A window exists so you can appreciate a view of the outdoors – and maybe let a little fresh air in, when the weather is agreeable. It should never let bad weather in without your consent. Unfortunately, a leaky window does not follow this principle.
What makes a window leak? It may be the passage of time that causes certain sealing compounds to degrade. It may be heavy usage which wears down key parts. It may even be improper window installation (something we do not tolerate here at Angell’s Construction).
More often than not, you can diagnose the problem just by observing how the window is leaking. This is very helpful, as it expedites the repair or replacement process, which in turn reduces the chance of damage from mold, mildew, rot, and potential foundation issues.
Let’s take a look at the most common types of window leaks and how to fix them!
Window Leaks From the Top
If your window is leaking from the top, that likely means whoever installed it made a mistake. They may have installed the flashing incorrectly or omitted it altogether. The builder may also have done an inadequate job installing your home’s water-resistive barrier, thus permitting water to run all the way down to the seam just above the window.
Fixing a window with a leaky top can become a very time-consuming process. It involves removing the home’s siding to check the conditions of the flashing and water-resistive barrier and then making any necessary repairs to them. We do not recommend that a layman attempt so complex an operation!
Window Leaks From the Bottom
If water is leaking through the bottom of your window, the culprit may be clogged weep holes. A length of wire is typically all you need to clear these holes so they can effectively drain rainwater once more.
If the weep holes are unobstructed, then the leak may result from the window sill or its sill pan. If either of these features is sloped in such a way that does not allow water to drain freely away from the house, reinstallation of the entire window may be necessary.
Window Leaks From the Sides
Not all window leaks coming from the top or the bottom necessarily indicate the problems detailed above. These leaks – as well as those which originate from around the other sides – may simply result when the sealant has cracked or dried out with age. Preventing rainwater from infiltrating your home in this situation is mercifully easy. Just remove the old caulk and replace it with a fresh application. You can enjoy dry windows again for less than $10!
Window Apparently Leaks in Otherwise Dry Conditions
Is water accumulating on your window glass even when it is not raining or thawing outside? The good news is that your window is not leaking – it is merely accumulating condensation. The bad news is that condensation can still cause damage to your home!
The location of the condensation indicates the source of the problem. If condensation is gathering on the interior of the glass, then there is too much moisture inside your home. You may take any number of measures to address this problem, including:
Covering pots and turning on your stove’s hood vent while cooking
Turning down your humidifier
Installing weather stripping
Turning on your ceiling fan
Operating a dehumidifier
Installing storm windows
Raising your thermostat
Removing potted plants
Opening your windows
Taking colder showers
If condensation is gathering on the exterior of the glass, that really poses no threat to your home. Your window is just colder than the dew point, and the problem will correct itself as the day wears on. (An application of Rain-X can also ward off exterior window condensation.)
If condensation is accumulating between the panes of a double-pane window, that likely means (A) the seal between the panes has failed, or (B) the desiccant inside of the window has become saturated with moisture. Once you have made certain the condensation isn’t actually on the exterior of the window, you will have to replace the panes at best – or replace the entire window, at worst.
If you live in east-central Minnesota and would like a professional contractor to make all of your window leaks go away for good, then we welcome you to contact Angell’s Construction today. As the new construction, remodeling, and storm damage repair specialists, we are also thoroughly experienced when it comes to fixing windows!