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How Can I Fix Window Leaks?

As we enter the summer season In Ontario, we know that this time of year often comes with heavy rains, high winds, and severe thunderstorms. For many homeowners, this season means they are preparing to manage leaky windows and limit water damage to their homes.   

Whatever the time of year, leaks from patio doors and windows can create significant issues to your home, ranging from cosmetic damage to paint and window frames, to serious structural issues and skyrocketing heating and cooling bills each month. Addressing water leaks in your home as soon as you notice them is extremely important and will reduce the risk of major damage and costly repairs down the road.  

What Causes Window Leaks? 

Understanding what is causing your windows to leak is an important first step in fixing the problem. Some of the most common causes of leaking windows include:

Normal Wear and Tear 

Most instances of window leaks are caused by the sealant breaking down over time. The most obvious sign of damaged or degraded sealant is the presence of condensation around the edge of your window during rain. The sealant may also appear discolored or damaged. 

Other typical wear-and-tear problems with windows include damage to the locking mechanisms, preventing the window from closing entirely. Replacing window hardware is generally inexpensive and relatively simple to do and in some cases will solve the leaking issue.  

Installation Problems 

If your window leak doesn’t appear to be the result of worn, or degraded sealant or faulty hardware, it’s possible that your windows were installed incorrectly. Significant gaps between the flashing, improperly fitted windows, or rusted or corroded nails can cause leaky windows.  

Avoiding window installation issues in the future will come down to ensuring that you hire an experienced professional to correctly install them. 

Flawed Design  

In some instances, a leaking window is not caused by the window itself, but by the design of your home and its exterior. A lack of overhang or cracks within an exterior wall can lead to ongoing leaking that is expensive to repair. Detecting a design flaw in your home isn’t always easy, especially as you may not notice anything is wrong until you have a water problem or leak.  

An experienced building inspector is trained to identify these types of flaws and determine whether they are contributing to leaking and subsequent water damage.  

Are You Sure It’s Your Window? 

Sometimes, water entering your home is misidentified as a leaking window problem but is actually due to missing shingles, wall cracks, and clogged gutters. These problems often direct excess moisture or cold air into your home. This is why it’s often important to consult a professional building inspector to discover the root cause of the issue before you go through the trouble of replacing your windows.  

How To Fix Window Leaks  

Once you have successfully identified what is causing your window to leak, the next step is to figure out how to effectively repair your window if possible, or whether it needs to be replaced. Some repairs can be relatively easy and inexpensive, whereas other problems can be costly and complicated to fix.  

Re-Seal Windows Thoroughly 

If you suspect that your leaking window is due to degraded or damaged sealant, it is possible to take on this type of repair yourself. It is important to do this work on a dry day with no rain in the forecast to ensure the sealant has enough time to dry and set. Simply strip the old sealant from around the edges of the window, clean the area thoroughly, and then reapply the fresh sealant in smooth, even layers.  

Replace Window Hardware 

If the window isn’t closing completely due to faulty or damaged hardware and mechanisms, replacing the hardware is a good next step. This can be done quite simply, and hardware replacement pieces are typically not very costly.  

Replace the Leaking Window 

The most thorough and effective way of fixing a leaking window is to completely replace it. This job is best done by professionals to ensure that it is installed and sealed correctly, preventing future issues.  

Call an Expert  

If you’re not confident in your ability to determine the cause of your leaking windows, or simply want the benefit of expert advice, you might want to call in a professional home inspector. At Building Insights, we bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to each job and are experienced at the identification of water leaks and underlying causes. We can help you determine whether your window leak problem is a simple fix or in need of a complete replacement, as well as identify design flaws and installation issues.  

Contact us today to receive your free quote or to schedule an inspection!  

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