How to Repair Leaking Sidelight Windows

  • 1-3 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-200
What You'll Need
Caulking gun
A putty knife
Foam insulation
A dry cloth or soft brush

Sidelight windows can add various benefits to any structure. They light up the entrance and they add an aesthetic value to the door, distinguishing the house from any other in the neighborhood. However, if the sealing is imperfect, water drops will leak through the sidelight windows into the doorframe. In essence, condensed water drops will characterize the glass panes, especially when the weather conditions are not good.

Step 1 - Inspect the Sidelight Windows

Diagnose the problem by checking for broken glass, as well as the sealant between the glass and the frame—especially on the bottom part. Your repair work will not be efficient unless you know the problem at hand, by checking for the leaking areas of the sidelight windows. If you suspect the sealant is ineffective, bring a lighted candle close to the door. If the wind rushing in blows the frame slightly, your suspicions are confirmed.

Step 2 - Prepare the Surface

Use the putty knife to extract the old sealant around the panes that are leaking. This is done on the outer side of the house. If the sealant was silicone, it will come out in a sticky form. If it is latex, you will get strips of the extract. Do not leave any sealant because the new layer will not hold. Wipe the section with the cloth, or brush it. If you spot water drops between the sidelight windows and the doorframe, wipe them and let the area dry for a while before proceeding

Step 3 - Insulate the Area

Spray the foam insulation evenly on the area you have extracted in a line, from the inner end of the doorframe towards the door handle. If you leave some gaps, they will trap air and moisture, and a future leak will be inevitable. The foam prevents condensed water drops from reaching the frame and leading to rotten wood. Give it half an hour to dry.

Step 4 - Caulking to Seal the Area

Use the caulk gun to insert silicone, starting from one end of the window frame and lining it evenly to avoid cracks or gaps. This substance is ideal because of its durability and efficiency in moisture prevention. Remember, you are working on the outer side of the door. The density of the caulk depends with the size of the space between the pane and the frame. Fill in the corners so that the pane gets support on the frame and does not move about. Next, wet your fingertip and run it over the caulk you have inserted to smoothen it. Wet your finger constantly as you do this. The caulk will have a shiny, wet look. Leave it to dry for at least 20 hours.

Step 5 - Final Touches

Check for any caulk marks on the glass and wipe them off with a cloth dipped in turpentine to get rid of the silicone marks. Confirm that the caulk is dry and has no cracks, because that will result in leaks.