Condo Windows Leak Like Sieves - Help!


Old 10-27-13, 03:52 PM
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Condo Windows Leak Like Sieves - Help!

Hi there ... Recently bought a condo, my first, and I knew the old single-pane historic district windows would need replacing eventually but I did not expect them to be SUCH air-leak factories. Storm windows are already installed, but I'm not sure of their quality.

What especially concerns me is that not only do the windows leak all around the frame but the walls on both sides of the frame are cold and feel hollow -- this suggests that there is no insulation at all in there and even if I can caulk/weatherstrip the windows effectively, the walls will still be a problem. The side of the condo is concrete and brick, so spray-in insulation from the outside isn't an option, and I don't have the money to pay for someone to rip up the wall and put in new foam brick insulation from the inside. Can anyone advise on short-term fixes that I can do myself? Is it particularly important to reseal the glass to the frame if it looks shaky?

Thanks in advance for your help. Building dates to 1890, renovated in 1984, if that helps. Windows are sash, single-pane, with wide bay-type sills (that also absorb the cold).
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Old 10-27-13, 04:18 PM
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The best advice I could give is to spend a couple bucks on a latex painter's caulk, and caulk the outside perimeter of the trim, and any gaps on the inside perimeter of the trim. Also, Dap makes a caulk called peel-n-stick that is a temporary sealant that works well to seal the edges of the sash temporarily (wintertime) or you might get some rope caulking that can be pushed into place to seal the edges of the sash. The window obviously won't open but who opens the windows when it's cold anyway. (besides my neighbor who is too lazy to go outside to smoke).

Make sure your storm windows are closed. I can't believe the number of people who complain about cold windows and who leave their storm windows up. What good is that?

If air is coming around the single pane glass on your interior sashes, the glass needs to be reglazed. This is done from the outside. You would need to remove the storm window screen and sashes if you wanted to do this in place. Window glazing comes in tubs of various sizes, and you apply it with a glaziers knife. If you need to do that I'm sure we have an old thread somewhere that we could find and point you toward.

If the sashes still have pulleys and counterweights, you can't really insulate the weight cavities without undertaking a real nightmare of a job (removing trim, enclosing the rope and weights in PVC pipe, etc). So the best thing you can do is try to air seal with caulking, both inside and out.
Old 10-27-13, 04:28 PM
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Thanks, that's really helpful. Just picked up some Dap Peel-and-Stick this morning, actually, though it looks like I'll need a caulking gun to apply it? (If it's not painfully obvious, this is my first house and first DIY foray, haha) Would you recommend putting the Peel-and-Stick on the sides of the window, too, or just the sash? Agreed, I don't need to open the windows till it gets warmer, especially since I have a well-insulated patio door.

Storm windows are definitely up, but I appreciate your point.

For the reglazing and the general window questions, do you think it'd be worth it to get a quote on a contracting job in case it's much cheaper than I think it'll be? (or in case they have financing?)
Old 10-27-13, 06:37 PM
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With a picture it may help to come up with some even better ideas.
Just adding some shrunk fit plastic film will stop all the leaks on the whole window.
Any Box store, hardware, even Wal-Mart will have them.
Window Film Insulation, Window Film, Window Insulation Film, 3m Window Film
Old 11-03-13, 03:07 AM
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How are you going to deal with the lack of insulation problem? Now, that you have multiple problems instead of just a single leak, it might be a good time to do it right an insulate. Yes, remove and repair drywall and inspect around windows behind the drywall. This way you could also look for and better seal in other leaks around that window. Yes, it is a little more expensive, but you also get to fix your insulation issue. Plus, what happens if you go through all the time and expense of just fixing the sashes and caulking, and you still have that window leaking? Then, you just have to spend more time money to fix it.

I'd seriously consider removing and repairing the drywall. You get the best inspection and can truly know what other things could be causing that leak. After all, you did say the window is leaking significantly and it is a old home.

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