Q: My windows are leaking—what do I do?

A: This is a common question this time of year. Not an easy one to answer. It’s either a product failure or improper installation. To determine which—it’s a process of elimination. I would suggest starting with the window product first.

Look for visible signs like a broken weld in the corner, a crack in the sill or mainframe, nail protrusions and is the window level and or square (could be buckling). Next check out the operation of the product. Does the window shut without resistance? Is there any exposed weather stripping when the window is shut?

If you can’t find the source of water intrusion from the product the next step is to check the installation.

Caulking around the window is required to honor the window manufactures warranty. When the window is installed it is caulked. Caulking must be maintained. This is a homeowner’s responsibility. What we typically see is this is neglected.

Flashing can be the most important component to a properly installed window. We take great lengths to ensure that the proper flashing products and approved methods are used.

Nothing is worse in our green building endeavors than to have an airtight building envelope and then have water intrusion. To flash and caulk a window properly might cost about $25 per window. This is money well spent.

Vinyl windows typically have some of sort of warranty to the original homeowner. We use PlyGem windows which have a transferrable warranty—this is a big benefit. Let’s say you call out the window manufacturer for a window leak. They will assess the window as described above. Then check for install issues. It’s that simple.

If the windows are installed correctly the manufacturer steps in for the fix. If installed improperly—guess what—the fun begins.

Now you know—that’s the fun I don’t enjoy. If we have a window problem it’s the window—not the install.

Build well and enjoy life.

Please submit questions to jon@quailhomes.com Jon can be reached direct at 360.907.5800. Tune into Green Building with Jon Girod on 1550 a.m. on Saturdays at 9 am. See you next week!