How to Repair Window Leaks


Leaks can occur around loose window panes, between sash and frame, and around the frame itself. The latter two types of leaks result from wood shrinkage or house settling. You can fix leaking panes by reputtying them. You’ll eliminate leaks between the sash and frame by weather-stripping.

TEMPORARY WEATHER-STRIPPING

Many air and water leaks in both wood and metal windows can be temporarily controlled by applying plastic continuous-strip weather-stripping material. Such strips are available from most hardware stores. If the leak is between the sash and frame, plastic weather-stripping makes it impossible to raise or lower the window after the job is done. Therefore, don’t use this material to seal a window or window section that you want to open. If the leak is between the window casing and wall or between parts of the window frame, use the material only as a temporary solution to air leaks. Don’t use it to stop a water leak in a frame since water will be forced into the structure of the house below the window and cause further leaks downstairs.

Window Leaks

PERMANENT WEATHER-STRIPPING

A drafty house is expensive to heat, as well as uncomfortable. To eliminate cold air leakage and reduce heating costs, weather-stripping is essential.

Weather-strips are made of metal, rubber, felt, or plastic. Metal weather-stripping is permanent and is the most efficient kind. The other types require replacement when they wear out. Metal weather strips are available in aluminum, zinc, or bronze. Rubber weather-stripping usually is made with the contact edge of foam rubber and the outer edge of metal and fabric woven together. Felt weather-stripping is made so that either edge is the contact edge.

It’s easy to apply rubber or felt strips. The contact edge must fall over the crack between the sash and the jamb. You need rust-resistant %-inch nails, spaced 2 inches apart. Apply strips at least ‘/2-inch wide to the inside of the lower sash, and at least 5/s-inch wide to the outside of the upper sash.

WOOD FRAME LEAKS

A leaking window frame might cause spots immediately around the frame or on the ceiling or walls of the floor below. The following method of waterproofing wood frame windows from inside the house often works.

First, remove the window casing and apron with a ripping bar at the point where the leak occurs. Use a piece of cloth under the shoulder of the bar so pressure doesn’t damage the wall. Force an oakum or jute rope into the exposed joint between the frame and wall with a screwdriver until the space is filled to within Vi inch of the surface. Then fill the space on top of the rope with caulking compound, which is available at hardware stores. Use a caulking gun to apply the compound. Then replace the casing or apron and refinish to match, if needed.

METAL FRAME LEAKS

If you want to conceal a metal frame in a wall by a standard wood casing, aprons, and molding, you might try the method suggested above. However, if a metal frame leaks, the cause is more likely rust or warpage than shrinkage. Metal frames, when correctly installed, aren’t likely to rust in the wall. So if they do, you should seriously consider replacing them.

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About the Author: Jason Prickett loves to write about home maintenance and stuff you can do yourself instead of hiring any professional. His step by step guides will assist you in completing your home maintenance tasks.

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