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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Default water leak at top of window casing

    The house is 3 years old and approx. 1 year ago water started dripping in on the right side top between the upper casing and the top window frame during a wind driven rain. I pulled siding off at top of window and it was dry! No evidence of rain/moisture/tracks on house wrap. The sheetrock on the interior shows no evidence of water damage. The upper bedroom window directly above it on the second floor does not leak and no water damage. It appears that the water is running down the inside of the OSB and hitting the top of the window and running out into the room - but how and where is it getting in. This only happens during a wind driven rain. Where do I start and what do I do now - of course we live out of town so nobody is interested in coming out for this little "problem".

  2. #2
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    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: water leak at top of window casing

    ***. This sort of thing is a real toughie, if not impossible to diagnose on the internet.

    What type of siding?

    What type of windows?

    What type of roofing?

    Pitch of roof?

    Problems such as you describe can originate at/in the roofing, be caused by poor flashing practices, be caused by inappropriate installation/lapping of housewrap, even by faulty installation of a drip edge or even one nail too close to the valley of a roof.

    Remedied a persistant problem similar to what you describe once by finding and caulking a very small hole (1/8") in the fascia. The water from that one was traveling about 15' into the interior of the home and eventually dripped from the center of their kitchen ceiling.

    Not very helpful, I realize ...but there you have it....FWIW.

  3. #3
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    Sep 2008
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    Default Re: water leak at top of window casing

    thanks for even taking the time to reply - yes I know its a tough one. But coming from the roof? How does the water get past the upper window which is directly in line with the lower one that has the leak. I could picture some problem where it blows in under the bottom of the upper window vinly channel corner, into wall, and runs in and down wall. I'm not a carpenter, as I'm sure you can tell but arn't the windows set in a box more or less ie 2x4 on each side and 2x4 on top and bottom so how would the water, since the leak is on the top of the lower window, get on the inside of the box (so to speak) run past the upper window without showing any water damage ie drips, water stain sheet rock etc. Confusing trying to explain to a novice, sorry.
    The siding is vinyl, pitch 12 x12, and the tyvac installation is questionable with possible gaps. It only drips with wind driven rain.
    Thanks

    George

  4. #4
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    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: water leak at top of window casing

    Water can enter thru the roof deck, run down a rafter and get off where the rafter sits on the top plate. This leak could travel a distance of 10' or 10" down a rafter.

    Once pooling on the top plate, all it has to do is find a very small gap between the sheathing and the framing and it's in.....behind the house wrap.....headed downward with the pull of gravity. It can then travel down until it finds another gap and in it comes.

    Not saying this *is* where your problem originates, just that I've seen it happen.

    Don't know what type of windows you have or how well made they are, but it's also possible that the water is finding a tiny gap at the lower corner joint where the side jambs meet the sill. If this is happening in the window up above, the water would appear right where you indicate.

    The possibilities of where the leak is... are many, I'm afraid.

  5. #5
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    Sep 2008
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    5

    Default Re: water leak at top of window casing

    Sounds like I'm going to shoe horn myself into the crawlspace opening in the ceiling and into the area above the top floor bedroom - at least there I can see (maybe) the OSB/outer wall/roof rafters and look for water when the rain hits and the wind blows.

    If this doesn't work ie no water coming in the roof rafters/wall/etc then I will pay (out the nose) to have the siding removed , new tyvac and tape and reinstalled. (the siding venture was a whole other story)

    Does this sound like an approach?

  6. #6

    Default Re: water leak at top of window casing

    You should find an infrared thermographer in your area beforw you rip everything down.Infrared can find water fast

  7. #7
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    Default Re: water leak at top of window casing

    Quote Originally Posted by oviattgt View Post
    Does this sound like an approach?
    In all honesty...I do not know. It's one way to eliminate that possibility though.

    The quality of a vinyl install varies greatly....and the stuff is not waterproof by any stretch of the imagination. Does there happen to be any siding splices above this window? The window above it? Wind-driven rain could enter a splice if it isn't lapped adequately...but then you said you already removed some of that and looked. Argh.

    Another thought is the detail of the channels surrounding this window (or the one above it). If the corners of the flashings aren't bent/installed "just so"...water can enter where it isn't supposed to. Wind-driven water...so much the easier.

    Maybe a thermo-inspection *is* the way to go. Don't know. Finding it from here isn't going to work, that much I know with certainty.

    Couple pics of the area in question *might* help. No promises though. If you do...at least one close-ish and at least one of the area from a greater distance so more can be seen. Since the pics on this site are greatly reduced, posting them on a photo-hosting site and linking us would give us a better view of the details involved.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
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    Default Re: water leak at top of window casing

    One other thing for you to check. You said you have a window directly above this one and it only happens during wind driven rain. I don't know what type of windows you have, but if they are double hung windows, I have seen wind blow rain under the sash and over the back of the sill. It then drops down on the window below. If this is the problem it can usually be solved by caulking the crack where the sill runs under the stool.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    5

    Default Re: water leak at top of window casing

    Sorry for the lack of pics - I thought I had attached them orignally. The first shows area of leak at lower bedroom window between casing and top of window (water only drips on right side during wind blown rain event), 2nd is bubble on right side of stool on MDF - appears to be from water pooling underneath MDF - not sitting on top and causing material to swell - indicates may be running down right side of window after pooling at top right side, 3rd pic is house overall with arrow where I took off siding and top j channel and found NO water stain or moisture and finall 4th is view looking underneath windows from a differant angle showing lower window ( water leak one) and window directly above where I can find no evidence of moisture on the inside of room.
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: water leak at top of window casing

    What, pray tell...is the black thingie in the pic just below the gable vent? Light fixture? Whatever it is...it looks like it penetrates the siding and so could conceivably be the source of a leak.

    Generally speaking...anything above that window is suspect....including the gable vent. Water can do strange things.

    Let's say some water enters above the upper window somehow...and that water has an available entry behind the housewrap because of poor detailing practices. It can run down the sheathing until it hits a horizontal seam in the sheathing...and then it can enter to the backside of the sheathing. From there it can run down a stud until it hits a rough header above a window (upper or lower). That rough header is not likely dead level. Afterall, it's a rough header. so the water can pool and run toward the lower side of said rough header where it encounters a seam with a stud. It leaks thru and is on it's way downward. Eventually it finds its way to the head jamb of a window and from there...it emerges where you finally see it. This is a fairly common scenario, believe it or not.

    I tore up a roof last year to find a persistant leak. The leak evidenced itself in the center of the attached garage roof. Several roofers had been there before me and they had smeared goo all over the center portion of the roof....all to no avail. Once I had the shingles and paper off the roof deck, the source was readily evident. One shingle had been cut slightly too short at the drip edge of the gable end of this garage. Water ran down the drip edge under the shingles until it encountered one of the nails securing the drip edge. This diverted it inward toward the roof deck. From there it found a very small hole in roofing felt and entered. Then ran downhill for several feet until it hit a seam in the plywood deck. It grabbed onto that and ran 8' feet toward the center of the garage where it encountered yet another seam and proceeded another 8' before it decided to drip off. This was all very easy to see by the stains on the roof decking. The leak had gone on for years and so I had to replace several sheets of ply decking and a couple sheets of drywall ceiling.

    Looking at your pics, one of the first places I think I would suspect is under, beside or over the upper the window. If the housewrap and window flashings there aren't detailed correctly...water could readily enter behind the housewrap and head for your lower window.

    Then again, this may be happening right above the lower window.

    Pulling the siding and looking for witness marks on the outside of the housewrap isn't likely going to show you the culprit. The water has to be getting in behind the housewrap to arrive where you see it. Anywhere there is a housewrap penetration becomes suspect.

    ( Did this house come with a warranty? If so, it's time to call the builder. If a siding sub did the vinyl, let the builder call the sub back to fix the problem. )
    Last edited by goldhiller; 09-20-2008 at 10:20 PM.

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