How do I fix exterior water leaks?

Answered by Jeffrey Anderson ~ June 9, 2013 ~ No Comments

There are some holes above the ceiling by the window and they leak water when it's raining. How do I fix this?

- Jessica


Jeffrey Anderson

Jessica, I'm not sure if I understand the holes' exact location, but I assume you mean that they're near a window. However, I'm a bit confused by the "above the ceiling" part of your description.

In any event, my guess is that either the window itself is leaking or the exterior flashing or siding around it is inadequate. You can determine which the culprit is by using a garden hose and placing a helper inside to watch where water has been seen in the past.

Start by directing a light spray at the window's exterior without getting any water on the siding that surrounds it. If your helper spots interior water intrusion, that's a pretty good indicator that the window needs some work. It's possible that some trim may have become loose or fallen off or even that the sashes aren't closing tightly.

Some window repairs can be done by homeowners, but in many instances the best course of action is to call a window repair contractor. If you are able to determine the window's manufacturer, many have regional service reps who can respond to problems with their units. If not, most experienced window contractors can work on just about any brand.

However, if there is no sign of water intrusion when spraying the window, the next step is to douse the surrounding area. Start with the siding just below the window and then work your way up each side. It's important to move very slowly so when you hit the problem area, the water has enough time to work its way through to the inside of your home. It may take several minutes for the water to appear. This should allow you to pinpoint the trouble spot or at least get you in the general vicinity.

If there is no sign of water when the bottom and sides are complete, spray the siding over the window. You may have to work your way up the side of the house above the window until water appears. When you have located the source of the leak, a little bit of caulk may provide the cure. If there is a problem with the siding or trim, calling a siding contractor would probably be the best idea. This is especially true if the area that needs work is above the first story.

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