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Thread: new windows have a slight air leak

  1. #1
    gabagoo is offline Handyman
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    new windows have a slight air leak

    I had 9 new windows installed this past summer. They are really nice brick to brick vinyl with low e and what ever else that implies. The windows are stunning and they came with vinyl that finishes on the inside as well.
    One of the vinyl sidings on a window in the kitchen has a definate gap away from the wall about half way down and although it is only about 3/16 away from the drywall a constant cool breeze is passing through it.

    I guess it could be caulked from the inside but I am just wondering is that all that keeps the cold air out? or is there something wrong with the window?

    I walked around and looked at the rest and they are all flush to the wall and I feel nothing.
    Last edited by gabagoo; 11-06-2011 at 06:27 PM.

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    pushkins's Avatar
    pushkins is offline General Contractor
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    If they are replacement windows then they should be caulked at least on the exterior to stop moisture and and bugs entering. not only that after the window is screwed in place fiber insulation of low expanding spray foam should be inserted between window and window framing (usually from the inside) then most often there is a small piece of interior trim that is reinstalled to cover the small gap between the new window and the window trim wood.
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    gabagoo is offline Handyman
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    the caulking on the outside is very well done. It is just this one side of the vinyl insert is lifting or warped. look at the pic
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails new windows have a slight air leak-photo-1-.jpg   new windows have a slight air leak-photo.jpg  

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    pushkins's Avatar
    pushkins is offline General Contractor
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    Run a bead of caulk all the way around the window to wall joint, carefully smooth it out with your finger.
    Little about a lot and a lot about a little.
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    gabagoo is offline Handyman
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    so are you telling me that a bead of caulking on the inside is all that stops the cool air from getting in?
    I cant figure that out especially since they are all caulked well on the outside.

    I willdo it but wonder if I should call the guy I bought them from. Why is this frame warped?

  6. #6
    pushkins's Avatar
    pushkins is offline General Contractor
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    No I am not, when replacement windows are installed there should be either low expanding spray foam or fiberglass insulation inserted between the new window and the existing framing. Even if the window is sealed with caulk on the exterior airflow inside the wall cavities will find it's way in. Caulking on the exterior side is 90% for moisture protection.
    Nowadays in new construction there are several approaches that are used to dramatically reduce wall cavity airflow with the main one being house wrap/ Tyvek etc...it is wrapped around the entire house, overlapped and taped at joints.
    It sound to me like the contractor did not use any insulation between the new window and the existing window framing.
    Caulking the interior is for a couple of reasons, 1 being reducing air infiltration, 2 being for cosmetic reasons, wall construction is not perfectly straight and the caulking helps accommodate any discrepancies, makes it look nice and neat.
    Little about a lot and a lot about a little.
    Every day is a learning day.

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