What to Do with a Leaking Window

Inevitably, as a homeowner, you will eventually encounter some minor repairs in your home. The areas of the home that have the shortest lifespan are those that are exposed to the weather. Constant exposure to humidity, moisture and extreme temperature changes can severely affect the essential components of your home. Leaking windows are common, and they make it difficult for you to determine the nature of the problem you are facing.

leaking window

A potential leak in your windows can appear in several ways, and each will require a different solution. Having the right knowledge and skills may help you repair your present structure. However, sometimes, you may need to overhaul the whole window. Here is everything you need to know about leaking windows and how to fix them.

Causes of Leaking Windows

Your windows may leak for several reasons. Read on to learn more.

Poor Installation

No matter how beautiful or energy efficient your window is, if it was installed incorrectly, your investment goes down the drain. This factor can cause more problems for you in the long run.

The most common installation blunders include breaks or poor installation of the flashing. Another cause is using house wrap or building paper instead of specially designed window flashing. Doing this allows the water to seep into the paper and into the area surrounding the window.

Windows That Are Not Level or Plumb

This is the most common window installation problem. A poorly leveled window will eventually collect water and allow it to accumulate. However, you can easily detect this issue by placing a level on your window to determine whether it was properly installed.

Poor Glass Seal

Leaks inside your window between the glass panes signify that you have a bad glass seal. This doesn’t always mean that the water is leaking into your house. It means that the window has lost its insulating gas. This causes your windows to be less energy efficient than they were when they were new.

Unsecured Caulking

If caulking is broken or missing at the window seams and flange, water may as well build up on your windows.

Defective Products

Although a less common cause of window leaks, never disregard defective products. The manufacturing process or handling of the product during installation or shipping can cause this problem.

To find out whether the leak is due to a defective product, look at its color. A clear color shows that the leak came from any area in the window and not the wall components or window frame.

No Paint Seal

One clever tip to make sure your windows are sealed properly is to do a paint seal. You can do this by slightly overlapping the paint onto the glass. Ensure it is done “slightly” since we don’t prefer paint on our windows.

This may surprise you, but the continuous paint membrane from the molding to the glass sets up a seal. This is one of the more uncommon moisture protection strategies; professional painters understand it and are already using it.

Effects of Leaking Windows

Extra water seeping into your home is not a good look. The first disadvantage of leaking windows is the pools of water and the condensation on the glass. If the moisture persists for a while and a little warmth develops, mold will grow.

mold around a window

Mold appears as a discoloration on the window surface and the surrounding structure. A leak that’s significant enough will allow the mold to grow even in the wall crevices. Mold is a health hazard, so you need to fix this problem ASAP.

Too much moisture can also harm the structures surrounding the windows, especially if they’re made of wood. This effect can appear as warping or buckling. You can also discover the paint forming bubbles and peeling.

How to Fix Leaking Windows

Once you discover that you have an issue with window leaks, you need to do a few things to fix the problem.

Reapply the Caulking

One of the easiest ways to fix a leaking window is to reapply the caulking around the window. First, remove the old, dried out caulk. You can do this using a putty knife. Take a new caulk tube and puncture a hole at the tip at an angle.

Make the hole the same width as the gap you will fill with fresh caulk. Apply the caulk to the window’s edges, then clean and smooth out any excess caulk. Professionals recommend applying caulk outside in low humidity conditions and when the temperature is above 45 degrees.

Re-glaze Single Pane Windows

If your windows are old and single-paned, reapply the putty that secures the glass. First, remove the old and dried out putty. Also, remove the glass and clean the area in which it will be secured.

Place the glass on a layer of latex caulk. Set glazing areas into the wood. Then, cover the area surrounding the glass with a thick layer of glazing compound. Finally, use the putty knife to make the compound smooth, then clean up.

Replace the Window

If you don’t have the time to fix your leaking windows, or if you’re not a DIY person, replace your window entirely. Although the initial cost to replace a window is greater, a new window will provide you better energy savings.

Contact a professional to do a double-pane installation for you. You can then sit back and let the contractor address your window leaks, and eventually, you will save lots of cash on your heating and cooling bills.

Now that you know the causes of leaking windows and how to fix them, you can make better decisions in your home to solve problems with leaking windows. Despite the solution you choose, dealing with window leaks as soon as possible will reduce your utility bills, reduce the damage to your home, and comfort you even during extreme weather.

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