Windows leaking from top

14 Replies

Every time it rains, there are two windows that leak from the top side in one of our properties. These windows are right above each other--a window in a bedroom on 1st and 2nd floor units.

First, we change the roof because there was other ceiling water damage. That seems to fix that issue. But then the next rain, I get a text about these windows leaking.

Then, we recaulk all of the windows' exterior. Nope! Still leaks!

Last Sunday, my husband and I go there and he sprays the building with a water hose and I wait inside and watch for it to start leaking. He finds a big enough hole in the bricking that he fills and adds caulk to one of the windows. The next day/yesterday, we have a pretty good rain come through.

STILL LEAKING!! And this was a really heavy, long rain, so it actually seemed to leak worse and even stained the ceiling right in front of the window. My guess is the water is running along the frame/studs/whatever and getting to that drywall.

When inside, and you look up at the top of the window frame itself, the water is just seeping/dripping through. We are pretty confident it's not the roof being that the roof is brand new and we did a hose test on the roof with no dripping.

All that can be left is that all of the brick on that side of the building needs to be repointed and we're just going to completely replace those two windows. I'm just so frustrated. 

Anyone ever experience similar?

@Nicole W I had that happen to me once. I had just replaced the fascia and soffits on the property when the tenant informed me of a leak from the top of the window in their bathroom, which is on the side of the building. I did some of the same things as you trying to determine where the leak was coming from. Finally I walked around to the back of the building and noticed that part of the fascia was not nailed in tight and the water was getting in there and then running on the inside of the soffit around the corner until it made its way into the wall and through the top of the window. Two nails later and my problem was solved. 

It might be worth taking a look to make sure nothing is lose in your fascia and soffits, but beyond that I don't have any idea what could be causing your problem. At least this real estate game is always interesting.

@Nicole W. 

Its difficult to say without seeing it but it's actually a big clue that the water is coming in above the 2nd story window. So focus your attention from that point up. And the fact that you're getting a lot of water means it's a big leak. It shouldn't be too hard to find. 

You just have to keep narrowing down the search area til you find it. Look in the attic above that window area, then climb up and look above that 2nd story window from outside and look at the eave. 

Btw, caulk alone should never be relied on as  the primary method of protection against leaks. Windows should be flashed and properly detailed. 

Thank you both for your thoughts.

I wonder if the "arch" piece above the windows could be the problem too. I don't know what they are called, but here's a picture of it pointing at what I'm talking about. This is the building, but the problem is the backside and this is the front.

I think that's called a pediment but it's  probably not the culprit. 

What kind of roof is that and what was done with it?  How is the very top of the brickwork sealed?  I'll bet it's one of those 2 things. 

What is the item directly above the arched window?  It looks like a light fixture or a vent.  Make sure to check it out and see if there are any gaps where water can infiltrate.

Art Allen The side of the building shown is not the side with the water issues. We did inspect that to be sure about the entire building, but it seems fine.

The new roof membrane may be watertight but how is it detailed where the roofing meets the parapet wall?  How is the top of that wall sealed?  

You have to be careful closing up "holes in brick" because they may be weep holes, which are very necessary.  

The new roof's membrane goes up and over the top of the parapet wall. It's definitely not the roof. The leaking starts when we hose-tested the building by spraying low at the 1st floor.

And the one hole we found so far in the brick that we closed up was definitely not a weep hole as it was high up towards the top of the 1st floor apartment. From my understanding, weep holes are towards the bottom of a building. Plus, this missing mortor wasn't clean like a weep hole lol. It was missing from the corner of one brick to another rather than in between.

We had a brick guy examine the building and he feels confident that it all needs repointing. There had been some repointing done (sloppily, by some other person) in the past and he feels that from the condition of the mortar he tested, we should just do it all. At first I was thinking just top of building down and 2ft around the windows, but then water will/could just find another path. Might as well do it all. 

That happens this week. Wish me luck.

@Nicole W. 

I hereby wish you luck! :)

Gutter/ roof coming off the edge to the gutter.

Nevermind, front of house. Try that box looking thing above the second window?

@Account Closed  I think your wish of luck to me worked! hehe

I hired the guy I mentioned. One of my tenants recommended him! I first hired him to do a small job I needed done anyway at a different property. He did a great job so I talked to him about my water issue at the other property.

He had taken a look after hearing what all we've done to try to fix this already and he felt confident that the building needed brick repointing. We decided to repoint the entire backside of the building (where the issue is) rather than just a radius around the windows.

Well, we've had some decent rain events since he completed it. I asked both tenants if they saw any leaks and both said no!! Finally, that issue seems resolved. :-)

@Nicole W. I'm glad you got it solved but now I'm going to be deluged with "luck" requests!  :)

Oh I will add what the contractor found as he was doing the work. He said there were places at the top that were missing mortar. And another area where the mortar was coming out like wet sand! It was truly in bad shape.

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