First, make sure the leak is coming from the windows, then enlist the pros for help
Those large bay windows were probably a selling point when you bought the home. The view? The natural light? It was practically a real estate no-brainer. But now, that gorgeous focal window feature is leaking, forcing you to find leaking window repair solutions fast. Luckily, you have options. Here’s who to call for window leak repair.
What Causes Windows to Leak?
Wondering why your window is suddenly letting water flow into your home? Check out these common causes to pinpoint the issues with your leaky window.
Regular Wear and Tear
Like other home features, window seals begin to wear down or break over time. This issue is typically the result of natural wear and tear, and it can cause cracked caulking and worn-out weatherstripping. Unfortunately, these problems can lead to air and water leaks, which are essential to fix as soon as you recognize it.
If your windows weren’t installed or replaced properly, there may be hidden issues that are allowing water and air to leak into your home. For example, there might be gaps along the edge of the house wrapping that are causing window leaks. That’s why hiring the best window replacement contractor is important to complete the job right the first time.
Flashing and Structural Issues
One of the most common culprits for window leaks is missing or improperly installed window flashing, particularly for new windows. One tell-tale sign of this issue are stains at the top of the window, which are leaks from the wall behind it. Luckily, this issue is relatively simple to repair by installing a long, replacement stretch of flashing.
If you’ve inspected your window for signs of typical issues—like cracked caulking, worn-down weatherstripping, and flashing gaps—and still can’t find the leak’s origin, you may have a structural problem with your home. Unfortunately, design flaws with your home, like wall cracks or missing overhangs, can cause persistent leaks.
Find Where the Water Is Coming From
Whether you live in an old 19th-Century farmhouse or just moved into a modern ranch, each part of your window plays a role in keeping the elements outside where they belong. When any of these parts break down, water can sneak into your home, either in a visible drip or slowly through the surrounding wall. In general, inspect these parts of your window for wear and tear:
Sealant or Caulking
The border around the outside of your window that keeps cold air, water, and pests out.
However, replacing broken or missing caulk around the inside or outside of the window is a great DIY project for the handy homeowner and only takes about an hour, not including drying time. A tube of silicone caulk necessary for windows averages costs about $10.
The inner frame that holds the glass pane, which fits snuggly into your window frame as it opens and closes.
A long piece of material—typically wood, vinyl, or metal—that sits above your window to redirect rain and debris away from the glass.
Roof, Eaves and Walls
Water can also look like it's leaking from the window may actually stem in your roof, eaves, or walls. So how do you narrow down where the water's coming from and what needs attention?
Who to Call for New or Recently Repaired Windows
Newer windows typically come with warranties that last anywhere from three to 15 years, depending on your plan. You may have also purchased a work warranty from a repair team if your windows were recently installed or altered. In either case, call the manufacturer or the installer, depending on who manages the warranty.
If the leak stems from poor installation or a faulty product, your warranty will likely cover the cost of the repair or replacement. The company should recommend a specific window installation specialist to come and take a look.
Additionally, the window installation specialist designated by a manufacturer may hold specific certification for fixing your unique brand and style of the window—an extra perk to working with the assigned team.
Who to Call for Older Windows
Older windows naturally wear down over time. Wooden frames and sashes may begin to rot, for example. In other cases, a window may no longer fit perfectly into its frame when your home's foundation settles and throws off its alignment. A leak could also stem from something as simple as your older window sealant cracking or peeling.
If your windows are no longer under warranty and you do not know the manufacturer, call a local window installation specialist with great reviews and proven experience with window leaks. Even if the water leak stems from around the window, these specialists can rule out any window-related problems first, as well as reinforce your windows from future leaks.
Can I Fix Leaky Windows Myself?
The cost of professional window repair averages $165 and $550, with labor itself ranging from $30 to $50an hour. It may be tempting to cut these costs by taking on trickier projects yourself. But keep in mind that if the project is done incorrectly, you could end up with further water damage or need to have the window replaced.
Can I Hire a Roof Repair Specialist for Leaking Windows?
It can be hard to differentiate a leaky roof from a leaky window. Water leaking in from the roof pools along the top or sides of a window since it's often the first thing it hits on the way down. The water then breaks through the drywall or window frame over time. You can tell the difference between a roof and window leak by checking for water stains on the ceiling, broken roof flashing, or even rusted chimney flashing.
Call a roof repair specialist if you're confident the water is coming from a roof leak. Otherwise, it's best to start with a window specialist to rule out issues with the window itself. In some cases, the two specialists may work in tandem to stop a roof leak and repair how the water is getting through the window.
Can I Hire a General Contractor for Leaking Windows?
General contractors with in-depth window repair experience can fix minor leak issues. However, remember that your window warranty may only cover certain specialists, so always call them first for newer windows.
If you suspect a more complex issue with your windows—such as a rotting frame, a leak in your flashing, or a poorly sealed pane of glass—we recommend calling a window installation specialist for proper repairs or replacements.
How Do Window Installation Specialists Fix Leaky Windows?
A specialist will likely examine signs of water damage, rot, or mold around each part of your window and the surrounding wall and ceiling.
They may then complete one of the following repairs:
Replace interior and exterior caulking or sealant
Reseal a windowpane
Fix a small crack in the glass of your window
Replace the flashing or frame of your window, especially if your window leaks when it rains
Replace the exterior window flashing
Ensure the window fits properly within its casing
Clean or replace the window's track (for sliding windows and doors)
These pros will also know when it's more cost-effective to replace your window entirely. While the average cost to replace a window is $650, you may end up paying less in the long run if your older window continues to break down.