Windows are very well designed now-a-days but that doesn’t mean your home will never have a leaky window. Many times it isn’t even a result of the window itself. Instead, it is improper installation. Regardless, it needs to be fixed to prevent water damage and lower energy efficiency.
The most obvious sign is visible water pooling around the edges of a window. This is usually the result of a heavy rain or rain that is being blown sideways by high winds. These warning signs are easy to detect and should have you jumping to fix the problem immediately.
The more serious problems are small leaks that go undetected for a long period of time. By the time the leak is spotted, there might already be serious water damage. This is especially true if there is damage to the house wrap (or none at all). As it sounds, this material wraps wood pieces to protect against water damage.
Once a month inspect the wood around the perimeter of each window for unusual paint cracking or bubbling. Typically, the damage will occur towards the bottom on the sill or surrounding drywall.
Fix a Leaky Window
Unfortunately, the fix is not easy. Many windows are installed incorrectly during new builds. The flashing is the problem.
A professional will have to remove the suspect windows and properly flash each one. This will fix the problem but it is expensive.
Below you can see a cross section of a proper window installation.
If you have atrium windows problems, a good reference is the For Dummies series. Specifically for this topic, check out “Replacement Windows for Dummies.” The book is excellent source for window types, energy efficiency, and atrium window reviews. The window reviews cover the thermal transmittance, solar heat gain coefficient, visible transmittance, air leakage, condensation resistance, and other factors.
I have always been a fan of the For Dummies series because of the excellent explanations. They are able to describe subjects from the ground up to give readers a great understanding of the topics.