Andersen 200 Series Window Leak

nassauDecember 19, 2009

One of my Andersen 200 Series double-hung windows leaked during the heavy rain associated with tropical storm Ida in early November. This was a wind-driven rain of over 5" that pummeled the window from the Northeast for over a 2 days. The carpet was soaked with water under the window. There was no evidence of leaking around the window sash, sill or down the wall below the window. It appears that the water came through the interior of the wall and worked down to the subfloor which the wall sits on. The local dealer sent someone out to look and said the window appears to be sufficiently tight between the sash and jam and there was no obvious installation issue. I was able to duplicate the leak by holding a garden hose on the lower sash of the window for about 10 minutes. Since this is a leak inside the wall, I don't know if it has been leaking slightly for the past five years and I didn't detect it. I also don't know if the other windows are leaking and water is getting into the wall cavities elsewhere.

I have contacted Andersen and they say that there was a manufacturing change after my windows were manufactured in March 2003. There is a modification kit that they are going to install in the window that leaked without charge, but not the other windows unless I pay for the kit installation. Now they haven't actually looked at the windows or admitted that the leak is due to a defect in design or manufacturing, and I don't know if this will fix the problem. But it is a start.

Has anyone heard of this problem with the 200 Series double-hung windows? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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First you need to tell us if the window is the 200 Tilt-Wash or the 200 Narrowline because they are very different windows.

I have seen many 200 Tilt-Wash windows leak under the sill allowing water to enter the wall cavity and appear on the floor inside. This is because the sill does not slope and does not overlap the exterior wall cladding so water simply rolls over the sill nose and runs back to the siding and passes behind it. Sealant at this location works for a limited time and then fails as you might expect since sealant is never permanent - a fact that many window manufacturers and installers think is your problem not theirs.

I can tell you how to remedy this problem but I don't even know if this is the window you have.

Can you tilt the window sash toward the inside for cleaning?

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 7:18PM
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I believe the key phrase is "wind driven rain". From your description, it seems that the window and sashes were not leaking. The water came in around the window frame.

Get a ladder and examine the outside top of your window frame. I had this happen to one of my windows when the siding installer omitted the flashing at top of window. I suspect that the wind is driving water up under the siding and over the window frame. From there, the water can flow down the walls and window frame. There should be flashing covering the top of the window frame and extending up under the siding.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2009 at 12:40AM
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macy..... My windows are 200 series Tilt-Wash windows. The house is brick with brick sills. When the house was built Dow Weathermate house wrap was applied on the exterior sheathing and was flashed with Tyvek tape all around the window flange. The front edge of the window sill is caulked to the brick sill and the caulk looks good. I am anxious to hear your remedy to this problem.

jemdandy.... My hose test only sprayed the lower sash so it looks like the leak is in the bottom of the window frame itself.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2009 at 11:00AM
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Weathermate is an inexpensive woven perforated wrap. A far better material would be Weathermate Plus, Tyvek or Typar.

The flexible flashing should have been installed over the sill and jambs before the windows were installed as well as over the nailing flange of the window after the window was installed.

The sealant under the window sill should be carefully probed with a pointed tool to see if it is still OK. If it is silicone it might only be stuck to the smooth window frame and not the rough brick.

Does the brick sill slope downward and form a drip?

    Bookmark   December 22, 2009 at 11:12AM
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It is Weathermate Plus and yes the brick sill slopes properly downward. I probed the silicone sealant between the sill and brick and it is completely adhered to the brick and the sill. I don't know if the flexible flashing was installed over the sill and jam prior to window installation in addition to the flashing applied afterward. The carpenter who did the window installation also did the framing and is one of the best I've seen. So I assume he did the flashing around the sill prior to the window installation. I believe this is the commonly recommended installation method. But many installations aren't flashed properly and that causes many of the problems.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2009 at 2:28PM
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If the sealant is intact at all sides, the next most likely place for water penetration is where the window frame jamb meets the window sill. Perhaps the sealant there has failed or the PVC cladding joint has separated. As I recall this window has an unusual two-piece frame cladding and I'm not sure if it has heat welded corner seams. I do know that the sill is almost flat and any weak point would lead to water intrusion.

I suspect the kit from Andersen is a secondary sill stop that they add on the inside bottom of the window sash. This window should not have been installed in a high wind or rain area.

There is also a notice about faulty tilt hardware linked below.

Here is a link that might be useful: bad hardware

    Bookmark   December 22, 2009 at 9:14PM
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Thanks for the link, but that Andersen 200 series Tilt-Wash window Safety Notice applies only to windows made between May 25, 2000 and August 21, 2001. My windows were made in March 2003.

My best guess at this point is that water is coming through the window frame itself where the window jam meets the window frame sill. The local service guy will install the modifications after January 1. He described it as a "transition piece and additional weather stripping." I would really like to hear from someone who has had these Anderson window modifications installed, knows exactly what it looks like or has any written installation procedure for it.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2009 at 1:05PM
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It's probably an interior horizontal strip that would prevent water from being blown under the lower sash. That and the meeting rail are the most common leak points in storm zones. Of course, the glass seal can fail at the bottom of the sash too but that is usually pretty obvious. Sometimes you need to put colored paper towels in strategic locations so you can tell if water is getting in.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2009 at 10:36PM
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What was the outcome of this issue? I too have Andersen 200 Series double hung tilt wash windows made 2-2002 and 2 of them that faced the rain storm leaked today when a rain storm blew against the window like a fire hose. Water couldn't get out quick enough since the screens don't have venting holes so the water came right under the bottom of the window where it meets the sill. Soaked the carpet. Under neath my bottom sash, there is a black rubber strip that was just installed last year after we noticed none of the windows had them.. Andersen sent me 32 pieces to install.. Obviously that didn't help today. I noticed that some of my windows when closed, aren't 100% level. I see a larger gap at the bottom on one side than the other. Is there any way to adjust this and should the screens have drain holes?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 6:43PM
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I just built a new home 2011 using Anderson 200 series double hung tilt windows and I am having the same problem with water pooling under the windows after a wind blown rain. we are afraid to lay the hardwood untill this problem is fixed. The Anderson Rep only added a little sealant to the outside of the window on the left and right side. Any ideas?

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 8:44PM
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Haven't been back to this site for awhile but got an e-mail from another Andersen window buyer - still looks like Andersen is selling windows that let the outside in. My Andersen 200 series double hungs are great at letting the sunshine in as well as dirt and snow. Oh well - we just huddle around the fireplace all winter and stick pins in our Andersen rep voodoo doll. Come visit anytime, but bring your own firewood and warm blankets! New advertising slogan for Andersen - "We Let The Outside In!"
Don't believe me - I have photos!
Don't buy Andersen Windows or you will be very sorry!
They design these windows to fail and no amount of 'adjusting' will fix them. Buyer beware! Feel free to contact me for the real story about Andersen Windows.
Arlo Kallemeyn
cell phone 708-439-7316

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 10:49AM
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It is not fair to criticize all Andersen windows just because you bought their cheapest builder-grade model. Building design is full of pay now or pay later choices. Use the money you saved to repair the damage.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 8:50AM
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Andersen are not know for being airtight, same with pella. But yet consumers who dont do research still choose to buy them.. Go figure....

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 9:26AM
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Windows on Washington Ltd


While I agree with you that going with the least expensive is never a good idea, the reality is that Andersen 200's are the least expensive. They are maybe the least expensive inside that product line up (actually I think the 100's are but that is a sidebar) but they are by no means cheap windows nor should they be letting the outside weather in at this kind of rate.

Now, without seeing the project in question, there very likely could be install issues and other things going on but the idea that you saved money so now spend it to fix them on a 200 series window is not a fair rationale in my book.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 10:30AM
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