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n2learning 04-24-2010 09:05 PM

Help with leaky windows
Almost all of our windows leak water in our house when it rains. Water comes in real quick when the wind blows against the house.

We have to sop up the water with bath towels....that's to give you an idea of how much water comes in.

  • Previous homeowners had the windows installed. Not sure who, how and when.
  • Windows appear to be in good shape. I think they are thermal windows.
  • I continually caulk around all of our windows, and make sure the gutters are cleaned.
  • Because this is happening on all of our windows, I believe the rain water is coming through the outside screen and then it puddles up at the base of the window. The water eventually finds its way out through joints and seams. Unfortunately, the water does NOT drain outside the house but inside our house beyond the window sills, down the walls and onto the floors.
We never had this problem at our first home and we never heard of any family or friends having this problem. Any suggestions would be great!

Here are a couple of pics. This is just one of the windows. Thanks!

eisert 04-24-2010 10:31 PM

More than likely an improper install.

kwikfishron 04-25-2010 06:01 AM

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It sounds like the weep holes are plugged up.

If you pour a cup of water in the bottom of the window frame it should "immediately" drain out the two holes on the out side of the window.

It shouldn’t take more than 30 sec. or so for that cup of water to drain. It should literally be peeing out the holes. Try this and let us know what happens.

Caulking from the inside does nothing but divert the water down into the framing, exactly were you don’t want it to go.

You really need to get this one figured out soon or you’re going to end up with much bigger problems.

n2learning 04-25-2010 02:29 PM

Progress is being made but very little. I was able to unclog the weepholes and add a couple more smaller ones. Our front bay window didn't have any weep holes. I drilled a couple small ones and water began to stream out.

I did the water test and I would grade it a D maybe D+. We poured two full glasses of water in the window plate and some water began to stream on the outside but not anything close to two full cups.

I think I know what the problem is. Look at the following two pictures. There is probably a good two inches beneath the actual window that is hollow. You can see the ridge gaps on the side of the window. I looked at my parents windows this morning and the bottom of the window enclosure was flat with the window frame, unlike our windows where it is not flat with the window frame.

See if your windows have the ridge gap like ours.

Water is getting in here and leaking into our plaster walls. This is happening on all but one or two windows. Most of the water is not leaking out of the weep holes.

Is there a way to block the gaps with vinyl? To me is seems the wrong size windows were installed. I wonder if just the bottom plates can be re-done instead of having to buy and install all new windows?

Tom Struble 04-25-2010 03:03 PM

yea it kind of looks like head expander's were used at the sill:huh:

id pull these units out completely and see if you have any rot issues
install a pan flashing and reinstall the units...actually i probably wouldn't install those windows

kwikfishron 04-25-2010 04:48 PM

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Were you drilled that hole in the last picture from the outside, is that a wood stop or part of the vinyl window?

Don’t go drill crazy, somewhere on those windows are the factory weep holes. What’s covering them up?

Finding and exposeing the factory holes should be your mission.

Daniel Holzman 04-25-2010 07:10 PM

I encountered a similar situation on an inspection of a home in LA that had leaky windows. Turned out they were not flashed. Lack of proper flashing would explain all of your symptoms. Unfortunately, if you lack flashing, the only way to fix the problem is to remove the windows, and reinstall with flashing and proper caulking.

n2learning 04-25-2010 08:27 PM

The small hole I drilled was still in the vinyl window area. The little step beneath it (with the horrendous caulk job) is the wood stop.

How can I tell if a window has been flashed? It my windows weren't flashed, why would someone skip this step?


Tom Struble 04-25-2010 09:25 PM


Originally Posted by kwikfishron (Post 433460)
Were you drilled that hole in the last picture from the outside, is that a wood stop or part of the vinyl window?

Donít go drill crazy, somewhere on those windows are the factory weep holes. Whatís covering them up?

Finding and exposeing the factory holes should be your mission.

looks like a u chanel expander on the bottom of the window covering the weeps,look closer at the inside pic:whistling2:

kwikfishron 04-26-2010 06:34 AM

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I now see what looks like a channel the window is sitting in. Wow, that’s a new one on me. The window install was doomed from day 1.

Bottom line is you need weep holes and your windows have them there just covered up. But don’t take the drill to them just yet.

In the last picture of yours that plastic sill at the bottom of the window should snap out. That’s not the case in all (or even most) windows but it looks like it with yours . If you can get that out you “should” be able to see the weep holes. If so drill them out from the inside.

n2learning 04-26-2010 02:26 PM

tomstuble and kwikfish,
I think you are both on to something.

I removed a strip of vinyl that the screen was resting on. Now I can see two rectangular 'weep holes'. I poured a cup of water in this area and I could see the water running on the outside of the window through circular holes.

Here is a closeup from a window before I took out the screen track:

Now here is what it looks like with the track removed. Notice the rectangle whole. Water was never able to drain through these holes with the track on. Instead the water worked itself under the window and through the side tracks, and of course eventually draining down our sill and in our walls.

Am I okay with doing this, or did I jack things up? It seems logical that this piece should be removed.

kwikfishron 04-26-2010 03:25 PM

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Is the water exiting window through the factory holes or the ones you drilled? If that larger piece of plastic snaps out you should be able to see the factory weep holes that exit the window that have been blocked by the channel they set the window in. The piece you took out should be there it’s part of the window. I think your just one step away from solving your problem if that larger piece comes out and you can see the factory holes that should be draining the water to the outside that are blocked and then drill them out.

That peice may or may not snap out but from what I can see it looks like it should.

n2learning 04-26-2010 05:21 PM

The water is exiting through the exterior factory holes AND my holes. However I didn't pour the water over the channel piece.

That larger piece (channel) doesn't snap out. I was hoping it would!
I feel like something will break when I pull with a lot of force.

If that piece looks like it shouldn't be there then I'll try to get one removed and see what's beneath.

kwikfishron 04-26-2010 06:44 PM

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Don’t break it.

If you can pour water in the sill and it drains outside then “Mission Accomplished”, as far as the plugged weep holes go. The wood sill that the weep holes are peeing on should be caped in metal (aluminum, galvanized, stainless steel), They look a little punky and a cap will buy you a few more years.

You should also re-caulk. The caulking on the inside is only to fill the gap so when you paint you have a nice finish. It has nothing to do with leak protection.

The caulking on the outside, you should not add extra layers but dig out what is there best you can and then apply a good polyurethane caulk like “Vulkem or Quad” no silicone.

One last thing,

Don’t caulk over the weep holes.

n2learning 04-26-2010 08:59 PM

I really appreciate your time and suggestions. An exterior re-do of fresh caulk is long over due. I'll know if removing that track piece did the trick when the next rain storm comes through.

Thanks again,

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