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Old 08-16-2012, 12:13 AM   #1
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Sealing siding gap


We replaced a through-wall AC system in our home. The hole was already there, and the cases are roughly standard but not quite. I think the older unit was slightly shorter but wider.

Anyway, wanted to show the picture of the gap so all suggestions can come forth. How would you seal this? Would I need to fabricate a metal channel to fill/fit this well? The old unit was just perfectly sealed tight.

The gap is between 1/2 and 1", except at the bottom, where the gap gets wider... Though that's more of a critter than a water ingress issue...









The old caulking material, which was really flexible and somewhat soft looks like this:





Any idea what that old material is? 10yo and still permanently flexible. It isn't workable like duct seal, it had cured into shape but was flexible and stretchable in its form.

Thanks!!

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Old 08-16-2012, 12:19 AM   #2
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Sealing siding gap


Unit was installed wrong.
There should have been Z moulding at the top, J moulding around the edges, window tape around the J moulding. And a bracket outside to support the weight of the A/C would have been a great idea.
The way it sits right now is a sure way to have leaks and rot out that wall.

Just trying to fill the gaps with foam, cording, caulking will just leak.

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Old 08-16-2012, 08:15 AM   #3
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Sealing siding gap


The ideal way would be to remove siding around unit and trim the unit out with exterior trim and then re side around the unit and new trim and then paint, that involves quite a bit of work though...

are you any good with woodworking powertools? if so, hold 1x stock trim (1x2-1x3) up there and scribe the notches for the siding onto the 1x and cut fit them around the unit sealing afterwards with paint-able silicone. on the top piece of 1x cut it to fit between unit and piece of siding 1" above unit,you do not want the trim sticking out past that piece of siding allowing water to enter from above.

Before doing anything make sure the unit tilts out away from the house some to allow water to move to the outer edges of the unit. If you put a level on top of the unit it should be higher where it comes out of the wall and have some downward slope to it,but not to much slope. I've seen many times where the condensate runs back toward the house rotting out the wall or window sill.

depending on how the unit was installed a brace of some sort to hold up the unit may be needed as well..

Last edited by hand drive; 08-16-2012 at 08:19 AM.
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Old 08-16-2012, 08:38 AM   #4
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Sealing siding gap


Thanks for the comments. The ac was installed with a 1/2" slope per the instructions. Instructions from the manufacturer also indicate that the brackets could be omitted if the case was anchored on the side, and we went that route. It is very sturdy, and it is a quiet, vibration-free operation.

This hole and install wasn't totally new work. There was another unit in the hole before. That unit was only sealed in by the grey caulking/sealant material shown in the pictures. Not saying that it was the right way to do it technically, but it was bone dry behind the siding and there was no sign of any moisture in the wood that makes the frame and the otuter sheathing that is on the house behind the siding. The last unit was installed before we moved in, and was in use for 10 years or so.

Looking at the width of the gap and how it is set up, I have acquired aluminum j and f channel, which could create a gutter to move moisture downward. But suggestions of the best setup would be appreciated.

We have had some heavy rains the last two days, and I've seen no signs of moisture from those rains making their way in the gap (I've been out there in the rain observing). Still, I want the Jon to be right. I'm not afraid to pop off the siding around the hole. Then again, if a flexible sealant was used before and will do the job again, I could also mask off and go that route. Whatever the recommendations are...

Thanks!
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Old 08-16-2012, 09:21 AM   #5
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Sealing siding gap


That is probably diversigum.
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Old 08-16-2012, 10:13 AM   #6
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Sealing siding gap


why they don't come with some sort of flange system i'll never know,the stupid part is at the bottom where the trim/siding needs to be cut around the bottom of the removable chassis
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Old 08-16-2012, 10:20 AM   #7
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Sealing siding gap


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Originally Posted by hammerlane View Post
That is probably diversigum.
I wish it was that easy unfortunately it's not that product. I have some of that stuff, I call it duct seal, and the consistency and workability is different.

The difference is that the product that was used around the air conditioner cannot be worked again it is highly flexible and pretty soft but I could not remold it. If I was to stretch it, it will return to shape like a rubber band, while that duct seam type stuff can be stretched and molded.

I have a feeling that it is some kind of butyl or polyurethane highly flexible sealant, but I have no clue what it is.

Since it was dry before using this approach, I think I'll have to use it again, because I've been trying to fit j and f channel in there, and there is no chance of making that work short of ripping off a ton of 50yo aluminum siding.

Ugh, very frustrating.
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Old 08-16-2012, 10:26 AM   #8
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Sealing siding gap


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Originally Posted by Tom Struble View Post
why they don't come with some sort of flange system i'll never know,the stupid part is at the bottom where the trim/siding needs to be cut around the bottom of the removable chassis
That's my next ulcer. The old AC at least had a flat underside, this one goes up on one side so there will be a big gap in the area underneath, exposing the framing and wood underneath. So it somehow will need to be flashed off or something, somehow to prevent animals from coming in, and let the moisture on the underside shed off.
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Old 08-16-2012, 11:33 AM   #9
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Sealing siding gap


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Originally Posted by JHZR2 View Post
Thanks for the comments. The ac was installed with a 1/2" slope per the instructions. Instructions from the manufacturer also indicate that the brackets could be omitted if the case was anchored on the side, and we went that route. It is very sturdy, and it is a quiet, vibration-free operation.

This hole and install wasn't totally new work. There was another unit in the hole before. That unit was only sealed in by the grey caulking/sealant material shown in the pictures. Not saying that it was the right way to do it technically, but it was bone dry behind the siding and there was no sign of any moisture in the wood that makes the frame and the otuter sheathing that is on the house behind the siding. The last unit was installed before we moved in, and was in use for 10 years or so.

Looking at the width of the gap and how it is set up, I have acquired aluminum j and f channel, which could create a gutter to move moisture downward. But suggestions of the best setup would be appreciated.

We have had some heavy rains the last two days, and I've seen no signs of moisture from those rains making their way in the gap (I've been out there in the rain observing). Still, I want the Jon to be right. I'm not afraid to pop off the siding around the hole. Then again, if a flexible sealant was used before and will do the job again, I could also mask off and go that route. Whatever the recommendations are...

Thanks!
it's funny how when you think there's going to be a moisture issue things turn out to be fine,and other times you think things are fine and...

what problems are you having with the J?thing is j channel needs to drain on to a protected area that will divert water to the outside
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Old 08-16-2012, 11:40 AM   #10
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Sealing siding gap


That sure looks like aluminum siding. Trying to remove it to fix this right will be a night mare. Near imposable to just start working in the middle of the wall. You would have to start at the top and work your way down. And most likly the first piece will be distroyed and need to be replaced They sell 1" X 1" foam made just for sealing up that hole in the bottom.
Most wall mounted A/C units come with an outside case that gets mounted then the A/C just sides into the box so you end up with all flat sides on the outside.

Last edited by joecaption; 08-16-2012 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:34 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Tom Struble View Post
what problems are you having with the J?thing is j channel needs to drain on to a protected area that will divert water to the outside
The problems Im having with the J is the install. The aluminum siding is installed, and Im just not able to slide the J channel underneath to finish it off. It is just too tight, i cant make the turn to fit it in and under, but if I popped off the siding, Id make matters worse... as this is on the lower level.

Even if I did, the 1/2" J channel from HD (Aluminum) is not wide enough to close/hide the gap against the AC and hide/cover the siding edge. I bought some F channel to try to see if it would do better because the edges are longer, and that is just more impossible to install. I have unsnapped/resnapped siding before, at the bottom, but this is a really tough area to work on.

And you are right - if I put J or F down the vertical edges, when it gets to the bottom of the hole, how do I absolutely divert the water to the outer surface of the siding?

Perhaps a good thing to ask is if this was a blank slate and I needed to cut a hole in my siding and install the AC - there is no AC in there right now and I have full flexibility, how would I finish off the hole to seal and cover the siding edges on all sides???

My house is a late 20's/early 30's home. The aluminum siding was put on in the early to mid 1960s. The AC that we replaced was a late 90's/very early 2000's unit. Im not sure if there was one in there before that. But Id imagine not, and thus why the old unit was sealed with that highly flexible caulk. There was no backer rod, the caulk set up and flexibly sealed the 3/4-1"-ish gap perfectly. Given the eave placement, location of trees, another home, etc., I dont think that there is much chance for rainwater to regularly hit this and leak in, but I still would like to do the job as right as possible, as I intend to keep this AC, which is a pricier unit that has very high efficiency and is very quiet, for a very long time.

Last edited by JHZR2; 08-16-2012 at 12:46 PM.
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:43 PM   #12
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That sure looks like aluminum siding. Trying to remove it to fix this right will be a night mare. Near imposable to just start working in the middle of the wall. You would have to start at the top and work your way down. And most likly the first piece will be distroyed and need to be replaced They sell 1" X 1" foam made just for sealing up that hole in the bottom.
Most wall mounted A/C units come with an outside case that gets mounted then the A/C just sides into the box so you end up with all flat sides on the outside.

Ugh, yeah it is Al (wide 8" type)from the early 60's.

The AC, a Friedrich Kuhl, is as you described. It has an outer case, which is mounted to the hole in the wall and to the supporting frame, and then the actual AC slides in. The issue with this one is that the "pan" that makes up the slide-in part is not flat. As you can see from the picture, it goes up a bit, so it is not sitting flat on the wood frame and there is actually a gap underneath it that lets you see in to the hole it creates. Of course the interior is sealed bacause the case sits on the wood frame at its main contact point, but the profile makes for a little area that needs to be sealed.



My main concern with this is that the pan at the farthest forward spot is right where the evaporator is, so the pan gets cold and will condense water on the underside.

Can you tell me more about this 1x1 foam product? I was going to use my brake and flashing, and cap the entire gap with flashing that would divert any condensation to the outside. If it is safe to fill the gap with foam (from a mold, moisture, bug and animal perspective), then I might just take a piece of chashing and/or J channel, which I can fit down there, and just close it up with Aluminum over the foam. Do you mean stuff like this:


Last edited by JHZR2; 08-16-2012 at 12:56 PM.
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:52 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
Unit was installed wrong.
There should have been Z moulding at the top, J moulding around the edges, window tape around the J moulding. And a bracket outside to support the weight of the A/C would have been a great idea.
The way it sits right now is a sure way to have leaks and rot out that wall.

Just trying to fill the gaps with foam, cording, caulking will just leak.
Regarding window tape...

Say I can pull back my siding enough to slide some of that tape under it... The house has some kind of aluminum-faced building wrap between the aluminum siding and the sheething. It is kind of a paper backed, aluminized cover I think... From the early 60s.

So if I was able to get this tape under, stick it to this wrap, stick it to the case of the AC, and then finished off the siding however made sense, even if it was with backer rod and a lot of caulk (probably redone 50 times so that I get a nice, smooth job), would that work?

What about white butyl tape on the outside edge of the AC, so that it is a smooth, straight job?

i really wish I could figure out what that grey sealant they used was - it was good for closing up 1", was super flexible and kept things perfect in there!

I have to believe that these ACs get installed into siding regularly without having to unside the side of the house. Tons of old homes around here have these units, and Ive never heard of wall rot. As mentioned, the old unit we had in the hole just had that rubbery caulk sealing the gap with the siding and it has been bone dry forever.

I just want to make this job as technically correct and right as possible, but hopefully without having to reside my home

Last edited by JHZR2; 08-16-2012 at 12:54 PM.
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Old 08-16-2012, 11:12 PM   #14
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Sealing siding gap


I'm going to try 5/8 vinyl j channel that I found at HD tomorrow. I hate mixing materials, but 1/2" j just doesn't fit my siding.

I've tried calling siding guys to deside and reside the house and then frame around it with the flashing tape and all. They all refuse because it's too small a job.

I thought this was a recession and nobody is doing home repairs and all these guys are hurting -so why turn down work? To take down the siding on the house, close the thing up and then reside sounds like a day of work to me.

Hopfully this vinyl j works.

So how does one best terminate the j at the bottom when it is just framing a hole, so that it doesn't take moisture behind the siding? Or is there a better way???

Thanks!
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Old 08-17-2012, 12:04 AM   #15
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You have a brake, why are you not fixing this yourself.
To make this a whole lot simpler to fix can you check to see if that install kit is avalible to do a wall mount. It's nothing but a sheet metal 4 sided boxwith no front or back. Then you would have nice flat straight edges to work with all the way around. It would be bigger and may even fill in those gaps so you could just use caulking.

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