How to Prevent Leaking Windows

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Not all, but many post frame buildings have steel siding. The reality is, steel is going to be the most durable and cost effective siding available. Hands down.

When I was first constructing pole buildings, we used standard vinyl windows like those stocked and sold at major lumber retailers and big box stores. In order to flash them, it required cutting and carefully fitting four pieces of steel “J Channel” trim around the window – adding copious amounts of caulking at all of the corners. We would then do the appropriate chants and offerings hoping we’d not end up with leaking windows.

As luck, or unluck, would have it – even with the best installation about 10% of them would leak. For a builder, this is painful, as it meant having to send someone back to do a repair.

Then the “ah ha” moment (think Thomas Edison)….when we realized using windows with integrated J channels would probably resolve the problem. While these windows are special order, the wait time is well worth it, and Hansen only orders this type of window.

So yesterday, Eric (one of the owners of Hansen Pole Buildings) asks me why we don’t have leaking windows.

Any water which hits the wall above the window, rolls down the siding panels, into the top J. The water will go left or right, to the side J’s and then out the bottom.

It is at the lower corners of the window where the potential for a leak occurs. If a high steel rib ends up at exactly the wrong point, an opening could be left where water could get into the building. The solution has always been the same…goop on lots of caulking at these points, prior to installation of the steel siding.

There are alternatives, one of which I read about just this morning (what a coincidence).

Protecto Wrap® Super Stick Building Tape may afford a cleaner solution than caulk.

It is a high-performance window and door flashing tape. This high tack, tenacious, durable, peel and stick air/vapor barrier tape system is used for sealing vinyl and aluminum fin windows and doors; window and door openings; and has a full coverage air vapor barrier membrane. It is a high performance window and door flashing tape designed to be applied down to -20°F without the use of primer or mechanical fasteners on most substrates (substrates are what is underneath the window).  It utilizes a high tack pressure sensitive adhesive (PSA) combined with a high performance facer film. This design provides a full 12 month UV exposure. A greener, cleaner building tape solution which offers no VOC’s (volatile organic compounds), HFCC’s (hydroflurocarbon compounds), nor CFC’s (chlorofluorocarbons). It is non-toxic and non-allergenic. No Off-gassing is produced during the manufacture nor installation of this product.

As I always seem to goo as much caulk on my work jeans as I do around the window, I’d be willing to give it a try!

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