How Do You Prevent Your Windows From Leaking?

Preventing Leaking WindowsOne of the quickest ways to lose temperature control in your home is through window leaks. This is especially true when it comes to drastic seasonal changes your energy bill will experience during the winter and summer months. While often some leaks are not even noticeable, other leaks are very apparent whether you feel or can actually see the draft moving through your window treatments. It doesn’t matter the age of your home. If you have windows that were not properly installed, or deteriorating frames, all homes can suffer window leaks at some point if there is any issue with the integrity of its window jambs. In order to confirm you have a leak, visit your local tools department store for a leak detection tool kit. Do not just check for leaks on windows where you may have noticed a draft, conduct checks on all windows that may be sucking air out of your home as well.

Inspecting the Cause of Window Leaks

Now that you know you have a leak, it is important to figure out the cause so that it can be properly fixed. Your windows are encased inside a frame or window jamb the fits into the wall of your structure. The encasing’s sealant, or framing materials can deteriorate over time due to natural decomposition. There are newer window installation products that offer better caulking, installation, and sealant standards for your window that have a longer lifetime. But you must first make sure that this is what is causing the leaks. In order to do that, you will first need to remove the molding or window trim. This is the wood that surrounds outside of the window and covers the framing joints. Without the trim you would be able to see all of the nails, caulking, sealant, frame, jambs, and window encasements.

Using a mini pry bar, very carefully remove the molding or trim from around the entire window. This should be done in a manner that would not damage much of the frame underneath since it is intended to be a cosmetic structure around the window. With the molding and trim gone, your window jamb frame should now be fully exposed for you to inspect. Check to see if there are any visible gaps or deterioration in the insulation, wood, caulking, or window pane. If there are no visible gaps, next check to see if the caulking is chipping, the sealant has severe cracks, debris falling out of the frame joints, according to Inspectapedia.

If your window does not have a trim and just caulking, installation, and sealant in a casement, you will need an X-acto knife or box cutter to cut along the seal to check for any signs of deterioration in the sealant. For newer homes, you may notice that the window pane is more streamlined into the drywall rather than surrounded by additional wood in the window jamb. If you have windows like this, you need to be prepared to take the window out of the encasement to decrease the likelihood of the window becoming damaged during repairs.

How to Repair Leaks for Windows with Moldings

It is highly recommended that when you notice any issues with the pre-existing sealant that it be removed and resealed. Sealing over old sealant does not guarantee that you are not compromising the new sealant. Therefore, fully remove the existing sealant and replace it with new sealant. If there is noticeable deterioration or no installation, use fiberglass installation for larger window gaps to support the sealant. However, you will need to be very cautious not to overuse the fiberglass as overstuffing the window jamb could result in not being to either fit all preexisting accessories such as the trim back on to the window, or cause further damage in the future by adding too much pressure to the window panes. The sealant will offer the final protection over the fiberglass. If you choose to use the spray installation, it has its own sealant elements and you should not need to add any additional sealant once you have smoothed it over with a putty knife. For smaller jobs, you can use sealant to fill in the gaps. According to DIY-HQ they recommend that you use Marine grade silicone to increase the longevity of your seal.

Related Resource: How To Install A Casement Window

The repair information explained above is suitable for most homeowners that are willing to locate and repair leaks in their windows. If you find more serious issues when you inspect your window jambs such as pest damage to dry wall or wood, mold, foundational issues, or severe moisture damage, please call a professional contractor to come out an inspect your windows and offer consultation.