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primo1 01-15-2013 01:41 PM

Leaking basement windows
Ok, long story and Ill try to keep it short. 6 year old house. Had problems with basement windows leaking between window and foundation since day 1. Builder has tried everything including taking every brick off the east side of house. Leaks when we get hard east driven rain. The windows are at top of foundation so that the first bricks are above windows. The builder replaced the crappy plastic flashing with Blue Skin and it seemed to help a bit but still getting water in. The Tyvek layers the flashing like it should.

Is there anything that anyone can think of that I can try or suggest. It is very frustrating and the builder has been supportive but its a big mystery.

brockmiera 01-15-2013 03:44 PM

Any pictures?

concretemasonry 01-15-2013 05:05 PM

primo -

Is the brick real 3-5/8" thick brick with a small (3/8"?)gap between the brick and structural wall? This is the best of the claddings. Another alternate is a "paste and stick" thin brick veneer.

No cladding/siding is meant to be waterproof, but the brick with a void is far better than the worst (vinyl).

In either case, it sounds like water might be getting behind the moisture barrier and migrating downward and horizontally until it hits a barrier. Most new construction windows and doors above are really not installed properly and are the cause of water problems below and horizontally below openings and the water comes down behind the moisture barrier and accumulates at a barrier (sill?) and finds an opening below and another opening below (like a basement window). All the flashing and blue stuff just above a window is no help if the water is under the under the moisture barrier.

Just a possibility I have seen often. It does take an engineer doing moisture intrusion and he usually would use a very good moisture meter with long probes (not surface) and poke a few 1/8" holes in the interior drywall below or near upper openings above the basement windows to determine if there is moisture in the insulation.

It is just a possibility and not that unusual and I know of many builders that hire window installers (many are certified) rather than use their own carpenters at the request of their insurers.


jomama45 01-15-2013 09:36 PM

This is a little hard to picture, but is there a steel angle iron lintel over the window? If so, is the flashing lapped OVER the top of it, and are there weeps/holes over the angle iron??

stadry 01-16-2013 05:10 AM

didn't see this stated & pic(s) might've explained it,,, is the window leak at the TOP OR BOTTOM of the frame ? is there a window well OR are the windows above grade ? what mtl was used for the fnd walls - conc or block ?

hammerlane 01-16-2013 05:35 AM

I had similar problem. My issue were the window sills which were rowlock courses of brick. Had them replaced with solid limestone sills.

How about providing a few photos of te window in question.

primo1 01-16-2013 12:51 PM

I will post pics later.

This is real brick with a half inch gap between the brick and the sheathing. The windows sit in the foundation, above grade, and the very top of the foundation wall. Just above the windows, the brick starts. There is no steel flashing above the 2 windows. Essentially, the same flashing that is above the foundation wall.

My thought was that east driven rain was actually getting under the flashing (blue skin) and eventually into the basement. So the builder caulked that so that that seems unlikely. I am seeing the leaking on top of the window frame in the basement.

My plan is to water test in the spring (it is winter in Ontario now) and find out exactly where the water is coming in. I have tried this before but it has been difficult. It is only on very heavy east driven rain. Could the rain be entering the weep holes/

primo1 01-16-2013 01:15 PM

The brick basically sits on the foundation shelf, and since the windows are flush with the top of the foundation, the brick essentially sits right on top the window. Of course the blue skin comes down the sheathing about 2 feet and curves over the top of the foundation and top of window. Make sense?

brockmiera 01-16-2013 01:22 PM

2 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by primo1 (Post 1094953)
The brick basically sits on the foundation shelf, and since the windows are flush with the top of the foundation, the brick essentially sits right on top the window. Of course the blue skin comes down the sheathing about 2 feet and curves over the top of the foundation and top of window. Make sense?

Is your set up something like this? These windows are in a well but might be framed the same way. Apparently the frame serves as the lentil.

primo1 01-16-2013 01:29 PM

Pretty similar. Lot smaller windows. And if you look on the outside of the house, the brick is basically sitting on the window.

So my leaks occur at the top of the frame.

primo1 01-16-2013 02:38 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Here a couple of pics. One from outside and one from inside. The inside pic shows some leaking, it looks like it is from the bottom, but it seems like it originates at top, and runs all around the frame.

123pugsy 01-16-2013 04:11 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Do you have a flashing above the lentil?
Weep holes above that?

primo1 01-16-2013 05:01 PM

Hi pugsy,

There is no lentil. The First course of brick sits directly on the top of the window(as well as the foundation). The top of the window is flush with the top of the foundation There is of course the blue skin flashing under the brick. You can tell that from the picture from the outside. You can see a bit of the blue sticking out next to the window.

123pugsy 01-16-2013 05:55 PM

Am I missing something?
I thought lentils were required for brick over windows. So the bricks are sitting on a membrane that's sitting on a pvc window frame?

How about weep holes?

I better mention that I'm not an expert, I've just been looking at alot of different areas as I'm planning my renovation.

primo1 01-16-2013 06:03 PM

Nope, you are right. Thats exactly what is happening. What is the purpose of the lentil?

My builder has removed the brick several times trying to figure this out and you would think if it was required they would have put it! But you never know. I could see the lentil''s job to prevent strain on the window, but im not sure how it would help with the water thing.

And yes, there are a couple of weep holes. My thought it that the driving east rain gets into them and somehow into the basement.

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