water leaking from window frames


  #1  
Old 05-04-05, 05:20 PM
bear00
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water leaking from window frames

Moved into the new house (built in 1991), tearing up carpet to put in hardwood. Had noticed some water stains on the subfloors around the windows - and during the last rainstorm last weekend, water was coming in on the floors near almost all southeast facing windows. Thought it was siding (clapboard) because some of the pieces look in need of replacing. Did the hose test, and was able to get water to come in - appears to be coming from between the wood trim and the edge of the clapboard that touches the frame. Took off the trim inside the house - and can't really see if there is a moisture barrier or some type of tar paper/flashing. Probably not, I'd guess. Should we remove the exterior trim, put in some type of barrier, and replace the trim? Should we use PVC instead of wood (I don't want to do the wood replacement every 10 years.)? Some wood is rotted anyway. BUT - my biggest worry is trying to figure out how long this has been going on, and if there is wood rot. Guess we won't know this until we remove the exterior window trim. What's the deal with wood window frames - shouldn't the builder have taken this extra step to put in the barrier?
 
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Old 05-04-05, 06:38 PM
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It would be a good idea to determine if the windows have nailing fins or not.

I would guess that your windows do have nailing fins, and that the nailing fins have not been flashed properly. Usually, it's the top nailing fin that catches water, and by the time the water gets to the bottom of the rough opening, it runs into the house. But it could also be leaking in the sides.

The first thing to do is take off the exterior window trim, and do some detective work. Water stains, rot, and perhaps some mold will make it obvious where water is sitting and not drying out. Hopefully the house has some form of building paper such as tar paper or tyvek. The bottom and side nailing fins should be installed over the top of your building paper, while the top nailing fin should be under the building paper. Also, your window ought to have a metal dripcap above the top piece of exterior trim. If there is no dripcap, water may also be running behind the trim at this point.

The problem usually is that just taking off the brickmould (often used as exterior window trim) might not give you enough room to use flashing tape to seal the nailing fin to the building paper. But I guess you won't know that until you take off some trim.
 
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Old 05-07-05, 10:10 AM
J
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I agree with ZSleeper. The window was most likely not flashed properly. ASTM E-2112 requires 9" flashing and most window mfr's use this ASTM as a basis for installation. About all that you can do now is remove all of the trim boards, recaulk and apply window flashing tape as wide as you can.
Jim
 
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Old 05-07-05, 10:18 AM
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Wink

Im with XSleeper
your window ought to have a metal dripcap above the top piece of exterior trim. If there is no dripcap, water may also be running behind the trim at this point.
You can make one out of aliminum are go to a sheet metal shop and they can make you one up to fit the top of the windows.

ED
 
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Old 05-09-05, 04:04 AM
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I've wondered how/why so many developments were built with no paper/underlayment behind the exterior siding and no flashings of any kind around windows and doors.

I've noticed it occurs not just in the occasional isolated house, but in whole neighborhoods.
 
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Old 05-16-05, 05:14 AM
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Similar Window Leak

I have a similar problem. I have a window that is leaking from the top into the house. There is a FYPON window header that was caulked (poorly) around the edges were it contacts the vinyl siding. I thought that the previous owners had caulked it up so much that it was causing water to pool behind it with no way to exit the vinyl J-channel (at least I think that's what it's supposed to be. Anyhow, I pulled the FYPON down, and pulled up a piece of the siding...behind it was bare wood sheeting, no flashing, no house wrap, NOTHING.

Can I "retrofit" flashing around this window? If so, what sort of materials will I need?

Thanks
rts
 
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Old 05-16-05, 06:14 PM
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Flashings need to go behind SOMETHING in order to work. Putting a flashing of some sort over your windows would be great if you had something to tuck it under so as to make it waterproof. If there is no housewrap or tarpaper, this is impossible.

You could install a peel-and-stick membrane of some type over the window's nailing fin and onto the sheathing. This might help, but only so long as no water comes down the wall from above the peel-and-stick. It would be a good idea to staple the edges of the membrane to keep it down. That stuff isn't designed to be a stand-alone flashing- it also needs to be covered (flashed) by building paper in order to work effectively. But in your case, that might mean taking the siding off the entire home. What a nightmare.
 
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Old 05-17-05, 09:49 AM
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...But in your case, that might mean taking the siding off the entire home. What a nightmare.
Yikes! Nightmare is right. This is on the 1st floor of a 2 story house so I would have to take a lot of siding off to get tar paper all the way up the entire wall or I would guess there'd be an entry point for water along the edge of the tar paper. The leak is only during driving rains but with a heavy hurricane season predicted, I am expecting the worst.

Thanks. (I just can't believe they didn't use any sort of barrier and didn't flash the windows when they built it. )
 
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Old 05-17-05, 10:46 AM
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When you mention the house is 2 story, that leads me to believe that water is coming in from above. There is one other thing you can do (apart from removing all the siding) that will help keep out some of that water during driving rains.

I imagine that there are windows above the window in question; the one that is leaking. Water is likely running down the house, inside the j-channel of those upper windows, and then getting behind your vinyl siding once the water reaches the bottom of the j-channel. What you need to do is direct this water back out to the outside so that it isn't trapped behind the siding, running down your unprotected sheathing. Here's what to do:

Get a vinyl siding unlock tool and unzip the piece of siding that goes around the bottom of your windows. Measure the distance from the bottom of your window to the bottom edge of the nailing fin on the piece of siding that is below your window. Let's say it's 6". What you then do is cut a piece of sheet metal or tarpaper that is about 24" wide x 9" tall. cut a 3"x12" notch out of one corner so that the tarpaper will go BEHIND the side and bottom j-channels. The bottom portion of the tarpaper should hang over the nailing fin of the piece of siding that is below your window, and be cut off flush. Your siding should then zip right back where it once was.

Do this on each lower corner of your windows (1st and 2nd story) and you will be directing any water that gets in via your j-channels back out by forcing it into the bottom channel of your siding where it can then weep out.

Aside from repapering the entire house, this is the best solution I can offer you.
 
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Old 05-20-05, 10:22 AM
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Thanks, XSleeper. Just so I am clear, the tar paper hangs over the nailing fin of the siding piece but is cut flush to the corner where the nailing fin meets the "top edge" of the siding ? (I'll try to diagram it...)

Nailing fin of siding ....... |_ ...Top edge
The back portion of siding . \ The visible part of siding
 
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Old 05-20-05, 10:43 AM
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Yes. The top edge of a piece of vinyl siding has a slotted nailing fin, and below that is the interlock, which the next piece of siding clips into. Let the tarpaper hang down past that interlock and just score it with a knife. Once you install that next piece of siding, you'll be directing water out the weep holes in the bottom of that piece.
 
 

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