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c3uo 05-10-2010 05:23 PM

Leaking Vinyl Windows in 7 year old home
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Help! I have a 7 year old home with a leaking vinyl window. The inside and the sill are dry. However, somehow water is getting in the wall.

My house is built with modern vinyl windows, OSB, 1" thick styrofoam, and then vinyl siding. The leak started a few months ago and we had to remove the siding, remove the styrofoam, replace the wet OSB, reseal around the windows (we assume it was due to the tape / blueskin around the windows not sealing properly - even though it looked okay). Well now it is better sealed and moisture gets in the wall. With every styorofoam seam blueskinned the moisture is trapped in the wall and now I see the OSB getting wet again. I am confident the water is not getting around the blueskin. I figure it either has to be somehow through the window or mullion, or coming from above in the attic. I went in the attic and the OSB is dry.

Anything else I could check? This has been very frustrating. I just want it fixed beofre my house rots out.

I wonder if it is not simehow the mullion leaking between the two window halves and then leaking out the base of the window in the wall. I know the water damage was centered in below each window.

I'll try to post pictures.


c3uo 05-10-2010 05:27 PM

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I had to remove the siding and replace the OSB below both pairs of windows. I am told the vinyl caulking must be leakproof. Also the outside channels / flanges do not look cracked. The drain plugs are not plugged, etc.

Any ideas? Thanks for any help. The damage was primarily centered below the two upper windows, but since that area is finished inside, I see the moisture above and below the basement windows. I think the mullion has a holllow channel on the inside of the house.

kwikfishron 05-10-2010 05:52 PM

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Were is the building paper, 30lb felt or Tyvec and the like?

c3uo 05-10-2010 06:15 PM

That is a problem I just discovered earlier this year. I supposedly bought a R2000 certified top quality home, but it has no tyvek. The way they built my house was 2" x 6" c/w fiberglass, 3/8" OSB, 1" styrofoam, taped styrofoam joints, and then vinyl siding. This is more energy efficient then just OSB, but I think it is crap since it traps moisture.

They actually build them without the OSB now here (just studs and styrofoam... crap if you ask me).

Anyway, ignoring the lack of wrap (since the water would still have to get behind the styorofoam)... any ideas?

kwikfishron 05-10-2010 06:22 PM

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Were are you located?

c3uo 05-10-2010 06:23 PM

Commented Pictures
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I thought I'd repost with more details to help.

c3uo 05-10-2010 06:24 PM

Located in canada.

kwikfishron 05-10-2010 06:25 PM

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Yes, double crap is acceptable.

kwikfishron 05-10-2010 06:35 PM

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Well there is good news and bad news. I deal with this all the time. The siding is not installed properly. The bad news is all the siding has to be removed off the wall and a proper moister barrier be installed behind the foam. (I recommend 30lb ASTM Felt). The good news is that since it’s Vinyl Siding, with the right contractor you should be able to do this with no new materials other that the felt.

tpolk 05-10-2010 06:38 PM

this can be diy'ed with patience and using the felt

c3uo 05-10-2010 06:43 PM

So how would I do this? Remove all siding, install felt (or tyvek?) over styrofoam, and reinstall siding?

How do I install felt aroundthe siding nails? Pulling off the siding nails is nearly impossble w/o damaging the styrofoam. we pulled off the siding last time leaving the nails.

It seems watertight below siding as all of the styrofoam joints and window frame is flashed with blueskin. It's also funny that it leaked in the exact same place before and after the previous repair.

tpolk 05-10-2010 06:46 PM

i agree it would be good to find the leak first. have you tried water hosing it?

Thurman 05-10-2010 07:57 PM

As "kingfish", er "kwikfish" stated: The new moisture barrier must be installed behind the foam when the foam is reinstalled. Pull the foam off, carefully, don't just yank it off and make big holes and rips. Then remove the nails which held the foam on. Mark each piece of foam as to where it goes for the reinstall. After placing the moisture barrier, install the foam with new nails and tape over the old nail holes. More work I know, but faster and efficient. The vinyl siding can be removed the same way, mark each piece on the inside, for re-installation. I've removed vinyl siding for re-install this way many times. Maybe check the windows for water intrusion with a garden hose before re-placing the siding. David

DonV 05-21-2010 10:05 PM

I'm about 90% sure that the windows are leaking somewhere at the mull between the two separate units. It would explain where your walls are rotting. It appears to be some type of H shaped mull that overlaps the two attached units. I'm sure that the window was put in as one unit but is actually constructed of two separate windows attached together at the manufacturer's plant.

Try running a fine bead of caulk down the mull where it overlaps the windows paying particular attention near the bottom. Water laying on the sill and coming from the weep holes could be migrating through the seam. I would also like to see a detail picture of the top of the window jamb where the siding tucks in and also of the window mull at the top. You may also just have really crappy windows that you will continue to have problems with. I replace windows for a living and am stunned by the shoddiness and leakiness of many of the products I see not to mention the overall inattention to possible leaks from the builders and subs.

gulbworks 04-12-2011 09:02 PM

Have you tested the integral water collection system on the window? This is the plastic tray under the window which collects the rain water and exhausts it out the drainage ports.
I have a problem with my double hung windows very similar to yours. My water collection tray leaks in the welded corners. It leaks slowly so it takes a steady (2 hour plus rain) for enough water to collect inside to be visible.
I tested the tray by sealing the ports and very carefully added coloured water(food colouring) to the tray with an indoor plant watering can (long narrow spout) being careful not to overflow the tray. Mine shows leakage after 1.5 hours. Easy to spot with coloured water.
I wonder if we have the same windows?

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