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Old 02-01-2011, 08:34 AM   #1
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Bow Window Coooold


Recently been spending time on the main level of our split level home. Noticed a few weeks ago a HUGE cold draft coming from the bow window one of our couches is up against. After doing some investigating I decided to put up a plastic window treatment. That didn't work much and still felt the cold air running across the rug.

This weekend I ripped all the trim off around the window. I was so happy, I found nice big gaps running all around the perimeter and 2 - 3" holes in some spots with air clearly blowing in the house. I foam sealed as much as I could and caulked every little nook and cranny. Ran my hand all around feeling for drafts and I think I got the best of it and know and feel I did a very thorough job. Put back all the trip and caulked that up as well. I was delighted, however it's still cold as heck by the bow window especially down low in the corners. I don't feel that bad draft as I once did but on my thermal temp I am reading in the upper 40's - low 50's in and around the bottom of the bow window. Is this normal?

I have not yet put back the plastic weather proofing, I was hoping I didn't need it and I fixed the problem. I am going put that back first to see if it helps. Windows are not that old, in pretty good condition. We do have a crawl space just below us and the bow window is in the front of the house under a porch which never see's sunlight on that side of the house.

My questions are is there anything else I can check for and or do or overlooked to help keep it warmer? My next steps are to put the plastic back up, get down in the crawl space and inspect that particular and seal anything up, and then when the weather is bit warmer go outside and look for area's to seal up with caulk. Very very frustrating....Thanks in advance.....

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Old 02-01-2011, 08:58 AM   #2
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Bow Window Coooold


Often the seat portion (of you have on) is not insulated properly----can you check if it is insulated and air sealed?

Post a picture inside and out if you can--Mike--

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Old 02-01-2011, 09:04 AM   #3
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Bow Window Coooold


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Often the seat portion (of you have on) is not insulated properly----can you check if it is insulated and air sealed?

Post a picture inside and out if you can--Mike--
Forgive me but not 100% sure what seat portion exactly is. however I will definitely post some pictures to give a better idea. From the outside looking at the bow window there is a boxed out frame that is just below the bow window which sticks out o I'd say maybe a foot or so, maybe more, not 100% sure. It's covered in what appears to be aluminum siding of sorts. Rest of my home is vinyl. Thanks or the reply.....and will be in touch..!
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Old 02-02-2011, 09:28 AM   #4
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Bow Window Coooold


Attached are some uploaded pic's I took of the bow window I am having issues with. Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again!
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Bow Window Coooold-dscn1449_sm.jpg   Bow Window Coooold-dscn1452_sm.jpg  
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Old 02-02-2011, 09:30 AM   #5
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One more from inside
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:32 AM   #6
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From the exterior pictures it certainly appears that there is a lot of "cavity" around the window framing for insulation. But is there insulation? You need to do a little more investigating and remove a small section of siding and take a look.

As Mike mentioned above this is one of those areas that installers take "short cuts" and do not insulate properly. Sad, because this is a critical window type that needs careful attention to insulation and sealing.

You will need to take a look under that siding. Might be a good spring project if you discover the insulation is non-existent or inadequate.

My favorite material of choice is Dow Super Tuff-R for these window types. I'll cut the foam board into a full size perfect puzzle like piece to fit snugly under the seat-board and top board, then tape/seal it up tight.

You also mentioned a crawl space? check that too

Last edited by LIHR; 02-02-2011 at 10:34 AM.
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:44 AM   #7
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From the exterior pictures it certainly appears that there is a lot of "cavity" around the window framing for insulation. But is there insulation? You need to do a little more investigating and remove a small section of siding and take a look.

As Mike mentioned above this is one of those areas that installers take "short cuts" and do not insulate properly. Sad, because this is a critical window type that needs careful attention to insulation and sealing.

You will need to take a look under that siding. Might be a good spring project if you discover the insulation is non-existent or inadequate.

My favorite material of choice is Dow Super Tuff-R for these window types. I'll cut the foam board into a full size perfect puzzle like piece to fit snugly under the seat-board and top board, then tape/seal it up tight.

You also mentioned a crawl space? check that too
Thanks LIHR, I am for sure going to get down in the crawl space to try and rule that out.

I agree, that casing is most likely not insulated. I find allot things in my home are not insulated or not insulated enough. When I had the trim off I could see daylight through some of the holes, so I know it's probably not insulated correctly.

I am really Leary about pulling off that siding simply because I do not know how to put it back and have no experience with that type of material. How hard would it be to pull that off and check under there and get it back to looking nice and clean as it is right now? Is it a DYIer job? If not I might consider getting a siding guy to pull it off and re-do, not sure what they'd charge though. Thank much for your help!!!
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:53 AM   #8
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I understand your concern about screwing up the siding. It if is aluminum it's difficult removing it without bending or putting a kink in it. Vinyl is much more forgiving (in warm weather)

Find a weak spot in the siding underneath the window somewhere, you know poke around and see where you can get the aluminum to bend gently out of the way to get a peek inside. You may need to pull a trim nail or two, use pliers and take your time. Use a flashlight see inside. You don't need to take it off, just out of the way enough to see into the cavity.
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:57 AM   #9
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I understand your concern about screwing up the siding. It if is aluminum it's difficult removing it without bending or putting a kink in it. Vinyl is much more forgiving (in warm weather)

Find a weak spot in the siding underneath the window somewhere, you know poke around and see where you can get the aluminum to bend gently out of the way to get a peek inside. You may need to pull a trim nail or two, use pliers and take your time. Use a flashlight see inside. You don't need to take it off, just out of the way enough to see into the cavity.
Gotcha, thanks for the excellent information and help. I really appreciate it.
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Old 02-02-2011, 11:42 AM   #10
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There is a lot of wood framing there and little space for insulation--I suspect that that will always be a cold area---get the best air stopping insulation in that you can---Mike---
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Old 02-02-2011, 11:51 AM   #11
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Mikes right, while insulation there is important,the problem is there's no heat in that area,think of cantilevers as big heat fins sticking out the side of your house,by their very nature these areas will lose heat faster than the rest of the house
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Old 02-02-2011, 01:02 PM   #12
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Bow Window Coooold


Thanks for the replies fella's I really truly do appreciate it. At least I feel a bit better knowing I did what I could from the inside and that area is just going to be colder and I need to try and better insulate it.

Do you have any recommendations or "air stopping insulation"? Would fiberglass, cellulose, foam, fall into that category? Thanks again for the great info.
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Old 02-03-2011, 11:53 AM   #13
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Due to the small pockets available to insulate---foam might be the best--use great stuff (blue can)
for windows and doors--the cheaper red can expands so much that it can bulge out the siding or drywall.

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