Robert Lamoureux | A look inside retro fit windows

Robert Lamoureux
Robert Lamoureux

Question No. 1: Do you have an opinion on retrofit windows vs. new construction on exposed walls? 

— Carol 

Answer No. 1: Carol, thank you for being a loyal reader and writing in often. I sure do have an opinion: If a budget is the reason someone uses a retro fit window, I understand. The existing window frame is left in place, a retrofit window is inserted, and the outer framing is sealed in usually with silicone. The problem with that is that after a few years the sealant gives way and the leaks start unless you are diligent in removing the frame and re-sealing the window before the bad weather hits.  

Most people forget about the sealant and that’s when the damages occur to the interior. In a perfect world, the nail-on is the only way to go in my opinion. I have NEVER installed a retro fit window for those reasons. I hope this helps your decision. 

Question No. 2: Hi Robert, I own a condo in Valencia and the management company has not scheduled roofing maintenance in several years. While I know the roof is the association’s responsibility, what happens if and when a part of the roof fails and causes damage to my upper unit condo? Further, what if water travels down to the unit below mine — am I then responsible for damages to their unit?  

I’ve heard about instances where the upper unit is responsible for damage to the lower, but I need to know that if the water is not caused by our fault, what happens — do you know?  

— Rachel W.  

Answer No. 2: Rachel, you’ve raised an excellent question. Unfortunately, I cannot answer to the specifics of such a situation because each association and management company/property manager is different in both written CC&R as well as the quality of management company you have.   

What I can say to you is that I highly recommend you begin immediately if you haven’t already, writing in via email, to your property manager requesting that roofing maintenance be done this fall, without fail. Write to the board of your association, ensure that everyone is cc’d, and begin a paper trail stating your concerns and why.   

That, aside from becoming a board member yourself so you have more say, is about all you can do. I would not stop at one email. I would continue to request proper maintenance to the property, until you get results.  

Always do this in writing, so that should something unfortunate happen, you can show that you did your due diligence to attempt proper maintenance. 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]. 

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