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 Post subject: To caulk or not to caulk???
PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:36 am 

Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:20 am
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I just had replacement windows installed in my house. Used vinyl windows upstairs (bedrooms) and wood/aluminum clad for downstairs to maintain wood character of the living areas.

While installing, I questioned the contractor on the use of caulk against the old stop and around and space at the outside before capping. I was told that caulk is not needed during the installation of the window as the outside aluminum capping is sealed and prevents any penetration of weather (drafts and water).

I allowed the contractor to run a bead of caulk around the finished inside (against the trim) of the vinyl windows but not the downstairs wood windows as I will be staining them and wanted the clear caulk installed after the staining.

The wood windows leak badly around the bottom edges and jambs of the installed window. Even the vinyls have some drafts but much less. Granted we have had really extreme weather but that's why I changed the windows.

I am being told that is due to no caulk on the inside edges. I disagree. I should not be getting drafts like this after installation of new windows regardless of the interior trim caulk. The drafts should be stopped at the outside. It's like waterproffing the insde wall of a basement to prevent water penetration. If the water gets that far, it's too late.

Is he right that no caulking is required if capping is used? I feel that at the very least a bead of caulk should be applied to the inside edge of the old stop before the new window is offered up.

I still owe the contractor 50% of the money and I am considering asking him to remove and reinstall a few windows with the caulk to see if it makes a difference.

What do you think and what is standard practice? I am located in northern NJ.

Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: To caulk or not to caulk???
PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 4:05 pm 

Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 11:23 am
Posts: 3420
Location: DC Metropolitan Area-Maryland/Virginia/DC
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Removal of the existing windows to address the drafting issue is not necessary.

Identify if the air is coming from between the frame and the home or through the window. Depending on your findings, that will determine the installation issue, if any.


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 Post subject: Re: To caulk or not to caulk???
PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:01 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:20 am
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thanks.

The air is coming in around the frame. The window itself is good.

What do you suggest?


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 Post subject: Re: To caulk or not to caulk???
PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:06 pm 

Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 11:23 am
Posts: 3420
Location: DC Metropolitan Area-Maryland/Virginia/DC
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I don't want to really get in the middle but if it were my home I would remove the capping and inject a low expansion foam to airseal the window to the home.


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 Post subject: Re: To caulk or not to caulk???
PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:26 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:20 am
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Thanks again.

This is my question. I asked him to do that as he was installing the windows and he said it wasn't necessary. Now, obviously it is. Why should I do it? Shouldn't the contractor? I hired him to furnish and install windows correctly. If they leak, shouldn't he correct it?


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 Post subject: Re: To caulk or not to caulk???
PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:06 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 07, 2004 8:46 am
Posts: 1493
Location: Northern Illinois, Chicago suburbs
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Yes he should fix it. A competent level of installation is expected from any contractor taking people's money. Any window factory's installation instructions will include insulation around the window.


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 Post subject: Re: To caulk or not to caulk???
PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2010 7:47 am 

Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 3:05 pm
Posts: 1337
Location: SE PA & NJ; DFW/Metroplex
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I can not see your install nor the negotiation you had with the company.
Does it state in your contract to insulate? What is the exterior siding- wood, vinyl, Brick?
Many exterior envelopes aloow air for mositure control.
Window and door foam is the best at air sealing and insulating.
If they used fiberglass, it is insulated, but will still allow air leakage.


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 Post subject: Re: To caulk or not to caulk???
PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2010 10:03 am 

Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:20 am
Posts: 4
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Really appreciate your comments.

Therefore, should I tell him to remove the exterior capping, fully caulk around the windows and then re-install the capping?

Exterior is vinyl siding and the contractor claimed that the drafts was coming underneath the siding at the bottom as there is no seal. There is 3/4"insulation under the siding. However, my windows were not leaking around the edges before we changed them.

He stuffed batt insulation into the former weight boxes which I also felt was somewhat ineffective as most of the stuffing met with resistance and never made it all the way up the "box". ( I had to take the weights out myself as he said he doesn't include that). The contract does state that they will "fill the existing frame pockets with insulation".

Didn't really want to have a conflict but i feel I am entiltled to draft free windows having spent $10,000.


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 Post subject: Re: To caulk or not to caulk???
PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2010 11:29 am 

Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2004 10:44 am
Posts: 553
Location: South Jersey, Delaware, Philadelphia area
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To really insulate those pockets correctly, it is going to be somewhat time consuming and is more likely in the field of professional insulators than window window installers. It's pretty easy to do when one can pull interior or exterior trim as you would have access to the entire cavity, but that's not usually the case with replacement windows as interior trim work may have not be priced into the project. Some of the Pros on these boards have mentioned blown in insulation or pellets in which both methods are going to require some type of machine and experience in that field.

When I have to insulate those weight pocket cavities with fiberglass and can't pull the vertical interior casings what I've found to be helpful is to take my Multimaster and create several "3 x 3" access panels with angled cuts so I can put the newly cut panels back into the opening that I just cut out. This allows me to get the insulation into the entire cavity. I'll re-seal the panel with either some Quad or Novaflex, and or sometimes some brads if the Paslode is close by, then cover this thing with some Tyvek tape. I usually try to spay foam the top as the slots that housed the pulleys would have to be opened up a little and wouldn't have anything to cover those openings. This whole process may take me about an extra 10 to 15 minutes per window and just a few bucks in material if that. I don't make a big fuss about or have to charge much for it as opposed to bringing in an insulator or a machine.

I was speaking last night to an old friend that has worked for just about every local window company in my area. All the companies that he has worked for starts their basic vinyl window installations at about $650 a window and none of the windows are really anything to brag about. The common complaint that he sees is the low pay that the installers are getting. Most are getting the same pay from about 10-years ago. The only way these subs can make more money is to work faster and harder, which is going to mean skipping things and hoping that only in very rare cases does the homeowner know the difference. Unless they spend any amount of time here.............


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 Post subject: Re: To caulk or not to caulk???
PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2010 5:23 pm 

Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:20 pm
Posts: 273
Location: North Florida
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First, I'd like to say, I wish I could start my basic installation at $650.

2nd to LimusD, can you post pics of the outside of the windows. Not that it may prove anything, but at least we would be able to see the entire final "picture" of the install. Dealing with houses with Vinyl Siding can be troublesome, but then again, replacing a wood window in the existing frame is straight forward. Pictures may help.


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