Every now and then a nor’easter, tropical storm, or hurricane sweeps through and tests the watertight integrity of condominium buildings. Some condos hold up well during these events but many of them experience water leaks. Condo owners who speak the lingo refer to water leaks as “water intrusion”. One of the largest contributors to water intrusion is leaks through windows and doors. Such leaks can be caused by defects in the window or doors but water intrusion can also occur if the windows or doors are not installed correctly. The 3D construction video below shows and example of what can happen if a window is installed incorrectly.
In this example, the window’s head flashing was not properly integrated with the building’s weather barrier. Water oftentimes gets past the siding or stucco on a building and the next line of defense to keep water out is the weather barrier. The weather barrier in the example above is underneath the head flashing rather than over it. This results in water infiltration behind the weather barrier system and water intrusion will eventually occur. Once water is behind the weather barrier it can travel to many different components of the building causing structural damage and damage to the interior finishes. Water intrusion often results in mold growth on the interior of the building. This condition exists in many condominiums in Florida and condo owners usually don’t realize they have water leak issues until structural damage has already occurred. Doors in condominiums can leak in the same manner.
When replacing windows and doors, Condominium owners should take the following steps to avoid water leak issues: