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Anderson casement caulking permissible?

9875 Views 28 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Tom Struble
Hey gang!

I've been on the Paint forum, helping for years now, but I've got Andersen Casement window questions!

Our bi-level home, in Fargo, ND was built in 1996.
We've got Andersen White vinyl-clad casements, with ABC-Seamless steel siding.

VERY happy with them overall.

1) How do you determine the "version/model" series?
2) Should the exterior siding be caulked where it butts-up to the vertical edge of window outer casing?
3) Is it permissible to caulk the very bottom horizontal exterior gap between the actual window-flange, and the siding that wraps up immediately underneath??
4) Can I caulk across the top of the window/siding channel?

Reason I ask...
* 2 recent VERY windy/rain events have blown water UNDER the actual window frame, I believe, and OVER the horizontal siding flange at the windows' bottom.
* Water has leaked into the lower bedrooms carpet directly beneath this window, ONLY during these 2 recent wind-driven rains.
* I got window/siding to leak during a test yesterday with strong garden-hose pressure blasted horizontally at the bottom of the window/siding gap and siding underneath.

>>> Therefore...I want to eliminate this leak by caulking?!!??!

Thanks for any help!
(would pics help???)

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You can caulk all you want but it will solve nothing. You should never caulk siding to J.:wink:

The only way to solve this is to remove the siding, inspect the window, wb, and flashing details and correct the problem or problems.

Can’t help you with the Anderson ID but I’m sure someone will chime in.

We like pictures.:)
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There's a stenciled number in the bottom corner of Andersen windows.
In 1996, thet were producing, "
® Enhanced Casement - 1995 to 1998

Thanks for the answers so far guys!

Was gonna take pics this eve., but damn camera was dead!!

If the bottom J-channel (horizontal) was bent down slightly, and rain blew in just right, wouldn't that allow water in over the foundation edge?

>>>> Reason I'm saying this:
* I MAY have accidentally bent this horiz. channel down slightly a few years ago when I was compacting soil at the foundation edge.
* Added lots of dirt next to house, and was hand-tamping it down firm, to create a good slope.

So...could that be a cause?!

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Water is going to get behind the J regardless, it’s just the nature of the beast.

If the window and weather barrier were both installed properly there should be no leaks even with “no” siding on the house.

That’s why I said removing the siding is necessary to get to the root cause of the leak.
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and seamless siding romoval depending on the location may not be a diy project:no:
Now that the camera has charged overnight, goin' out to take pics now....

Hopefully I remember how to get-'em linked here!

The siding....Uffda...there are some loooonnnngg runs of seamless b4 it hits the windows...:eek:

Faron some pics now:

Overall view of west side. Leaker is lower-right window.

Lower-right of NON-leaker...

Caulked LR of leaker...

Closer view of caulking (just above scratches), just below window casing/in J-channel...

View of J-chnl caulking, with rubber cane-tips holding siding back.

Caulked top of leaker, with rubber-tips holding siding back, and caulk applied...

Lower bedroom where water leaked onto floor. Slight hole cut out behind trim. Drywall NOT wet!! Scanned with a moisture-tester. Water must be coming behind the foamboard insul.

More coming if needed!

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The siding shouldn’t be buried like that, it can cause you some big problems.

You need at least 6” between grade an the bottom of the siding.

Good luck with the band aid.
Average heavy rainfall (and we've had a LOT this year!) & snowmelt DIDN'T cause it to leak.
ONLY strong wind-driven rains made it leak below(?) that bedroom window.

My forced leak happened when I directed strong garden-hose water blast from 4'-5' away, parallel to ground, at the lowest siding run below window. Some water-spray went in the now caulked J-chnl too. MOST water was directed at the siding, moving back & forth below the casing.

NOTE: You can barely see a rubber cane-tip behind J-chnl. where I was streaming water at that lower stretch of siding.
The tip wasn't there during my test, and siding was in its "natural bowed slightly forward" position, where it's been for 15 years....

Water MUST'VE be coming up over that lowest run of siding, and some into/behind J-chnl?!?!

I s'pose there's a chance of a foundation crack, but again, the dirt & rocks have a good slope away from foundation. Heavy plastic is under the rocks.
It's never leaked after general rains, or even after this years' heavy snow-melt.

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Siding isn't actually buried, although it looks like it!

There IS only about 2"-3" below siding b4 the dirt starts though....

The rocks take up the rest of that space, making siding look like it's at dirt level...even though it's CLOSE!

>>> Do ya mean rain could've been blowing UNDER the lowest siding piece??
As stated, I got it to leak with a hose-blast on the actual siding/J-chnl.

It appears that you have a block or concrete foundation wall that is just about the same height as your grade. It's common practice and code in many areas to have a minimum of 8" from top of foundation wall to grade.

Burying the bottom edge of the siding lends itself to moisture problems and possible insect infestations as well.

If you have another wind driven rain/leak event, I would look up at the second floor window as a possible issue as well. Improper flashing and water management details could easily cause moisture problems to surface at the window below. I've seen this on more than one occasion when tape over the top flange of the window is depended upon for waterproofing.

The water gets behind the tape, is channeled behind the flange, runs along the head jamb of the window and down the side jambs. The moisture typically shows up below the window, where it finds a spot to pool.
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Thanks again guys!

I hear what you're sayin' Loneframer...
It's a poured foundation, and yes, I've built-up the grade possibly too high.
Again, actual dirt level is ~3" below bottom of siding.

I s'pose it's possible to be a window above, but the ONLY 2 times it's happened in 15 years, is 2 hard, wind-driven rain events. The most recent was this past Mem.-Day. The other was last October.

The foundation-grading has been this way for ~ 4yrs.

Thing is....I had the Wife in the bedroom below when I was sprayin' water at the siding below the window. Within ONE MINUTE, water was comin' onto the floor below.
Other points:
* As in the pix, the siding below window had a "bow" towards the front. Both above and below window.
* Thus...I had the idea to use the rubber cane-tips to easily push back the siding to contact the windows' flanges/sheathing.

See this pic, where siding has been sitting for years...nearly touching back of top J-chnl....

Here I am pushing siding back to contact sheathing/etc.

It's the same way UNDER each of the windows, where I was blasting the water.

Could this "bowing forward" of the siding underneath leaking window allow water to come under siding and OVER the foundation?!!

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I'd dig down outside to check for foundation issues. If there's a crack, you fix it.
If there's no crack, I'd pull of all the siding exposing both lower windows and check for installation issues. If it's the window installation, it probably exists in the whole house. It probably showed here first as this side, "faces" the weather.
I had a customer who bought a weekend house in upstate NY built in 2000. The floor buckled under a window as a result of a torrential storm with very high winds.
The sheetrock was fine. The baseboards were fine. I removed the vinyl siding and found the OSB sheathing was rotted under the window. The wind drove the rain behind the vinyl, behind the window(not installed properly) and the house wrap.
The windows were just caulked behind the nailing flange and nailed to the sheathing.
This was the weather side of the house.
This was a MW wood core, vinyl clad window. The wood was rotted.
All around the house, every window was in various stages of rot because they were installed incorrectly. The sheathing under the windows were also in various stages of decay.
All the windows need to be replaced. A good deal of the sheathing needs to be replaced. and most of the houses siding will need to come off and be reinstalled.
I'd make real sure what the issue is with your house before you close the book on this repair.
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It looks as though the siding above the window is behind the J-channel. This should not be. You should never need caulk on the top J-channel. The top J-channel should be continuous across the top of the window with down turned legs at each end leading into the jamb J-channels. The nailing flange of the J-channel should always be behind the siding. The jamb J-channels should extend to the bottom of the sill J-channel.

The common misconception with construction today is caulked joints. No matter what the warranty, no matter the installation, caulk fails. All openings and joints should be flashed to expel water without the use of caulk. Caulk should only be used as an enhancement of the installed flashing.

To fix your leak I would remove the siding around the window, install rubberized flashing and correctly install the J-channels.

Also, as many others have said above, get that dirt away from the top of foundation. It is a code violation and is leaving you open to mold, rot, and insect infestation (especially termites if you're in their zone).
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Hmmmmm...."scary" food for thought Ron!

It just seems hard to believe it could be installation.
Very reputable builder in town here, etc.

I'll get an estimate for someone to pop-off the lower siding portion.
The longest runs are obviously the whole backside of house!
At least only the bottom couple have to come off?!?!

The fact of the matter is, the siding is nothing more than a water-shed, to carry away the majority of water.

As you can see, the siding inside the J-channel at all 4 sides of the window is designed to float freely. This prevents distortion of the siding due to expansion of the siding material.

The reality is, the substrate, in conjunction with window and door installation, as well as flashing details, is what keeps the water on the outside of the building and out from between the WRB and the sheathing.

If you were able to force a leak with the garden hose by spraying it against the siding/accessories/window, there is a failure somewhere in the preparation stage of the project.

Moisture will find a way behind the siding, period.

Whether it be from condensation, migration or precipitation is irrelevant.

With grade so close to the top of the foundation wall, it could just as easily be splashing up behind the siding and being drawn in by differences in pressure due to the wind.
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Thanks LF!

I'll see if Accent-Contracting in town here can give me an estimate for the partial siding-removal this week.
I'm gonna call the siding company too and compare bids.

Also, a cracked or broken window flange could be the culprit. Even if everything else was done correctly, a cracked flange behind the J-channel could wreak havoc.
It wouldn't be the first time I've seen it.
I’ve seen where a nail holding the window hit a knot and bent puncturing the frame causing the leak. Point is you can speculate all you want and it really doesn’t matter. Remove the siding and the story will be told.
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