Robert Lamoureux: More than just window dressing

Robert Lamoureux has 40 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected]

Question No. 1 

Robert, 

I had leaking/moisture between the two panes of glass on my double-paned window and reported this to the management company who manages our condominium association.

Management sent a repair company out, and the technician drilled a hole on the inside of the window frame to allow the water to escape and told us to put towels there to capture the water.

Obviously, this was not a total fix, and I’m still perplexed as to why this was done — especially from the inside.

Do you have information on what/how this should be fixed, is this a whole new window needed? 

I’d like to be more prepared at this point than I was then, because I am really feeling like this wasn’t the right thing to do but of course in the moment when you don’t know the proper fix, you tend to trust the repair technician. 

Rudy A. 

Answer No. 1 

Rudy, 

After all the years I’ve been in business, you’d think I’d heard it all already.

Whomever your management company used for this, I sure hope they don’t use them again because this was a bad move.

Double-paned windows are filled with gas in between and it is not unheard of, after many years, and generally on a south-facing window, that the exterior seal fails due to harsh weather, and the gases escape/water seeps. It’s rare, but not unheard of.

The proper fix would have been to get a window company out immediately, and have them do the proper repair if possible, by draining, sealing and refilling with gas.

In the event that the window company determined that the window was shot and couldn’t be replaced immediately, it should have only then been drilled to drain temporarily, but from the outside only, not where it could potentially cause water damage to the interior. At this point in time you are looking at a whole new window in my opinion, because though they could put an epoxy at the holes, it won’t last, and you are likely to have issues in the future. Being that your exterior is stucco, let me put my two cents in…I would not install a retrofit window, I would do a complete demo of the surrounding stucco, and install a like for like window. Likely your HOA will do this to keep aesthetics the same, but this is good information for you to know and to ask questions ahead of time. The retrofit windows are good and less expensive, but they don’t generally have the longevity and need maintenance to the seals, to keep them from leaking. Good luck to you on this. 

Robert

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