the help in advance.
Old 09-02-13, 07:55 AM
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On the exterior of the window, I would look UP at the area around the gutter for a breach in the seal. Make sure the gutter is cleaned and sloped away from the main house wall. Looks like the bottom piece of siding is slightly different that the others above. May need to look to a j-channel with a larger return on the back to give a little extra protection from splash. I doesn't take much to let water in. The top j-channel should also be cut at the end in such a way as to channel water to the outside of the vertical j-channel. The water could be coming in at any point along the top of the window and traveling to the spot you see. Pull the top trim inside to see if you can pin-point where the water is entering.
Old 09-02-13, 02:57 PM
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OMG, that 2nd picture of the gutter and the siding intersection is a disaster. You can see that the gutter is SMASHED into the siding, distorting it. There ought to be a little space between the siding and the endcap of the gutter for one thing. Areas like that are always a problem and are rarely done correctly.

I would guess water is getting in behind the nailing fin of the window, running down the outside of the window (is there wet insulation all the way down?) and pooling in the rough opening where it finds the easiest way in- where you spotted the leak. It's been going on for some time, you just didn't know it. So who is to blame? Siding guy... gutter guy... roofing guy... window guy? Probably all 4, to some extent.

The window has a nailing flange above it, which you can't see cuz it's covered by the aluminum cladding. By today's installation methods, that nailing flange ought to be taped (window flashing tape) to the sheathing so that if there was a leak, it wouldn't leak in at the window... it would leak in somewhere else.

*If* there is housewrap (a WRB) behind the siding, it would overlap the window flashing tape so that the leak would flow over the housewrap, over the window flashing tape and continue down the WRB without ever reaching any bare wood / framing.

The siding j-channel above the window is likely catching a LOT of water and is probably dumping half that water over the left end of the window and the other half is dammed up against the fascia, putting a strain on any attempt that was made to waterproof that corner.

All the exterior caulking that has been done around the j-channel and cladding has probably done more harm than good since it's effectively trapping any water that's behind the siding and keeping it from draining out.

Behind the siding, there needs to be proper detailing of the WRB and corner flashing where the fascia butts into the wall. This is also often done incorrectly.

Where the siding j-channel comes down the roofline, it acts like a miniature gutter, channelling a LOT of water behind the siding where it terminates. This water should always be directed out on top of the siding with flashings that are installed as the siding is applied.... but rarely are. This puts a lot of pressure on the WRB and window tape (if there is any) to perform properly. Anything that is lapped wrong will then be the entry point for water.

There may or may not be a kickout flashing above the gutter (the last piece of wall flashing or step flashing should be the kickout) to kick water away from the house and into the gutter.

The endcap of the gutter may or may not be leaking.

The gutter may or may not be plugged, and if it's plugged, an excessive amount of water could be cascading down the wall at that point as the gutter gets full and overflows.

So that's a lot of things to check. I'd start by completely removing the gutter, then removing 2 rows of the vinyl siding above the window and around the fascia and roof. Look to see if the house has housewrap, whether it is lapped properly, examine where water goes when it flows off the right side of that j-channel that is directly above the window. That should tell you something right there.

Also pull out all the fiberglass insulation on the left side of the window. take off the bottom trim and pull some of that insulation out too, so that it can dry out.
Old 09-06-13, 06:50 PM
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I would pull down gutter first and then remove siding and check for flashing tape. If there is no tape, it would be the first try at fixing the problem. Install 4" grace vycor around window. Run water over the window to see if it still leaks. If it doesn't, replace siding and reinstall gutter 1/2" from siding. Then install A kicker to steer the rain away from the house. Wait for rain and hope it doesn't leak. 50/50 chance.

Don't put the interior together until you have stopped the leak.

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