53 responses

  1. Greg Williams
    August 1, 2010

    We get calls frequently where the gutters were partially the cause for basement water damage.

  2. Window Signs Decals
    August 18, 2010

    Most problems with leaks are related to missing or improper flashing. Window Signs Decals Wholesale

  3. Home Repair Help
    September 18, 2010

    Very interesting article.

    Thanks very much for this well written post.

  4. Laura B.
    November 5, 2010

    I wish we lived in your service area… unfortunately, we're in the Philadelphia area. This is exactly what is happening with our windows at the front and back of our house. We had someone out a few years ago, and they simply caulked around the bottom floor window (2 hours of labor costs for 2 people and a $7 tube of caulk). Needless to say, the problem was not solved. Not being very handy ourselves, we struggled trying to figure out what the problem was, and were afraid to pay so much again to have the problem remain unfixed. Now that I have this information, I can discuss our leaking windows with more knowledge.

    A question, though… with the years of damage that we have, would you recommend contacting a local handyman, or is this a bigger siding/window company job? Is this something that a remodel company might handle? We are considering an addition on the back of the house, and I wonder if it might make sense to go with the remodel company we are considering for the addition.

    Thank you for your assistance. Your blog is wonderful!

    • MASTERMYLIST1
      November 8, 2010

      Laura-
      I'm sorry this has happened to you but the story is all too common. I'd recommend that the company you are looking at to do the addition also perform the repair. More than likely there will be significant wood rot repair and the need to re-flash and seal the windows. Not all handyman or home repair companies are skilled and equipped as we are to do these sorts of jobs, so I would think the GC you hire to do the addition might be the best bet. Although this article doesn't apply specifically to your area, the principles remain the same–I'd suggest you run this on any contractor before you hire them. It can be found here: http://www.mastermylist.com/consumer-education/th
      Good luck and let me know how it turns out for you!
      Don

  5. Cincinnati Water Dam
    November 28, 2010

    Got water damage calls this week after the heavy rain. 1 of them may have had to do with gutter issues. As stated above "unattended to gutter's" can cause major issues.

  6. water damage company
    August 19, 2011

    This is a very nice article guys – well written and great illustrations. I own a water damage company and we get a lot of calls in the Winter for water damage from bad window seals. i recomend having them checked before the rains start.

  7. scantrell
    October 11, 2011

    We have the same problem in Lexington Kentucky. However, it appears someone or a combination of someones were asleep at the wheel when building these houses. We have a situation where the builder did not install any flashings on any of our 24 windows; the building inspector did not check to ensure windows were flashed; the previous homeowner did not disclose window leakage problems to us when we bought the house; the house inspector overlooked the water leakage signs prior to loan closing; and now we are stuck with a $10,000 repair bill that includes replacement of rotten plywood underneath the brick and major brick removal to properly install window flashings and replace the rotten plywood. Who is responsible and why aren't consumers protected from major expenses such as these due to other folks fraud and negligence?

    • HandymanCincy
      October 11, 2011

      How old was your home when you discovered that the flashing was missing?

      • scantrell
        October 11, 2011

        The house was built in 2000. We bought it from the original owner in Sept. 2004. We just found out yesterday the flashing was missing. We have paid $$$$ to several folks to fix numerous leaks that first appear as water stains on the ceiling over the windows or in sophets above the windows. We've had water drain from the window and run into our basement ceiling panels. That took us several months to figure out where the water was coming from. One window was removed and a sealer was put around the frame, but the water eventually came back. There's a little roof over two of the windows that was removed and re-flashed, but since it had nothing to do with the little roof overhang, the leak came back. I guess all the duct tape or caulking they used when building this house in lieu of flashing finally gave way this year, and now all the windows that are on a brick wall outside are leaking. These window leaks have been loccurring over the years like a bag of popcorn slowly popping since 2004 and finally, in 2004 the whole bag has popped! :-)

  8. scantrell
    October 13, 2011

    Didn't purchase the house until 2004. Just discovered there's no flashing above windows, no weep holes in brick, and extremely poreous brick this week. Previous owners purchased from the builder. The builder went out of business in late 2000, right after the house was finished.

  9. H Trantham
    November 24, 2011

    I just moved into the house built by my grandfather in 1952 in central Texas. I had the interior reprinted in August, 2010. Now I see peeling paint on top of kitchen sink wood window frame, and on bathroom window frame and sill, and various other windows. Water also condenses heavily throughout house on all windows. I’m not sure where to start in identifying cause or solution, and would appreciate any suggestions. Can anyone help?

    • HandymanCincy
      November 28, 2011

      When I lived down in Oklahoma I had a similar problem… it could be a result of window condensation. You can either reduce the humidity level in the home, or replace the window.
      If the paint is peeling, there is likely a moisture problem. Before replacing the the window, I would recommend you have the roof and siding (or brick, if that is what you have there) inspected to see if there are any obvious signs of water intrusion above those windows. Leaks like this can be tough to find… so be patient… you may have the endure a “process of elimination.” Good Luck! – Don

  10. yeon
    November 29, 2011

    Great, informative article. I purchased a home 5 months ago and have since discovered that all the replacement vinyl windows leak to some degree or another. I've since learned the condition was pre-existing as the seller told me she had patched some drywall b/c "water came in". I've contracted with a window company to replace all the windows with “new-construction”; style windows (windows with a nail fin), where they’ll install the new windows by taking down the siding, putting in the new window and flash around it, and then re-install the siding. This way we can see if there’s any damage to the wood under the siding.

    My question is, should I be concerned with mold behind the drywall. There is no visible evidence of mold on the drywall from inside the house so hopefully we’ll get a better idea of a possible mold problem once the window guys start their installation. However, should I test for hidden mold in the wall cavity prior to the window install? Or should the window installers be able to remediate for mold once (if) they see it?

    Any guidance would be appreciated. TIA

    • HandymanCincy
      December 2, 2011

      Yeon-
      This reminds me of a massive job we just completed where many of the windows in the home were installed incorrectly–which allowed water to get in and cause mold growth and wood rot. In most cases the mold was minor–so we could simply cut out and throw away the damaged materials. Mold remediation laws vary from state to state–typically governed by the amount or type of mold encountered.
      I wouldn’t worry too much about this–typically mold tends to be worse on the inside than the outside… so if you don’t have mold growth on the visible side of the drywall… this is a good sign. Yes, you are going to have to “wait and see” when your windows are removed the survey the extent of damage. Let me know how this turns out for you!
      Don

  11. Rudy
    April 24, 2012

    How can I tell if the wall damage I see in my house is caused by leaking windows or termites? I believe the windows have been leaking for some time and that has caused the rather large damaged section of wood directly beneath the window but another member of my family is suggesting it is termite damage. is there any good way to tell the difference yourself before calling in professionals?

    • MASTERMYLIST1
      April 25, 2012

      Rudy-
      Water intrusion and insect damage go hand in hand. Usually, the moisture and rotting wood will attract bugs, as this becomes an easy meal for them. Do you see any “sawdust-like” remnants from the termites? Have you had termites in your home, or area before? Have you had an pest control specialist out to look at it yet?
      Don

  12. Chris
    May 12, 2012

    We’ve run into an issue with a leak above one of our windows. The leak only happens when it’s raining and wind blows from the south, about 5 times a year. We had someone come out to look at it and after reflashing it they left but the leak still happened. A few days of spraying a hose at the side of the house let us pin-point the leak as happening along the edges of the two windows the floor above and the water came out at the top of the window a floor below (after spraying water for 20 minutes). All of the windows have chunks cut out from the vinyl siding at the bottoms that we think is letting the water get through.

    Now we’re noticing some cracking around the sides of all of the windows, which is worse than our neighbors (all built in 2001), so we’re starting to think that we might need to replace them all. We live in Utah, very hot and dry. So here are our questions. How can we tell if the windows are installed incorrectly or if they just need repair? The windows look good from inside and outside. Also, is this something a handyman can take care of or should we go with a window company or general contractor for fixing all the problem?

    • MASTERMYLIST1
      May 16, 2012

      Chris-
      I’m sorry to hear about the problem you are having with your windows. However, it isn’t unusual. We see this every day out here in Ohio.

      Here is what I would do if I were you. Hire someone to take one window out and replace it to analyze how the windows were installed. This will tell you if the flashing and/or installation method was defective and whether or not it can be remedied without replacing all the windows.

      A general home repair/handyman company might be your best bet to solve this. Here’s why:

      1. They get most of their business from fixing other people’s mistakes, so the technicians tend to be better at problem solving than the construction worker/installer types.
      2. A window company rarely will do this sort of diagnostic work or single window replacement. Their incentive is to sell you all new windows… so guess what their recommendation will likely be?
      3. General contractors almost never touch these small jobs… and when they do, they are rarely good at them.
      4. If you decide that windows should be replaced, that home repair company will be happy to source them from a variety of manufacturers (i.e. they aren’t tied to the brand they manufacture or are a dealer for) that will best work with the condition you have in the home.

      Make sure to use my checklist, Three Golden Rules for Better Home Improvement to help you select a home repair company you can trust in your area. Keep in mind you should pay for the diagnostic time to disassemble/inspect the window opening, wrap, flashing, etc. on the house to figure out what is going on with these windows. The ‘free estimate’ in this sort of situation is merely a ploy to sell you a project that you may or may not need… so avoid that.

      If I were in your area I’d be happy to help… but it might be a few years before ProMaster has an office out in Utah!

      Please let me know how this works out for you!

      Good luck!
      Don

  13. Tyler @ HomeSpot HQ
    November 20, 2012

    Great article. I didn’t realize how big of a problem improperly installed windows are for leaks. It’s unfortunate that it isn’t just a matter of sealing the exterior with caulking.

  14. Tammy
    November 26, 2012

    We have an issue with window leaks. First our home was built in 2007 and finished in 2008. Within the first few months of moving in we experienced mold all around the window jambs. We have hired an engineer and figured that we have a multiple problems. We have had 4 sets of windows in our home. Mostly due to installation problems. We believe it all relates to improper installation even starting with the first windows. Now the final set we have is doing better but we have a replacement window in a energy start tight home. We have blue foam boards and then house wrap on the outside with a brick veneer. NO FLASHING at the beginning or now. They don’t want to install flashing….because we are at the replacement window stage and they don’t want to remove the brick. So they are wanting to seal our brick because of humidity and water going through the brick causing us window leaks. Did I mention no flashing…and guess what that house wrap is even wrapped into the window frame on the top of the window. They took off the jambs and cut into the dry wall into the worse window in the garage. And the window frame is setting in that area of the brick veneer partly and water is coming down that house wrap onto the frame and going where it wants. Will sealing the brick really solve anything?? Or is it a temporary issue. And our bricks have no weeps. We are in a big mess. Thanks!

    • Don Kennedy
      November 27, 2012

      Tammy-

      Yes, you do have a big mess.

      Where to begin?

      Keep in mind that brick veneer (sealed or not) is not intended to stop moisture. Hence why house wrap is required over the sheathing in conjunction with flashing to properly shed any water that penetrates the porosity of the brick and mortar. That flashing, as you correctly indicated, should be directed toward weep holes at the top and bottom of windows, as well as out the bottom course of bricks. Without this system of flashing and weep holes in place, you run the risk of trapping moisture in places where there is organic material for mold to feed upon. Sealing the brick might prevent much of the moisture in the first place… but it also might prevent any from getting out, as well.

      Not that I am against sealing the brick. We’ve done it many times for clients with pesky water intrusion problems. My concern in your case, however, is that we aren’t addressing the fundamental construction defect causing the problem.

      So my advice to you is to tear the brick out and properly flash each window… and have the weep holes installed.

      While this is invasive, it isn’t impossible. There was a major class-action lawsuit in my area a few years back where a builder’s subcontractor failed to flash windows properly–which led to a rash of mold problems like you have. The builder was forced to tear off entire sides of home and re-brick them. Homes aren’t like people… anything can be redone or repaired. The question is simply one of cost.

      Redoing all your brick is probably outside the realm of possibility unless you sue the builder or he agrees to do it. A more realistic compromise might be to hire an extremely skilled mason to rework a few courses of the brick in the problem areas around the windows… then re-flash them appropriately and install weep holes. This is precisely what I did on my home. It was built in 2006–and just like you, had some brick veneer issues that did not conform to code. We tore out most of the brick window sills in the home and re-worked them. Sure, they look slightly different than the rest of the house after tearing them out and replacing them… but at least they shed water correctly!

      Only after addressing the obvious water shedding issues would I seal the brick. Make sure you use the correct sealant for the type of brick you have and simply accept the fact you will have to repeat that sealant application every so often. (That interval could greatly depend on many factors… but in my experience I wouldn’t plan to exceed 10 years.)

      Then, I’d suggest you see if you can get a skilled home repair professional to install the new windows for you–not one of the window company’s run-of-the-mill subcontractors. In other words, find a company like ours in your area where they have craftsmen who deal with mitigating the affects of these sorts of construction defects. These craftsmen are going to have better ideas as to how the windows can be installed to mitigate your situation while satisfying the manufacturer’s installation specifications. In addition, ask these craftsmen about using as many synthetic products as possible. We’ve had great success in repairing all sorts of window sill and frame rot with PVC and some of the newer synthetic products–so if you currently have wood brick moulding or trim–I’d highly suggest you opt for these newer, non-organic materials when those windows are reinstalled.

      If you want to call me directly to discuss, our number is 513-724-0539.

      Thank you for your question… I’m very sorry this has happened to you. I wish you and your home well!

      Don

  15. Linda
    December 3, 2012

    I pulled up the carpet in our upstairs bedroom closet and noticed water stain & dampness to the plywood subfloor. The tack strip for the carpet was completely black in color. The nails were rusted. The dampness of the wood is the perimeter of the closet only. There are some little spot along the adjacent wall but the majority come from the closet. There is a window on the opposite wall of this closet. The exterior of the house is stucco. I caulked with polyerathane(spell??) sealant under 2 other windows on the opposite of this bedroom. Under the window the stucco seems to separate resulting in a cracked line. A roofer mentioned this to me and that why I sealed it. A huge storm came through over the weekend and the dampness of the plywood in the said bedroom reappeared. It appears most of you questions have to do with windows with wood exteriors. Since my house is stucco and I didn’t see any pull away from anywhere else along this window that I caulked. My question…it it possible my caulking only to the crack below the window is enough even though I didn’t see any other cracks along the windows? There is no water stains on the ceiling only the plywood under the 2×4’s. I’ve been struggling trying to find where this is coming from. I can’t seem to even find which direction it’s coming from to the closet. I even pulled the sheetrock out of closet, but nothing trickling down the vertical posts either. Can you help me please? Thank you.

    • Don Kennedy
      December 5, 2012

      Linda-
      I am so sorry to hear about your leak. Water leaks like this can be pesky to troubleshoot because there can be so many causes. Your stucco exterior may or may not be the cause of the problem.
      Since you mentioned stucco, however, there are several problems that can occur based on the type of stucco you have and region of the country you live in.
      In Cincinnati, Ohio, we see a lot of a product called Dryvit. It is a stucco-like product that also serves as an insulation. In some cases, however, when improperly installed, can lead to moisture problems because unlike other forms of veneer (like siding or brick) it doesn’t use a vapor barrier to prevent water intrusion to the wall sheathing. Small leaks can result in larger-than-normal water damage because Dryvit (being a great insulator) doesn’t let any of the water out like other forms of home siding.
      It may well be that a crack in your stucco exterior is allowing driven rain, or runoff to get inside the wall. Without any vapor barrier, water will eventually find a crack in the sheathing (or make one in time by rotting away the wood) and cause interior water damage like you’ve experienced.
      Instead of guessing at the problem, I would suggest three options for you to get to the bottom of the problem.
      Option 1: Find a professional home repair company in your area similar to ProMaster. Look for craftsmen that are asked to troubleshoot these sorts of problems on a routine basis. We often troubleshoot these leaks by duplicating them. That’s right, we get out the hose and start hitting spots on the house that are suspect and observe the result. Often times we also use a small bore scope camera to insert into the wall in places we can’t see. This isn’t quite “scientific” but it is inexpensive, non-invasive and usually pinpoints the problem so that we can zero in on what needs to be fixed.
      Option 2: Tear it all off and rebuild it. This approach is what most contractors will advise. They do so not because they just want to make a lot of money off of you. Rather, if they have any experience with these problems at all, they know leaks like this are tough to solve… and the only sure-fire way to get them is to reconstruct the offending area of the building. They have been burned in the past with attempts to save the client money by doing the least expensive, most obvious repair first. And when that doesn’t completely work, the client gets angry and demands the contractor continue to perform additional repairs for free until the leak goes away. So keep in mind repair contractors are in a “no-win” situation here. But, some of our clients do opt for the “replace everything” approach… as they demand that the problem go away on the first try.
      Option 3: Infrared Scanning. I read an article advocating the use of infrared cameras to diagnose problems like this. Unfortunately the equipment is expensive and requires some specialized training… and I haven’t been able to gain first-hand experience with it myself. One of my best friends is a home inspector here in Cincinnati and is certified to use his Infrared camera. You might want to call around to some home inspectors in your area to see if for a few hundred bucks they might be willing to come out and check out your home, take a few scans and see if they can pinpoint the pathway of the leak. Then you could hire a home repair contractor to perform the home inspector’s recommended actions.
      I hope my thoughts are somewhat helpful. Please keep us updated—we’d like to know how your problem got solved!
      Happy Remodeling!
      Don

  16. Erin
    January 14, 2013

    I have a window that only leaks in one corner when the rain is blown a certain direction. It has caused the drywall to fall off. How do I fix this?

    • Don Kennedy
      January 15, 2013

      Erin-
      It is critical to fix the leak first. Is the leak at the top or bottom corner of the window?
      Don

  17. Mike Mims
    April 3, 2013

    This is a really awesome website/forum you guys have to help people all across the country. So this is my problem. This leaky window is new, so I had the installers come out to have a look. Right above the window, no more than an inch, is a huge decorative board parallel with the top of the window. The board is just screwed into the vinyl siding, it is not built in. The window installers say that the leak is coming from the 4 screws holding the board up. My question is, why did it not leak before with the old window? My window is wrapped all around with this aluminum sheet metal, so I can’t see anything obviously wrong. All the chalking looks good. Is it possible that something was not done right behind the wrap? Is the wrap suppose to keep water out from getting behind it? Is it possible the wrap was done incorrectly? The leak is coming from the top of the window. It doesn’t leak every time it rains. Sometimes, it could be hard rain and there is no leak and other times, it could be light but windy rain and then it leaks. There is wrap in that inch space between the window and the decorative board. If I spray water at that, it doesn’t leak. But when I spray water above the decoration and let the water drip down, after 10 mins, water is everywhere in the house. What are your thoughts? Thanks for your time.

    • Don Kennedy
      April 8, 2013

      Mike-
      Every day we see a problem like the one you are having. There are so many errors made with window installations that cause leaks it would blow your mind. I believe you are on the right track… there is clearly a problem with how the house wrap interfaces with the window flashing. Your best bet is to have someone who knows what they are doing remove the window, correctly tie the wrap into the flashing, reinstall the window correctly and caulk it properly. Often times trying to fight a leak this bad with a series of band-aids ends up costing more money.
      Don

  18. Stefanie
    April 13, 2013

    First,I would like to thank you for posting the video on leaking windows. It has informed me a lot and made me somewhat knowledgable and how to proceed with my own leaking window problem. In my case water is also coming into the garage below the window area, Not sure if its also a flashing problem where roof meets wall? Any thoughts?

    • Don Kennedy
      April 25, 2013

      Stephanie-
      It sounds like it could be a flashing problem. Before removing the window, see if you can have the flashing on the exterior of the window inspected. If the area is not easily disassembled (as is the case with brick or stucco) then have a home inspector with a thermal imaging camera take some shots of the location while it is leaking… this will tell you where the problem may be so that a repair technician can direct his attention towards the best solution.
      Good luck!
      Don

  19. Amanda
    May 27, 2013

    I am at my wit’s end with a window leak in my home! We moved in nearly 5 yrs ago and for about 3 1/2 yrs, anytime there is a hard wind driven rain from the east (which has probably happened about a dozen times over the years) my front window leaks from the top of the frame. It is set in a brick veneer siding. It has been caulked so many times, that cannot be the problem. We see no signs of damage on the drywall above the window. Is replacing the window my only option, and is it possible that even then the problem will continue? I have a hard time even getting people out here to look at it. Am I calling the wrong type of contractor/handyman? Any info will be greatly appreciated.

    • Don Kennedy
      May 30, 2013

      Amanda,
      I am so sorry to hear that you’re suffering from this sort of window leak. Brick veneer and window installation errors and defects are unfortunately common. It sounds like the window was improperly flashed and/or the brick flashing and weep holes around that window are either missing or improperly installed. Your only option at this point is to take the window out, and probably a few courses of bricks as well and then reinstall them correctly. Believe it or not, I had to do this on several windows of my brand new house about 6 years ago because I wanted to avoid the exact problem you are having. I just discovered a brick home being built down the street from me with the same problem… no flashing and weep holes in the brick around windows… so it will have similar water shedding problems as you’ve experienced. As far as finding someone to help you in your area… I would suggest the more reputable (and yes, expensive) handyman/home repair companies … but when you call them ask them not “if” they will fix this… but “how many times in the past year” they have dealt with the exact problem you are facing. Some companies like ours deal a lot in this area of troubleshooting/repair because it is a common problem in Cincinnati while others focus mostly on just replacement. The same is probably true in your area… it will just take some time to find someone who is well versed in these problems, but will be worth it. Best of luck and let me know how this turns out for you!
      Don

  20. Susan
    June 3, 2013

    I live in Toronto, Canada and last week water was pouring into my finished basement from the basement window well. The water didn’t pool though but there are leaves in it and the gravel isn’t as high as the concrete ledge and there is no cover on it. I spoke to a basement sealer guy and he said that it was probably the drain in the window well. My son thinks it’s a crack in the foundation and wants to dig it all up and waterproof it. What do you think?

    • Don Kennedy
      July 9, 2013

      Susan-
      It could be either problem. I’d start by installing a drain in the well and making sure it connects to the drain tile or is carried away from the foundation. If that doesn’t work, then you can invest all the money to excavate the side of the foundation and seal it.
      Good luck!
      Don

  21. Jerry Innis
    August 1, 2013

    I’m in the process of having my wood siding redone, and there was a bit of wood rot ( trim and siding )found at the lower corners ( only )of two windows, not too bad though. The windows( vinyl replacements done about 13 years ago) were not flashed. The people doing the siding say that just flashing the window properly should take care of this problem for the future. I was reading somewhere that all vinyl windows will eventually leak. Does the recommendation of just flashing the existing windows make sense, or could it be defective windows. Thanks!

    • Don Kennedy
      August 7, 2013

      Jerry-
      Great question. I suppose it is a true statement that all windows will leak eventually. In 50 years? In 200 years? In 5,000 years? I suppose what it comes down to is what a reasonable expectation is regarding the lifespan of a window.
      The cause of window leaks is most often related to improper window installation, not necessarily failure of the window itself. So yes, flashing the windows properly will do wonders for resolving leaks and preventing water damage and rot.
      If the window itself still looks solid, the glass is still good, and you are happy with its looks and performance, I wouldn’t replace it just because it is 13 years old.
      Don

  22. Valerie D
    September 4, 2013

    I have a window leak and I cannot figure out where it is coming from. It only occurs with a driving rain full on to the window. The area at the bottom of the window starts overflowing onto the interior window sill and down the wall onto the carpet. The problem has been there since the house was built but does not happen too frequently because we do not get that much rain here in Arizona. There appears to be runnoff slats on the exterior of the window but I cannot tell if it is blocked or not (that was the problem with another window I have). Got any ideas.

    • Don Kennedy
      September 16, 2013

      Valerie-
      Sorry to hear about your window leak. I know this sounds like a strange question… but I have to ask… are you sure the window was installed with the correct orientation? Sometimes we see windows installed upside down or inside out.

      Assuming that isn’t the problem, then check to see that no one has caulked over the weep holes at the bottom, exterior of the window. This could block the exit of any water that makes it past the seal and if it has no way to drain out, will back up into the window sill.

      After you check those two items, let me know what you see.

      Don

  23. Venky
    September 24, 2013

    One of the window on the front side of the house leaks whenever there is heavy rain. It leaks at the top of inside window. The outside of the house is covered with stone veneer. Couple of handy men applied caulk in the past, but no use so far. The house is in Columbus, Ohio. Who actually fixes this leak? Handyman or Window installer? Are there any best contractors to identify the leak and fix once for all? Thank you.

    • Don Kennedy
      October 2, 2013

      Venky-
      Thanks for the question. It is interesting that you just emailed me from Columbus, Ohio. We are working on a job there now where a gentleman had a similar problem with several of the windows on his home.
      He has both stucco and stone veneer around some of these windows and when he experiences driving rain, the windows leak. He has invited several contractors in his area to the home to help solve the problem—to no avail. So he invited us up from Cincinnati to solve the problem.
      In most cases windows leak as a result of poor installation. In the case of this gentleman in Columbus, one of the windows was in fact installed upside down! Usually, however, the leaks are a result of poor flashing installation or integration of that flashing within the veneer or siding of the home. Stone and stucco facades tend to be extremely problematic in this part of the country. Why that is… I am not sure. I can only surmise that because these materials are not as common as siding and brick construction that possibly construction workers and remodelers are not familiar with the appropriate procedures and techniques for their installation.
      At any rate, to stop your leak my best advice would be to hire an extremely experienced, multi-disciplined craftsman with a lot of home repair experience.
      A homeowner might think that a window company would be the best fit to solve a window problem. While that makes sense on the surface, the problem is that these companies tend to avoid repair work (as it isn’t profitable for them) and their installers tend to be trained to do one thing well—and that is to remove and replace windows… quickly and efficiently. Often these companies do not have craftsmen on staff who have built homes—which helps a lot when troubleshooting leaks, as the craftsmen can spot construction defects or deterioration in all the parts of the home that might lead to a leak.
      A good craftsman with a handyman or home repair company will know how the framing, flashing, window and façade all work together to shed water. And given that the majority of work he sees is repairing or troubleshooting problems like this, he is more apt to be able to help you find the source of the problem.
      One of the questions to ask when you are calling around to these handyman or home repair companies in your area is how many of these sorts of jobs they do in a month. What you want to also learn is do they have (or have access to) any special diagnostic equipment to help them troubleshoot the leak. For example, we at ProMaster occasionally will use scope and infrared cameras to help diagnose or pinpoint the source of a leak.
      My best advice to you when troubleshooting and repairing a window leak is to start with the most conservative approach first and then work your way up from there. In other words, take an iterative approach, be patient, and observe the difference each action makes. For example, start with a proper inspection for flashing or installation defects. Then ensure you’ve got a good caulk job on the window perimeter and all weep holes are clear.
      If the leak persists, have your home repair professional perform a leak diagnostic. This need not be fancy, as a good old-fashioned garden hose will do the trick. The idea is to simulate different types of rain driving from different directions and volumes. This is where a scope or infrared camera can help in some cases. The hope is to recreate the leak so one can identify the source and repair that without expensive and invasive repairs.
      In some cases, however, the windows must be replaced. In your case with a stone veneer this can be extremely expensive because some of the stone itself must be removed if one wishes to properly flash the new window upon installation. We’re dealing with this problem with the gentleman I mentioned in Columbus. Some of his windows were never installed or flashed properly and installing new windows won’t solve his problem. So we have to tear out some of the surrounding stucco and rebuild the system correctly. This is obviously more expensive and invasive, but the only way to solve the leak.
      I hope these thoughts were helpful to you. Good luck with finding and solving the leak!
      Take care

  24. Don
    October 29, 2013

    Thanks for this webpage, very informative photos and video!
    The photos helped me diagnose my window, that it was in fact leaking. I thought it might be the gutters above the window, but there was no ceiling water damage or water damage above the window.

    • Don Kennedy
      November 5, 2013

      Glad to hear we could help!
      – Don

  25. Osman
    May 3, 2014

    I spent over 215k for my home built in 2000. hired an inspector and obviously paid him. windows south side of home leaks and needless to say i am upset about the situation. I think the previous owners were dishonest and our inspector did a not so good of a job. Thanks for the ideas and i wished you were located in MO, which is where i live.

    • Don Kennedy
      May 13, 2014

      Osman-
      What have you done thus far to attempt to fix the problem?
      Don

  26. Dan
    May 19, 2014

    Thanks for the info…could use you guys in Virginia. I’m an Angie’s List member but I’m not sure what to search for. If I were to search for you guys, would you be under “handyman” or something else? I want to make sure I get the right people and not just a handyman that does odd jobs if you know what I mean.

    • Don Kennedy
      May 20, 2014

      Dan-
      Great question. I think the term ‘handyman’ plus your geographic area would certainly work to get started in finding a home repair professional. You could also try searching for the specific service you need, like “wood rot repair cincinnati ohio” for example. In any event, Angie’s List is a good place to check out a potential service provider, but don’t forget to use great sites like GuildQuality.com and bbb.org. Both Guild Quality and the Better Business Bureau have search engines on them now as well where you can search for a reputable contractor that does what you need in your area.
      Take care!
      Don

      • Dan
        May 21, 2014

        Thanks for the quick reply. I was able to find what appears to be a reputable handyman (they’re a franchise). I was told that they would do a leak test by hosing down the window. Just out of curiosity since your video above doesn’t mention it, how does one go about doing a leak test? I’m asking because I found this website from a fellow in Chicago who specializes in windows and he has what looks like some kind of contraption and talks about window water testing standards. He’s probably geared more towards office buildings than residential, but I want to make sure the leak test is done right by whoever I contract with. Thanks in advance.

  27. Darcy
    August 1, 2014

    Hi! Great website!
    We hail from Alberta, Canada, and have experienced leaking from our windows after a driving rain from the west, and we live facing a lake so… We had wet carpeting once before in front of the windows under similar weather conditions but we thought it was caused by an outdoor electrical plug that hadn’t been caulked. Obviously that wasn’t the problem! As our house is only three years old, the builder came in to look and do what he could on the same day. It appears that the vinyl has shrunk on top of the windows wherever there are mullions, leaving large gaps and allowing moisture to enter, travel behind the wall and then gets absorbed by the carpet. The inside of our window bench was also a little damp. The builder also pulled off the bottom interior window frame and wood behind was also wet. He called the window peole and they are coming to look today ( a week later). New vinyl has already been ordered.

    I am wondering now though if repairing it enough? Should the carpet be pulled up? Should the window box be replaced? Should anything else be investigated? My husband has now noticed gaps all around the house. We don’t if or how long water has been seeping in. It’s only because of the driving rain that we discovered it. It took us all week to dry out the carpet sopping it up with towels initially and running our ceiling fan on high. I guess we should’ve been doing a lot more.

    Frustrated and nervous in Alberta!
    Darcy

    • Don Kennedy
      August 11, 2014

      Darcy-
      Sorry to hear about the gaps in your home. I’m assuming that you have vinyl siding all around these areas of concern, correct? If the windows were properly flashed in conjunction with the installation of house wrap (which acts as a vapor barrier) the small gaps in siding are of huge concern.

      Are you able to see house wrap behind the siding?

      Don

  28. Theresa Thomas
    August 18, 2014

    Hi Don,

    This website was so helpful and well done. Thanks for the information. I have a question for you. My husband and I have been looking for houses for months now. We are on the cautious side and have rejected multiple homes because of cost, water problems, poor craftsmanship, etc. We found a house that we like but noticed on the second visit back that the paint is cracking and peeling badly near the window. It’s unclear what exactly the extent of the damage is; however, it’s clear that the window leak is the source. What is your advice? Should we not even consider putting an offer on a house with window leaking causing water infiltration? Or is this a semi-typical issue that can be resolved?

    Thanks,
    Theresa

    • Don Kennedy
      August 19, 2014

      Theresa-
      Great question! Keep in mind no home is perfect… new or old. As with any defect you spot in a potential home, talk with your realtor about putting in a contingency for those items in the contract. Then hire a professional, qualified home inspector to take a look at those items and provide repair recommendations. Give those repair recommendations to your home repair professional to provide repair cost estimates and either negotiate the sale price accordingly or give the seller the opportunity to fix them.

      Alternatively, if the seller is open to having your repair professional drill some small holes in the wall, they can insert a scope camera behind the wall near the window to see how bad it is a leaking and attempt to determine the cause. If the windows are old, it might be worth simply replacing them, so that they can be re-flashed and sealed properly.

      Good luck and thanks for the question!

      Don

  29. Julie
    October 10, 2014

    Hi Don,

    I am from Michigan and we are having what we think might be a window leak, but we aren’t sure. Whenever we have hard, driving rains, we get small drips the come from what looks like above the glass block basement windows. When we originally noticed the problem, we had really old windows and so we had the windows replaced with glass block windows in May. However, we still have the problem during hard, windy rains. And it happens above all 3 basement windows. Our house is painted brick and was built in the 60’s. After replacing the windows didn’t work, we went around the house and filled in any voids that we saw that could potentially allow water to come in. However, that has not fixed the problem either. My concern now is that when we did have the windows replaced and we explained to the men what was going on, they suggested we spray foam insulation in the space between the top of the window and a wood “joint” (for lack of a better term) to prevent air and moisture. However, we are still getting the drips. My concern is the potential (if any, I’m not sure) of mold/rotting going on in the area above where we put the foam. Obviously water is still getting through, so maybe the water isn’t drying out fast enough and is causing damage? I know that we need to fix this issue, I’m just at a loss as to how. We have had several people come and take a look and nothing has worked so far. Anything you can suggest would be great.

    Thanks,

    Julie

    • Don Kennedy
      October 15, 2014

      Julie-
      I sent you an email for you to reply with some pictures of the windows. I can’t quite picture you setup from the description, so if you can snap some pictures from each side that would help me direct you down the right path to resolving your leak.
      Thanks!
      Don

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