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Question DetailsAsked on 1/15/2017

Leaking window or roof problem?

I replaced a window in my living room this summer and this winter during a rain, water started coming in where the window meets the sill. The leak is an area about 4" long about 2 feet from one of the edges of the window and the sill above the window shows a wet spot which is wider near the window tapering to a smaller point towards the inside of the sill where it meets the interior wall. I had my roof inspected and sealed with silicon at the edges where the roof meets the outer walls this fall. The roof is metal, only 2 years old and looks good. The ceiling and walls above the window on the inside look good with no water spots or discoloration on them. Am I wrong to think that the roof may be leaking down on the window and coming in? Or is the window not sealed correctly on the outside where the water is coming in? Please help!

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4 Answers

Voted Best Answer
1
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Could be either - or since you said the wall was silicone sealed at the roof, you evidently do not have an attic or eaves, so could be a problem in or under the roof.


Could commonly be (in no particular order):


1) condensation in the attic or in the rafter space (especially if this is occurring during or shortly after very cold outside conditions, and most especially with metal roofing), causing condensation and/or frosting in the "attic" or rafter bays, which then drips down onto the insulation or the top of the vapor barrier/drywall ceiling, and can run to the walls (or elsewhere) and cause leaks quite far from where the actual source is. Obviously, if you have an attic you can get up into look for signs of wetness on underside of the roof, wet or heavily frosted rafters, or wetness on the attic "floor". If no accessible attic, sometimes requires taking out a bathroom fan or such to get a headhole in from below to see what the situation is up there. Commonly you can see in quite well off a ladder if you have eave vents - but since you said it was caulked where the roof meets the wall, evidently not in your case.


If you have heavy frosting from moisture getting in from the house or leaking exhaust fan ducting (or improperly ducted into the attic), that also can cause condesation or frosting in the attic - sometimes causing leakage in cold weather as it condenses, or sometimes not until it warms up outside and accumulated frost starts to melt in the attic.


2) can be a leaking roof or roof penetration - pipe, duct, exhaust vent - ditto to above for investigation. Obviously, actively leaking water would occur only during or within a day or so of rain (or during roof snow melting). Also can occur from glaciering and ice damming - roof runoff or melting running down to the roof edge and freezing there as an ice dam and icicles, which can then back up the water running down the roof till it finds a way in under the roofing or through fasteners or (in the case of metal lroofing) a seam or joint.


3) could be improper, missing, or failed flashing around the window, or of drip edge over the top, or of caulking. FIrst place I would look would be the flashing and caulking over the top of the window - look to see that the water path is sloping towards the free air outside the wall, not inwards. Sometimes something as simple as a tilted-up piece of dripedge over the window can cause this type of issue.


Since you say you have leakage, as I read it, at the "sill above the window" - confuses me a bit, because the"inside and outside "sills" are the bottom ledges inside and outside the window, typically sloping down away from the window. Above the window you must be talking trim or a decorative lip or ledge, or maybe just protruding window frame.


Since you said this is a new window, and is leaking at the top of it, my first place to look would absolutely be the flashing and drip edge above the window. Below are a few links showing generally (differences with different types of windows and siding, of course) how the ice and water shield and the flashing and drip edge should be done around windows and exterior doors:


http://www.familyhandyman.com/windows...


http://www.finehomebuilding.com/2008/...


http://inspectapedia.com/BestPractice...


http://buildingadvisor.com/materials/...


BTW - because you said it is leaking at the top of the window frame, assuming you mean above the top of any moving component in the window, then the window unit itself is almost certainly not the source of the problem because a leak in it would not travel up to the trim or top of the frame. Problem has to be at the top of the window frame (flashing, dripedge, etc), or coming down from above in or along the wall.


4) If your roof has essentially zero overhang (they should string up architects who design building that way), without a dripedge flashing to direct any dripping away from the wall, it could be getting into the wall and running down the inside or outside of the wall, then in at a flaw in the window flashing or out to the window frame once it gets down through the interior of the wall to the window rough opening.

======


Sometimes you can pull trim or punch a small hole in the drywall over the window and look/feel around to see if coming down through the wall or in at the window - though above the window you need to check about 6 inches above to feel for wet insulation (a foot or more if cellulose or jeam material or such insulation) to determine if coming down in the wall or not.


Another solution is to rent a thermal infrared camera at home Depot or tool rental place or some auto parts stores (typically about $70/day range, some do half-day rentals) and use it to detect the wet areas in the wall/window area from inside and outside, to tie down the source. Many smart phones and tablets and laptops also have cheap Apps (comes with it or in the camera settings preferences on many newer Apple devices) that allow you to temporarily recalibrate the camera so it biases what it shows towards the near-infrared side of the spectrum, allowing you to get a rough picture of the heat in the wall. Not as good as a thermal camera but can work quite well in finding wet spots in walls and roofs and such, using it as a scanner in picture preview mode.


If unable to check this out yourself, some Home Inspectors do this sort of troubleshooting - and quite a few also have thermal infrared cameras. Otherwise, for some detective work and hopefully repairing the problem, probably a Handyman, because very few Window contractors these days will come out to do a single repair replacement, much less a repair or reflashing or caulking.


You can also find more previous similar window leakage questions in the Home > Windows link in Browse Projects, at lower left.

Answered 1 year ago by LCD

0
Votes

Hi,

This is Erick in Member Care. Thanks for your interest in Angie's List!

We'll be happy to help find top rated providers to fix your window and/or roof, but it doesn't look like you have a subscription to the List yet. You can join by visiting www.angieslist.com or by giving us a call. Our call center is available 8:00 am-9:00 pm weekdays and 8:00-5:00 pm ET on Saturdays.

Thanks for your question and we look forward to assisting you!

Source: 

Answered 1 year ago by Member Services

0
Votes

BTW - here is a link to another recent reply to a question about leaking around windows, which has links to quite a few previous similar questions, FYI -


http://answers.angieslist.com/leaking...

Answered 1 year ago by LCD

0
Votes

Thanks for the detailed answer.


I ended up putting some caulking on the window to see if it would stop the leaking and it seems to have worked. The contractor who put in the windows will be coming to check it today as well and do any repairs that need to be done.


My house is a modular home which is a bit unconventional. To see it from the outside it looks like it has a flat roof due to parapets that extend over the roof. The roof is actually pitched with a rubber membrane extending 3/4 of the way to the peak. There are no cracks or rips in the membrane or gaps in the panels. I had a roofing contracter look it over a month ago and he said everything looked good, but I had him coat the canales with silicon just to be extra secure about the roof. I also had some seamless gutters installed to catch the water coming out the canales to minimize soaking at the foundation.



Answered 1 year ago by Espinada

0
Votes

Sounds like you may have it solved - course, only the next blowing rain will tell unless you get brave and use a hose to simulate blowing rain on the window. Note that silicone caulk by itself rarely does the job ofr more than a couple of years if the window is exposed to more than very occasional blowing rain, because it typically keeps shrinking with age and peels away from the house a bit, leaving a crack for the water to get down behind.


For windows routinely exposed to rain or snow the flashing and caulk right at the top of the window should be the backup, with a "dripedge flashing" or "raincap" or "drip cap" above that to divert the vast majority of the water over the top of the window - like these images below. Easy to DIY install if you do not or cannot readily install the top edge under the siding as it is best done, instead embedding the face against the siding in caulk as it is nailed on to provide a seal, and being sure any channels in the wall (like with T1-11 siding) are thoroughly caulked to close off paths behind the drip cap. Obviously best if the drip cap goes up under the siding like first link (which can be done with lap siding after the fact), but after the fact that is not always easy to do so sometimes it has to go on the face as shown with various designs in the second link below, or even better for after-the-fact, a brim canopy like the third link -


http://joneakes.com/jons-fixit-databa...


http://www.buildingsciencelabs.com/ef...


https://doorbrim.com/product/door-can...


Answered 1 year ago by LCD




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