TECH NOTES | Windows Part 1
Studies indicate that exposure to daylight improves our alertness, productivity, and general well being. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program recognizes the value of natural light in work areas and awards points to buildings that provide daylight and outside views to building occupants. These studies confirm what we already knew – we all like to look out the window.
What’s the problem?
Windows are typically the most problematic and complex components in an exterior wall system. Through hundreds of investigations, we have found that windows are acommon source of water intrusion in buildings. Building owners often contact us looking for help with nagging window leaks that have been “chased” for years. Window leaks can causeugly stains, deterioration of interior finishes, corrosion, mold, and other serious problems. These problems lead to complaints from tenants and potential loss of use.
Why do windows leak?
Some common causes of leaks are failed sealants, absence of a sill flashing system, sill flashings with no end dams, defective flashing over windows, discontinuity between the wall and window systems, weeps plugged with sealant (in an attempt to stop the problem), and degradation due to age.
What can be done?
We often encounter windows where a trial-and-error approach has failed and caused considerable frustration. If you have a building with leaks, we recommend that the leaks be evaluated by a qualified engineer. The root cause of a leak is typically revealed during a thorough visual review of the problematic areas and pressurized testing. Identifying the root cause of the leak allows the engineer to develop an effective solution to the problem.
Repairs may be as simple as replacing sealants or as complicated as removing the windows, reflashing the window opening, and re-installing the window. Window replacement is required in severe cases. Window repairs should be confirmed through testing. Repair mock-ups can provide valuable feedback prior to installing repairs throughout a building.
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