Warning Signs That Your Home Has a Serious Window Leak

Warning Signs That Your Home Has a Serious Window Leak

As the owner of a home repair company, I’ve seen an alarming trend of homeowners reporting window leaks. These leaks often result from improperly installed windows or poor home construction techniques that prompt the need for expensive, premature repairs. The following article reveals the warning signs that every homeowner can use to determine if they have a serious window leak.

Tell Tale Signs of a Window LeakVisible moisture on the interior of your home in the vicinity of a window is a rather obvious sign of a window leak. But often there are more insidious window leaks who symptoms take far longer to spot. Unfortunately, these symptoms arise after significant damage has occurred. The description (and pictures via the link at the end of this article) will help you spot those problems before they can cost your thousands of dollars in preventable home repairs.

Case Study on the Damage from Leaking Windows

To illustrate how a small, insidious window leak can cause enormous frustration for a homeowner, let’s examine a case study from a recent client that we helped in Amelia, Ohio-a suburb of Cincinnati. This home was about 8 years old, and like many tract homes built in the Cincinnati area, have 2-story great rooms with windows composing much of the exterior wall. While this is a wonderful architectural feature, the vinyl siding and construction techniques used in these homes do not generally prevent a large wall of windows like this from leaking.

The homeowner reports fighting window leaks in this part of the home since shortly after purchase, and indicates that the builder could not resolve the problem. In addition, her neighbors are experiencing similar problems. While one can’t automatically conclude that there is a common building defect in these homes, it is a clue that should lead any home repair professional toward examining the flashing or window installation quality.

Window Leaks Often the Result of Inferior ConstructionIn the case of this homeowner, her window leaks are the result of improperly flashed windows and the absence of house wrap. Flashing is simply material used to shed water away from areas particularly vulnerable to water intrusion. House wrap is just what it sounds like-a material that covers the wood sheeting and prevents any water that sneaks in behind the brick or siding from soaking the wood it “wraps.”

From the pictures (link at end of article) you can see how the absence of proper window flashing and house wrap has allowed the water to penetrate and rot out the wood around the windows while causing significant drywall and insulation damage. More alarming is the mold growth on the wood framing and drywall around the windows inside the home. Aside from the annoyance of water coming in the home during a rain storm, mold growth presents an unacceptable health concern to the family living inside.

If You Suspect a Window is LeakingIf you suspect or witness a window that is leaking, there are several things you can do to assist your home repair professional with diagnosing and resolving the problem. During the next rain event, ask yourself the following questions and note your observations:

Does the window always leak when it rains? Or does it only leak during a heavy rain shower?

Does the window leak when the rain is being driven by wind from a particular direction?

How long has the window been leaking? Can you identify any event associated with the first time you noticed the window leak? (i.e. significant storm, ice event, extreme winds, etc.)

Has the leak worsened? Or has it remained consistent over time?

Have you attempted to stop the leak? If so, what has been done? Has that helped?

If you can obtain this information, find out who built your home and when it was constructed.

Help With Window Leaks

To learn about how you can recognize the warning signs of window leaks in your home, view the video and pictures associated with this article at: