Why Are My Windows Leaking?

Depending on the type of window you purchase or install, it’ll eventually leak for one reason or another. Identifying the reason and answering the question “Why?” is much easier to do if you know what to look for as you examine the issue. Below is an overview of why windows leak.

windows leaking

Is It Just Window Condensation?

Before you start to panic about your windows leaking, it would be wise to first determine whether it’s just condensation.

What causes condensation to occur on your windows? During the cold seasons, as temperatures drop, the warm air in your home reaches the cool glass surfaces of your windows.

Several days may pass at the start of each winter before the water vapor levels inside of your home drop low enough to avoid this integral part of the water cycle. Investing in double-paned windows instead of single-pane windows won’t permanently prevent the reappearance of condensation, but it’ll shift the odds in your favor.

You Have High-End Windows, But No Overhangs

Do you have a complex window layout? Perhaps you have a new home and wanted deluxe windows – such as arched, bay or tall openings. Even if you renovate an old home and install these high-caliber windows, it’s essential to ensure you install the sealants and flashing to go along with them. These “bells and whistles” may seem like unnecessary options. However, they’re designed to prevent water from leaking in through the windows.

The most important piece of this puzzle is the standard overhang. In addition to creating shade and draining water from your roof, overhangs play a key role in preventing the wind from driving rainwater into the walls through your windows.

Flashing Was Never Properly Installed

Like the overhangs, many homeowners may overlook the value of flashing when building or renovating a home. The primary focus is shifted towards putting up the siding as quickly and efficiently as possible.

However, before that step is taken, you must properly install the flashing tape. Otherwise, it’s only a matter of time before water finds its way behind the siding and drips behind the edge of your window frame and directly into your walls.

A common misstep taken by inexperienced homeowners and DIYers is to cobble the flashing together when installing it. This exposes the surface, because each individual break creates a new opportunity for water to drip right into your home. If you’ve ever examined a properly installed flashing, you would have noticed that it’s a stretchable, continuous piece instead of patches that fit together like puzzle pieces.

Improper Use of Building Paper

As an alternative for high-quality flashing tape, some construction teams, contractors and DIYers will use house wrap (also referred to as “building paper.”) This is the material that typically covers your wood sheeting. It’s designed to keep the wood sheeting covered and stop water from finding its way behind the siding or bricks.

While it’s true that building paper is strong, durable and can help to protect your home from leakages, it still doesn’t compare to the efficiency of standard house wrap. Standard house wrap is much stronger and offers a superior level of water protection that building paper simply cannot match.

Embrace and Use the Power of Caulk

A solid complement to flashing for added protection and leakage prevention is caulk. You can use caulking to ensure your windows are sealed tightly. HGTV recommends checking your exterior window openings at least twice a year for signs of missing, peeling or damaged caulk.

In those cases, before you rush into reapplying the caulk, take the time to thoroughly remove all signs of damaged caulking first. Clean the window frame thoroughly and double-check to make sure it’s clear before you restart the caulking process.

Pay close attention to the caulked areas during the next rainstorm to make sure it was an appropriate resolution for your leakage problem.

You Have a Faulty Glass Seal

Have you noticed that the water seems to leak inside of your window between the glass panes? If so, you may have a faulty glass seal.

This does not necessarily mean that water is leaking in other places within your home as well. However, it does indicate that the insulation power of your windows may have faded away. Without that insulation, the energy-efficiency of your windows will experience a significant drop.

You May Not Have an Adequate Paint Seal

The common belief is that you should remain cautious when painting the exterior of your home and strive to keep the paint as far away from your windows as possible. As you paint the exterior molding that will secure your window, though, you should overlap the paint slightly onto the glass.

Why? The paint’s continuous membrane creates a type of seal that becomes part of the overall moisture protection plan. This would provide you with an additional line of defense to protect your window from becoming an exposed target for leaking water.

The Window Wasn’t Properly Installed

As referenced above, there are several parts of your home’s overall construction that may lead to the appearance of leaking windows – including flashing, overhangs, siding and seals.

However, another common cause of this issue is the improper installation of the actual window itself. You may have received faulty window parts or even a low-quality design that adds a bend or lean where one isn’t supposed to exist.

Most contractors and window installation experts can quickly identify this issue almost immediately. However, in most cases, a full replacement is required instead of a minor adjustment or realignment.

It May Not Be the Window After All

If water is getting inside your home and all windows are shut tight, it may seem like an unsolved mystery. The solution is much simpler than you think: your window is not the source of the leak – especially if the leak appears near the top of your window instead of the sides or bottom.

In this case, according to Popular Mechanics, the water is likely coming from the siding or roof as it drips down the wall and enters through your window. A telltale sign that you should consider is the presence of stains on the top of your window frame.

Examine and inspect your walls carefully and cautiously for cracks and sealing gaps to identify the work you must do to resolve the issue. The problem of unexplained water leaks may also originate from a faulty box gutter.

What to Do About Your Leaking Window

As referenced above, there are quite a few reasons why your windows may leak. To prevent the danger of water damage and mold from becoming part of this scenario, it’s imperative to act without delay.

You should invest in the services of an expert home improvement contractor or company to inspect the current condition of your windows and accurately identify the exact cause of any moisture problems you may experience.

Don’t hesitate to share as much information about the leakages with the expert as possible. Be sure to mention the duration of the leakage if you’ve attempted to stop it yourself and the steps you have taken as well as the weather conditions outside whenever the window starts to leak.

Vinyl windows are less likely to experience leaking. If you need replacement windows, get Feldco vinyl windows – they’re sure to look great, be energy efficient and won’t leak. Get a free quote now and see why over 350,000 homeowners have trusted Feldco.

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