Question: Hi Robert, we had a leak during the last rains, found wet drywall at the top of the window, dripping down. It was pretty severe, so I cut out the drywall in that area but was unable to see, from that vantage point, the actual area where the water was coming in from.
I’ve opened more of the area but am unsure how to go about locating the source. We’re in an older home in Canyon Country but the windows aren’t original. I think it’s the window where it’s mounted since it’s the kind that was aftermarket and set onto the stucco.
I remember you’ve said that these fail. How do I confirm that this is what’s happened? Any chance you can guide me so I can maybe troubleshoot this on my own?
— George G.
Answer: George, great job so far, sounds like you’ve been paying attention in class. Yes, you should be able to find the source on your own, at least with the help of another person.
Since you found the water at the top of the window, you’ll want to start at that area on the exterior, hitting it with water. One person inside, one outside and begin there, slowly. You may have to open more drywall above, depending on how much you’ve removed.
If the leak is at the window, with drywall and insulation removed you’ll easily see the water penetration. Hopefully this is the answer for you, then you can move forward with repairs, either resealing the existing window (which would be the easiest) and all of your other windows (if one failed, likely maintenance is needed on all) or if the window is also failed, installing new. If you need a new window, I always recommend nail-on windows, where budgets allow. Best of luck.
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].