What would you do in this situation?

patricenyAugust 13, 2014

I live in a house that was just built about 2 years ago.

Up until recently, I would notice a small amount of what I thought was condensation on the window sills of north and west facing windows after heavy or windy rain. (Basically the sills were just damp enough to glisten, if that makes sense.)

A week or so ago we had a very windy thunderstorm roll through. After that I found standing water on the sills of 4 windows. The largest puddle was 14 inches long.....so obviously this is more than condensation. Apparently my new windows leak.

I have contacted the person who built my house. This is the same person who spec'ed the windows used. Hindsight being 20/20, I now wish I'd paid as much attention to the window details as I did on some other areas of the build. He used Ply Gem windows. (Yes, I can hear you all groaning now. )

He is allegedly contacting MW/Ply Gem, although his initial response was to basically tell me the leaking was normal behavior for a heavy windy thunderstorm.

So - does this sound like something that is actually "fix-able", or am I paying a heavy stupid tax for not researching quality windows before now?

If you were in my shoes, would you bite the bullet and get quality replacement windows now, or would you try to work with MW/Ply Gem first?

In case it isn't obvious, I'm not knowledgeable about windows and have no clue how to fix this or even where to start.

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You know the answer about the quality of your windows. However 2 year old window should not leak water and this is definitely not "normal behavior for a heavy windy thunderstorm". My gut reaction since I am assuming since he was the builder that he installed the windows as well, would lead me to believe and of course cannot tell from here but it sounds more like an installation error/lack of proper flashing detail to me than a manufacturing issue, which if the window rep shows up he will confirm for you. Did he by chance tell you what made him feel that it was the window that was leaking as opposed to installation?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 1:14PM
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Since he hasn't visited the house to check this out, I'm not sure if there is anything I can say that would let him know if it is a window failure (if failure is the right word), or an installation problem.

I got the sense he wanted to hear back from the window rep before he did anything else.

On one hand, it's probably reasonable to give him (or the window company) time to respond to this, but on the other hand I'm not at all thrilled with knowing my windows leak when there is a heavy rain.

Given the fact that all of the west facing windows leaked during that heavy rain, does that seem to indicate an installation problem?

Stupid question - and if it is an installation problem, would replacement windows even fix the leaking? Or is this something that requires pulling the siding and essentially doing a new installation of the windows all over again?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 3:07PM
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Windows on Washington

Are all the windows leaking...?

MW/Plygem window? What model? Pocket sill?

Do you have dirt and debris? Where is leak show (interior drywall return)?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 3:21PM
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Is every window in the house leaking? No. I have 6 windows that face west, and every one of those has had at least a damp sill (if not a standing puddle). I've also had a damp sill on one north facing window. The rest of the north facing windows (7) have never leaked, nor have any on the east or south side of the house.

The windows are all Ply Gem. It's a vinyl window, I can look up the model number tonight. I don't know what you mean by pocket sill. (Sorry. I have many skills, but obviously windows aren't one of them. :) )

No dirt or debris inside. The leak shows up on the window sills only, although I noticed this weekend that the hardwood directly underneath 2 of the windows has what may be some raised grain and cupping starting. I'm praying that's been there all along and isn't indicating the windows are leaking behind the wall.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 3:31PM
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Hopefully this picture will upload.

I know the water is hard to see against the white trim, so the rocks mark the outer edges of the puddle.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 3:44PM
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And here is a closer picture of another window that also had a standing puddle on the sill

This post was edited by patriceny on Wed, Aug 13, 14 at 15:55

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 3:54PM
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Windows on Washington

And it is coming from the window where the sash shuts in and not from the window head (top part)?

Post a picture of the sill of the window (the part where the sash shuts down on).

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 4:21PM
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I'll be happy to take a picture of that area for you tonight and can post that tomorrow.

Unfortunately I don't know where the water is coming in. All those puddles formed before I got home, and by the time I got home the heavy rain was over. None of the sides of the windows were wet though, no drips or wetness on any of the glass or trim anywhere but the sills. The prior times I thought I was feeling "condensation", it was in the corner of the sills - the same place that shows up as a puddle in the above picture. So I *think* it is coming in from somewhere along the sill, but haven't personally observed it to know for sure.

I'll take more pictures for you tonight. I really do appreciate any advise or wisdom anyone can offer. Short of going back in time and buying better windows anyway. ha-ha.

The windows are apparently called "MW classic double-hung", if that helps at all?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 11:49AM
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Windows on Washington

That is a bit much for condensation at this time of year.

Post up the pictures and it is time to water test these buggers.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 5:57PM
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I'll post a few pictures of what I think you want to see.

Hopefully it means more to you than it does me. :)

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 6:10PM
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Another view

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 6:13PM
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Windows on Washington

Is the screen sliding or take out?

Lift it up and see if the screen weep track is blocked.

It appears that you are getting enough trapped moisture on that sill that the will sill is filling up enough to overflow where the dam leg hits the main frame on the jamb.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 7:06PM
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The screen doesn't slide. It's a bear to get it out of there. I have to struggle to when I want to remove it - it's a full length screen and it's in there tight.

I think I understand what you are saying, and I also think it makes sense. The screen fits so tightly that any water getting between it and the window might not be getting back out.

Thank you!!!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 9:17AM
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