Vinyl siding water problem

bri0822September 1, 2011

My house is about 18 years old with vinyl siding and builder's grade vinyl windows. The builders did not use Tyvek or any other moisture barrier, so the siding is right on the plywood. In heavy rain, I'm getting a lot of water beneath windows on the front of my house, and the plywood is very wet. Other parts of the house seem ok after rain (plywood under the windows is dry), it's just the front of the house that seems to be taking a real beating.

Does anyone have any ideas for fixes that would at least help this situation before I go as far as doing new siding/wrap/windows in the whole house? I live in eastern PA, so heavy rains are fairly common. Many thanks for any ideas.

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You probably have a leak around the base of the windows. Make sure the area around the edge of the windows is properly caulked.

Also if the windows are open to the outside, like maybe You have storm windows that are open, water may be accumulating behind the storm window and puddling. Make sure any outside panes are closed.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 3:58PM
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Sophie Wheeler

I disagree. The problem is most likely to be incorrect flashing. When windows are incorrectly flashed, rain come in at the top and runs down and enters the home at the sill area. At least with vinyl siding, you can remove it and fix the problem and then reinstall. You should at least have a vapor barrier on the exterior, like roofing felt, and the windows should be properly flashed to keep the water to the exterior of the roofing felt. The bigger problem is likely to be the rotten sheathing and possibly framing behind the siding that has been damaged by moisture all these years. This isn't a simple bandaid solution, but it is a DIY solution if you've got the time, some tools, and are willing to learn some skills.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 11:23PM
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Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated. I also have lurking fear that the moisture damage in the sheathing and framing won't be pleasant. I've only lived in this place a year, but I'm slowly discovering that the last owners weren't on top of these sorts of things...

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 9:48AM
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"The builders did not use Tyvek or any other moisture barrier..."

Tis is a BIG problem.

The siding is NOT waterproof;

Its job is to protect the drainage plane BEHIND the siding from sun and physical damage.

Tar paper was used for a very long time, but something needs to be there.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 11:51AM
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Thanks again to all. It looks like I'm leaning toward going big on this job - residing entire house, adding Tyvek, and replacing all windows. I'm now looking at Certainteed siding options and Andersen T400 windows, does anyone have any specific recommendations regarding windows or siding? I'm planning to go again with vinyl siding because my understanding is that as long as Tyvek is properly installed and all windows/doors are properly flashed, the water troubles should be over...

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 7:24AM
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Make sure you have some money available to repair any damage discovered under the siding.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 9:52AM
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