Gap in window letting air in


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Old 11-06-13, 11:24 AM
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Gap in window letting air in

My wife and I had our house built this summer by a home builder. So we have noticed a gap between our window and the window sill? inside of our house. I sent pictures to our builder and said we can feel cold air coming in that area. It's the only window that we notice this on. I put a thermometer by that part of the window over lunch. It was at 65 degrees when I put it there and when I checked it 5 minutes later it was at 56 degrees. This is his response to the pictures and my question. I am going to put the thermometer by another window later today and see if the same thing happens. Is this normal?

"The gap between the window and the casing is normal. If this were to be sealed up you would get condensation build up between your walls.

Alan had a homeowner a year back use caulking to seal this and later complained about water dripping above the window. This happened during the most dry time of the summer with zero rain. And, there were no water lines or drains ran in that wall. What happened was the condensation from the cool to the heat was building up in the walls. Somewhat similar to a cold can on a hot day. With this area sealed there is nowhere for that moisture to go to. We take all the precautions installing windows, but there is still no way to not have them be cooler in the winter months. Even in our own houses we notice this.?
 
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Old 11-06-13, 12:53 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

I'm not a window or insulation expert but I've painted a lot of new homes and I always caulked the window frame to the wood - it just looks better that way. I would assume if there was a problem with caulking it, someone would have complained and told me. The window and insulation guys should be along shortly with more/better advice for you.
 
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Old 11-06-13, 01:42 PM
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Caulk or no caulk should not make a difference. The drafty window is caused by lack of insulation between the framing and the window under the drywall. I certainly is possible that the builder overlooked this one window during the build. I'd also be curious if window wrap was used to help water sheet away during a storm as this would provide an additional screen against drafts.

Can you provide additional pictures of the inside of the window from further back, and a picture of the window from the outside.
 
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Old 11-06-13, 03:54 PM
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Have to chuckle when a builder tries to BS his way through problems. I would agree with Czizzi completely... and if a window leaks from caulking the inside perimeter, I will eat my shorts.

If it was me, I would insist he caulk the snot out of the perimeter of the windows and then install a trim (baseshoe or similar) all around the drywall-window joint, and then seal the edges of the trim again with a very fine bead of painters caulk before painting it.
 
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Old 11-06-13, 06:59 PM
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I sent pictures to our builder and said we can feel cold air coming in that area.
If you feel a *draft* around the window then that indicates to me they didn't seal/insulate between the window and rough frame. Around these parts it's standard practice to use spray foam around windows and doors.


"The gap between the window and the casing is normal. If this were to be sealed up you would get condensation build up between your walls.
Interesting responce. Actually the opposite would occur.
If that area is open to behind the drywall there is warm moist air from the living space being able to contact the cooler side and would condense especially if there a draft from a poor seal.
In other words ... condensation is sure to happen with the way it currently is and won't prevent condensation from occuring.
 
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Old 11-06-13, 07:55 PM
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What type siding do you have?
If it's vinyl remove a piece enough to see if they even used some form of window tape.
When I install a new construction window there caulking behind the nailing fin.
Once it's nailed in place the whole nailing fin gets taped.
There just no way water or air is going to get in.
I have never once installed a window and not caulked on the inside. 40 years and hundreds of windows and never any condensation.
What happens on a hot day and the air hits your glass with ice in it, it condenses.
His silly a** excuse was probably caused by his not installing the window correctly.
 
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Old 11-08-13, 05:57 AM
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Here are a couple more pictures. Two of them are pictures of the corner because there is a gap between the vinyl siding and the plywood(I'm assuming) where air and water can get in. All of the windows are like this so I'm not sure if this is normal. I haven't had the chance to pull a piece of siding off. It is vinyl siding. I'm not sure how I would exactly pull a piece off properly either. I will pull a piece off today if someone can give me some directions. I wrote back to him Wednesday about putting the thermometer in the window and have not heard back from him yet. I will let you know what he says. Thanks for the help!
 
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Old 11-08-13, 06:30 AM
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Those pictures look normal... nothing wrong with the siding. But to inspect the window installation. you would need to remove some siding. Many posts on this topic... search for siding unlock or malco sideswiper and you will probably find some of them.
 
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Old 11-08-13, 06:37 AM
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Thank you XSleeper. I will try to find something on youtube today and try it out.
 
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Old 11-08-13, 08:22 AM
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Those gaps on the outside have to be there for the siding to have room to expand, if not it would buckle when it got warmed by the sun.
I sometimes just use a flat bar to pop siding off. Just go to the middle of the section and put the curled part of the bar up under where the two pieces join and pry it out.
How to Use a Zip Tool - Vinyl Siding Removal Tool
 
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Old 11-08-13, 08:47 AM
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Just curious, but shouldn't the builder be the one to come out and pull out the siding to check it out? Why do you have to do this, if the house isn't even a year old? Seems the house should still have some sort of warranty on it. If you damage something, that might get voided.
 
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Old 11-08-13, 03:14 PM
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shouldn't the builder be the one to come out and pull out the siding to check it out?
Yes, he should - but he is not getting any response from the builder and is asking for our suggestions. Hopefully, we can give him some ammo to go after the builder to repair this window. Need to see how it is sealed under the siding. Probably only have to pull back one piece of siding at this time to we can get a look under it.

Note to OP, if it is cold outside, be gentle on the siding as it may be brittle. If a nice day, the siding will bend without a problem.
 
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Old 11-11-13, 03:44 PM
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Ok, I still have not had the chance to tear off some siding since it has been very cold here lately and even snowed today. We also noticed today that there is cold air coming out of a good amount of outlets and switches on the outside walls in our great room. I will be sending another email tonight since I have not heard back from them in 5-6 days. Thank you everyone for the help. I don't know much about stuff like this so I just need someone to point some things out so I can get this builder back here since we have a 1 year warranty. Thanks again!
 
 

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