Question No. 1
I live in Canyon Country and, at our condo, the owners are responsible for the windows but not the surrounding siding and stucco. With that said, each time there is a leak of some sort, the owners get dragged into the mix and are responsible for part of the investigation costs.
I have a lower window, which the association is saying is faulty, but I am certain that it is not the window itself but the surrounding stucco or parts thereof.
How can I determine this with certainty, to alleviate my responsibility if, in fact, I am correct?
— Mike G.
Answer No. 1
You’ll have to conduct your own water test to disprove their diagnosis. At any big box store, you can purchase heavy plastic and red stucco tape. Use this to tape off the entire window frame/window, and then conduct your own water test. This will isolate the window and tell you if water is still entering.
To fully complete this test, you’ll need to let the stucco dry out completely, then reverse the process by taping off the surrounding stucco, and hitting only your window with water, to see if it also leaks.
This will be a process and take some time, depending on weather, but it will help you isolate the exact source without opening up the stucco.
The other side to this is to look at it objectively and consider the age of the building and windows. If you’re looking at a building with original windows that is 20 years old, let’s say, I would not reuse these windows under any circumstances. I would absolutely replace these and get the guaranteed security of no leaks, and even better R factor of insulation. New windows are incredibly more insulated than older ones.
Definitely videotape your troubleshooting/water testing, and present your findings to the HOA. You may be responsible for all costs if it is, in fact, your window, but if it is the stucco/paper behind the stucco, you’ll need to work out cost sharing with them while you pay for a new window.
That is my best recommendation for this particular situation.
Best of luck to you.
Robert Lamoureux has more than 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].