If you have old and drafty windows in your home, then it is time to start thinking about replacing them. Around 30% of all the heat lost in the home during the winter months escapes through the windows and doors. More heat loss may be noted if you can feel a noticeable draft coming from your windows. If you are fairly handy around the house, then you may think about installing some of the new windows yourself. If you want to give it a try, then you will want to make sure that the windows are sealed properly to prevent new drafts. There are a few installation mistakes that can lead to this issue. Keep reading to learn how to avoid them.
Mistake - Not Securing The Sill Properly
If you have older windows, then you will likely need to replace not only the window, but the basic frame and sill as well. This means you will need to remove the window as well as the wooden frame that keeps the window in place. You will end up with the rough wooden window opening afterwards. If you opt for vinyl windows, then you can purchase the frame and sill to fit the space. The sill part of the window will contain a track that allows the window sash to snap into place. The sill will snap into the frame, and the frame will fit into the rough wooden window opening. This means the frame will need to be secured first. This part of the window is where it must fit tightly around the edges. A good seal can be created with the use of a proper adhesive.
A good adhesive to use is a silicone based caulk. This type of caulk is water-resistant, flexible, and it will not wear down as quickly as polyurethane varieties. This will help to create a waterproof seal around the very base of the window sill. This seal will be created only if the silicone comes into contact with clean and dry materials. Use soap and water to clean the inside of the frame and the wooden window opening, and allow them to dry afterwards.
Place a generous amount of the caulk around the wooden base of the window and carefully place the sill in the opening. Allow the caulk to dry for one full day. Look around the sill for small openings between the vinyl and the wood. If you see any, then you will need to place a small amount of polyurethane spray foam around the frame to close the openings.
Spray the foam and allow it to expand and dry. Afterwards, use a utility knife to trim the foam so it is flush with the frame. If the window frame has nail flaps, then fold them out against the house and nail them in place. Roofing nails can be used for this purpose.
Mistake - Forgetting The Waterproof Membrane
Once the silicone caulk, spray foam, and nails are secured, the frame of the window will be fairly secure. However, water and air can still seep in around the frame over time. To prevent this issue, a separate film or membrane must be placed over the nail flap edges of the vinyl frame. This will help to close off the lip or edge of the frame. You will need to purchase waterproof membrane material or self-adhesive window flashing. These materials are thin black membranes with an attached adhesive that sticks in place. Choose a six-inch option if possible. Measure the membrane and place one piece of the material along each edge of the frame. Make sure to overlap the material two or three inches over the lip of the frame.
If you want to use traditional materials around the edge of the window, you can use metal flashing to seal it. If you do this, then you will need to bend the flashing into place or use a polyurethane flashing adhesive. If you decide that window sealing is a job best left to the professionals, contact a company like Fischer Window and Door Store.