Sealing at Windows and Door Frames

Detecting Leaks Around Your Windows

seal leaking

Seals which are broken, pulling away, missing or which are damaged as a result of ageing or long-term weather exposure will cause windows and doors to leak. Furthermore, the sealant or window putty used to seal the glazing beads on wooden windows may crack and allow moisture into the gazed areas of your windows. In addition, when the glazing putty on your steel windows cracks or a section falls out moisture will corrode the steel window frame.

These are the most obvious areas where leakages occur!

However, the most undetected area for leaks at windows is the junction between the window frame and the brickwork, plasterwork and window sill. As a matter of fact, it is one of the most common defects that I have found on both new and older homes.

There are multiple ways to detect leaks around your windows and doors:

  • On the outside of your home, check the areas where two different materials meet. This includes your door and window corners and frame.
  • Look for cracks in the door itself and in window panes.
  • Examine the existing caulking (sealing) and window weather stripping and weatherboards on doors. Make sure both are in good condition. In addition, leave no gaps or cracks.
  • If you can see daylight around a window or door frame, there will be a leak.
  • Shut a window and check for gaps in which you can insert the paint scraper. If you can easily insert the scraper under the closing part of the window, it is probably not watertight!

Types of Window Caulk

The sealant used to seal windows is the caulk. Furthermore, caulking is the action of sealing the windows doors and so on. For one window, homeowners will likely use a half-cartridge of caulk. Also, be sure to use a UV resistant caulk for external caulking. Similarly, you will need to use an acrylic caulk if you are sealing around the edge of the frame on plastered and painted homes. Additionally, your local hardware or paint supplier will be able to give you advice on the different caulking materials you should use for differing applications.

Seal the Cracks and Leaks

Once you’ve selected the best caulk for your home, follow these best practices for sealing:

  • Clean areas to be caulked. Remove old paint or sealant. Use a putty knife, screwdriver, or a rough brush to clean the area.
  • To avoid sealing in moisture, make sure the area is dry. In addition, it is better to apply caulk during dry weather with low humidity.
  • Apply caulk to all joints in the window frame, especially the joint where the frame and walls meet.
  • Hold the gun or product at a 45-degree angle, and caulk in one continuous movement.
  • Make sure the caulk sticks to both sides of a crack.
  • If caulk comes out of a crack, use a putty knife or screwdriver to remove it. Reapply the caulk in the crack after making sure that the area around the crack is clean.
  • Check the window sill for cracks in the plaster and mortar joints especially between precast window sills and seal them.
  • Caulk the top edge (head) of the window frame. It will prevent moisture from running back along the underside of the lintel and entering the windows frame. If you don’t seal this area moisture can become trapped behind the frame and lintel.

Be Careful Where You Seal

It may be tempting to seal any and all gaps around your windows. However, some windows require the means to prevent moisture from accumulating in the frame itself.

Avoid caulking:

  • The window’s weep hole.  This small hole at the bottom of the window frame which allows moisture behind the window to exit through the frame. Therefore, if you plug this hole, it could cause mould or rot to grow unchecked.
  • Don’t seal moveable parts. Caulking moving parts could seal your windows closed. Therefore, avoid affecting operable parts, like sashes in a double hung window.
  • Be careful with caulking above the window frame.  A groove in the plasterwork at the top of the window along the width of the window is a drip. It helps usher rain away from the windows frame. As a result, closing off this joint can allow moisture to become trapped behind the frame and lintel.

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