One of the most common complaints among people living in old houses is leaky windows. This is not an unusual problem in homes with windows that have been in place for over 30 years. With older windows, the most cost effective solution to drafty windows is a new window replacement, preferably from a company that offers a lifetime warranty for the best windows installation.
Casement windows replacement can help to eliminate many problems that arise in the cold months, including cold air drafts and condensation. In severe cases, condensation can cause water to collect on the windowsill or floor. Subsequent problems may include the growth of mould and structural damage, such as rust and rot.
Some of the common causes of condensation and window leaks include:
- Poor window installation and insulation
Condensation arises when the warm air inside your home mixes with cold air outside. Poor window installation or poor insulation can allow the cold outside air to enter around the windows and condense. You can access the insulation by removing the interior trim. This problem can be addressed by spraying the right amount of low-expansion foam.
Keep in mind that making your home too airtight can also cause condensation. Ideally, your home should be designed with openings that allow for ventilation when the doors and windows are completely shut. But with insufficient air movement, condensation can occur. So, consider opening a window slightly and installing high quality exhaust fans to expel damp air inside and let in fresh air from outside.
- Intricate window layout with poor insulation
There are many different window styles, including non-conventional ones, such as bay windows, bow windows, and tall windows. While these styles offer numerous aesthetic and functional benefits, they should be properly installed with the necessary sealants, flashings, or overhangs to prevent water penetration. These windows are more exposed to the elements than standard windows, and extra insulation and protection is necessary to keep wind-driven rainwater from pushing through the windows.
- Damaged window sealant
Gaps or cracks in the caulk or window sealant could be a source of air leaks in your windows. You should identify the damaged areas and re-caulk or apply weatherstripping around the window to seal these gaps. Access the repaired areas during the next rain storm to assess the effectiveness of the repair work.
- Worn out glass seal
If you notice some water collecting inside the window panes of double or triple paned windows, it could be due to a bad glass seal. This is not necessarily an indicator of water getting into your home. However, the damaged seal could have allowed the gas between the panes to escape, causing the insulating properties of the window to diminish.
- Poor flash installation
In some cases, stains that form at the top of the window frame could actually not be window leaks but leaks in the wall due to poorly installed flashing. To prevent water from penetrating the walls, it is necessary to have solid integration between the window, building paper, and flashing.
Poorly installed or damaged flashing could result in breaks in its surface that allow water to seep through. This problem can be corrected by installing stretchable flashing as a single continuous piece rather than patches that create weak points. It is important that you don’t substitute the window flashing material with building paper or housewrap. Using the right material ensures superior water protection and reduces the risk of damage caused by leaky windows.
- No paint seal
The exterior moulding that keeps the window in place should be painted in such a way that the paint slightly overlaps onto the pane. This looks like an unusual rule considering that every effort is made to prevent paint from getting on the glass. However, creating a continuous membrane of paint from the moulding onto the pane forms a waterproof seal to prevent moisture from getting through.
How to prevent window leaks
The first step to preventing window leaks from ever becoming a problem is getting the best windows installation services. It is important that you only work with experienced and certified window replacement contractors that offer warranties on their services.
Besides proper installation, you should ensure that your windows have superior weather resistance properties that may include moisture-resistance materials, thick multi-chamber sub frame elements, and fusion-welded sub frames. There are many new technologies that enhance the ability of windows to withstand damage and reduce the likelihood of air drafts, which you should discuss with your contractor when getting replacement windows.
Keep in mind that there are many styles to choose from when looking for replacement windows, from single- and double-hung windows to awning and casement windows replacements, and many more. Your choice of leak resistance windows should be Energy Star rated for optimal energy efficiency. Otherwise, you can choose vinyl-clad, wood, aluminum, or fibreglass windows to suit your preferences.