Moisture is a home's enemy. It can cause mold damage, damage to carpet, damage to dry wall, and even lead to a flooded basement, and other big expenses. All of this also causes a boat load of stress and expenses. The remedy for the symptoms of moisture in one's home is prevention. Sealing windows appropriately is an easy and economic way to ensure that outside moisture stays out.
The Consequences of Not Sealing Windows Properly or At All
One of the signs a window is not sealed properly is a visible drip-area on the outside of a building, below a window. The surface of a window will likely acquire condensation and there can also be building envelope condensation. Excess moisture is sure to cause mold and mildew damage when not properly dealt with.
The insualtion of a home or building that does not have properly sealed windows will not work efficiently or effectively, and the air quality within the building will be poor. If given enough time, the building materials of a home or building will begin to rot, possibly causing structural damage.
Faulty Window Seal Options
One can tell a window seal has failed if condensation or fog is noticed between the two panes. The first option to fix the moisture problem is to install a new window. Others may choose to replace the glass or have the current glass re-glazed on-site if the seal is not too bad.
Replacing the seal is another good option, depending on the condition of the window and the building. This usually involves having to install a new valve, making sure there is no more moisture between the panes of glass, and making a new seal.
Fixing or Installing a New Moisture Seal
People who know their way around tools, are comfortable with carpentry, or find they know more about home repair more than the employees at the local hardware store will find installing a moisture seal on a window to be just another weekend project.
New, double-hung windows sold in stores will usually have a moisture seal built in to it. However, it is recommended that one use bronze, nail-on strips for wood windows by inserting the metal strips between the sashes and jambs. These are then attached to the top and bottom-face of the upper sash. Here are the steps:
Moisture seals are made of many different types of materials. For wooden windows, nail-on strips are the best. Other seals have self-adhesives made of rubber, which are good choices for windows made of metal or vinyl. EPDM is the best of the self-sticking seals as it is flexible and provides good insulation for many years. Other self-adhesive material options include closed-cell foam and high-density foam. Vinyl tubular gaskets are used when large gaps are present, but this type of seal is not self-adhesive.
Moisture seals will cost a home or building owner in one way or another: in installation or repair costs, or in costs due to a major repair because of water damage. It is cheaper and easier to make sure seals are installed correctly than to have to reinstall a new wall, carpet, or ceiling.
~ Flora Richards-Gustafson, 2009