How to seal gaps in windows? Picture!

eldemilaFebruary 18, 2010

All over the house I just bought, I notice sliver type gaps here and there. Is using caulk the best way to seal them up?


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What am I looking at in the attached photo?

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 8:33AM
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it's the very bottom of the storm window, the bottom of the frame where it meets the sill, there are slivered gaps of various sizes in all of the storm windows.

Hope this better explains, if not can take another pic


    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 10:14PM
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Yeah, that's such an extreme close-up, I'm not clear on whether the storm window slides into place from above, or friction fits, or...?

Anyway, if it's a storm window, I presume you want them to remain easily removable. If so, I'd use weatherstripping instead of caulk, as the caulk will glue them in place.

OTOH, if you have caulk laying around, you could MAKE weatherstripping OUT OF the caulk; i.e. pencil-mark the area of storm frame that has a gap, remove frame from window opening, apply caulk along gapped portion, perhaps flatten the caulk bead a bit with a wet finger, ALLOW CAULK TO DRY, then put storm window back in place.

No shame in a good jury-rig, using materials at hand, lol.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 4:00AM
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I'm going to get a picture, promise. I'm "borrowing" an open internet connection until I can get established and it's spotty, at best.

There are white wood framed interior windows, the bottom slides up and down, the top is fixed. On the outside of the house are the aluminum windows, 2 glass panes that both move on seperate tracks and a screen on it's own track. They are permanent from what I can see.

I saw there is some type of rope caulking instead of the tube type, wonder if I can find and use some of that to fill in the gaps?

Will get that pic up later.


    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 7:51AM
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Hope this better explains things.

Picture of inside window-white wood frame

Picture of aluminum storm ? window behind closed white window

closer view with window open

Another sliver type gap

    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 10:46AM
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A good quality silicone caulk would work the best in my opinion. There is nothing there to interfere with moving parts and the only reason to remove the storm window would be to repaint and the caulk would be easily removable at that point.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 11:51AM
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I see trees... and a river... nice. North Florida?

So do I understand the aluminum storm windows slide vertically, and though mounted in a permanent track/fixture, you will want to slide the storm panes up during nice open-windows weather?

Yes, there is rope caulk of various shapes/cross-sections, e.g. a round bead with a wide thin flange--the flange is used to tack/glue the "caulk" in place, and of course the thick round part seals the gap.

Is it a rope-caulk? Is it a weatherstrip? It's semantics, mostly, lol.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 1:48PM
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You may want to reconsider sealing the storm windows at the sill. By its nature, a storm window is not weather tight. If you seal the bottom of the storm to the sill of your prime window, you will be creating a water dam. Also, by trapping the water could lead to condensation between the two units.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 4:16PM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

+1 on trapping the water.

You may create more of a problem than you suspect.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 4:56PM
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We have old storm windows similar to yours in our 1920's home. I'd guess ours are original, if they had storms that far back. Our storms have small notches, "airholes", at fixed increments, designed that way for water drainage for the exact reasons mentioned above. If you seal that opening, there is no drainage. I'm with the others - let it be.

If the gap is larger than it was intended to be, and you want to minimize access for perhaps unwanted insects, you could apply some caulk, but make sure you are still leaving an opening for proper drainage, and that water doesn't pool as a result.

In the winter months, for those windows that tend to be drafty, we put a towel in between the windows.

Good luck. Welcome to your new home.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 9:13PM
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Fixin - what drugs are you taking - I want some! LOL! Any relation to Miss Cleo?

There's a wooded lot outside my bedroom window - no river, only another house on the other side of the wooded lot, and thank goodness it's NOT anywhere remotely close to Florida - where I'm moving from!!!!

The windows do slide up and down, at least the ones I've tried. I was just trying to figure out how to seal the gaps, and now see there's contraversy if it should be done.

Okay, so maybe I'm missing something here to those who said don't seal the gaps. The two panes of glass are to the outside of the house - how the heck is water going to penetrate in front of them, between the pane of glass and the inside window? I can see if I have the window up and the screen down to open the windows for fresh air, or when I use the whole house fan (if I figure out HOW to use it) and it rains, sure, the water can come in if the winds blowing right, that will happen to any window, just about.

Wouldn't the mfg make some small holes for drainage if a window needed a small drainage hole, instead of having gaps here and there?

So, what am I missing here???

    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 9:42PM
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If you left the house for the weekend and oops...forgot to close the storm rained, that water sits all weekend, you now have potential water damage that leaks into your walls and floorboards.

I think the idea is that those older storm windows weren't designed to be watertight to begin with, but ideally, with any storm window you have to consider the possibility of water penetration (when left open), so I'm assuming, though I'm no expert, that drainage holes in any storm window in this day and age would be a matter of building code.

I had a couple of storm windows replaced in our kitchen maybe three years ago...the new storms have small drainage holes at the bottom.

I'm guessing you have really old windows and that's how they installed them at that time to prevent water damage, OR if your house is old perhaps the wood frame has warped and changed shape over time, leaving a larger than the original gap at the bottom.

We had to remove and reinstall our original storms when we had our windows trimmed out, and the contractors caulked along the frame at the top and both sides, to create a seal, before reinstalling the metal frames. They did not apply caulk at the bottom.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2010 at 12:51PM
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Ok in my original post i recommended caulking the gaps as they seemed fairly large and you do not want to get an abundance of bugs in the house. What i neglected to say and should have was that there are weep holes int he bottom of the storm and by no means do you want to seal them. The opening your pictures show are definitely not supposed to be there and I see absolutely no problem in sealing them.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2010 at 9:40AM
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