If You Replaced Your Windows Three to Five Years Ago – It’s Time for a Quality Check!

Unfortunately, the majority of windows are replaced in a way that leads to slow, insidious damage, a “block frame” methodology.

This approach does not use nailing fins or flashing to form a proper air and water barrier. Instead, a window is slipped into the opening, secured to the house through the window frame, and the only barrier to air and water are, in order, exterior to interior:

  • Caulk – the caulk bead will break down in 1 to 3 years depending on the quality used, most quickly with vinyl windows given the high expansion/contraction of vinyl in our semi-arid climate
  • Backer Rod – a pre-caulking gap filler that looks like a rope
  • Minimally Expansive Foam – Air-tight foam that fills the gaps between the window frame and the wall

Once the caulk breaks down, water makes its way into the wall cavity in liquid and vapor forms. The backer rod will slow the penetration of water and the foam will divert it even as it is slowing being deteriorated. Thus, the wall damage being done is hidden and insidious.

A block frame install is only certified as the right way to install a replacement window in masonry openings. In all other openings, a certified install must include the use of nailing fins to attach the face of the window to the wall and flashing tape to form a water management system around the window and act as the first line of defense against air leakage. These steps, in addition to the block frame methodology outlined above are the right way to install a replacement window and the only way we do it at SolarGlass.

Stayed tuned for Part 2!

Posted January 17, 2012 by Signature Windows + Doors
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