Fix a Water Leak in a Window Corner
LESLIE: Talking windows with John in New York who listens on WABC. How can we help?
JOHN: I have a 4×4 picture window which is insulated and I bought two years ago. And at the bottom corner especially it leaks water, I would say, during the warmer months of the year. During the winter it hasn’t leaked.
LESLIE: And it’s always – you’ve seen this leaky condition the entire life of the window or this is a new situation?
JOHN: It began, I’d say, almost immediately; you know, maybe three or four months.
LESLIE: Was it installed in the season where you have the problem or was it installed in the winter and then you saw the problem in the summer?
JOHN: It was installed in September of that year.
TOM: John, what kind of siding do you have?
JOHN: I have asbestos shingles.
TOM: Because obviously there’s a problem with the flashing here. And what we’re going to recommend is that you remove those asbestos shingles and that doesn’t sound like it’s as terrible a job as you might think. There are – there’s a trick of the trade to removing asbestos shingles and that is to not try to pry them off as you would if it was wood clapboard or any of the other type of siding. Basically you take a nail set and you drive the nail that’s holding the shingle actually through it to the other side and sort of pull the shingle off and use a slightly larger nail to put back in. But once you pull the shingles off you’re going to have to redo the flashing around the windows. And there are new high-tech flashing materials that can help you with that.
LESLIE: Because it sounds like it’s a movement issue. As things are expanding and contracting seasonally, the flashing just doesn’t cover the gap that needs to. So there are more flexible membranes that are going to move and adapt to situations depending on the climate, as the building shifts, that’ll really help alleviate this problem.
TOM: You know, Grace makes a lot of really good, flexible flashings. Their website is GraceAtHome.com. And these are premium, high-tech flashings that can kind of go around unusually shaped areas, like around windows and doors, and seal out the water. But obviously this is a flashing problem. It probably gets worse when you get rain from a certain direction. It’s not that unusual. But the best way to fix this is to stop caulking and things like that, John, and just take the siding off and reflash it and then replace the siding.