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Covering sections of timber window frame with aluminium

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  1. #1
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    Default Covering sections of timber window frame with aluminium

    Hello
    I have a number of fixed window panes that extend down to floor level, and are exposed to the weather, so need constant repainting. I’m also getting some damp coming through onto the cement floor and carpet underlay when the weather is very wet (I only noticed this because I am about to re-carpet).
    Part of the problem seems to be that the horizontal timber sections across the bottom of the windows are not angled downwards, so the water pools on them rather than draining off.
    The carpenter I have asked to do some repairs has suggested putting sections of aluminium across these horizontal timber sections, which will be angled downwards and sealed, so preventing the water from pooling and seeping in.
    Is this an okay thing to do? Will the timber under the aluminium be protected, or will it deteriorate over time, as I won’t obviously be able to paint it any more? (I think it is reasonably sound at the moment.)
    Thank you.

  2. #2
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    Photos would help a lot. The problem will be sealing the aluminium to timber well enough to stand the test of full seasonal changes in an exposed situation, and one little leak that you don't know about the timber will degrade over the years. Is there anyway the timber itself could be chamfered enough through planing and sanding to create a fall? Since water is getting inside it also sounds like the flashing has failed (or was installed incorrectly, or not at all). Again, photos will help.

  3. #3
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    Many thanks for the speedy reply, Renovator! I attach a photo from the outside, and one from the inside which also shows the discolouration of the carpet gripper where the moisture has got in.
    Understand the point about the little leak. Would one be able to paint over the whole lot (aluminium and timber), in order to minimise that possibility?
    I also attach a photo showing the top of the glass where it looks like it has slipped down - there is a gap of a millimetre or so. Is this an indication that the timber underneath is already damaged badly?
    Thanks again.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 7c38daa1-17d9-46ce-babc-016bf2501cd1.jpg   183ed35b-5a8e-4015-9afd-6b877805eb56.jpg   717fef53-11fd-43b0-ab66-57842b446d4e.jpg  

  4. #4
    3K Club Member johnc's Avatar
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    Are you sure the moisture isn't just condensation forming on the inside and running down onto the carpet rather than a leaking pane?

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the reply, JohnC.
    Yes, quite sure it is not condensation running down the inside. As it happens, we had some wild and wet weather this week, and when I lifted the carpet, I found it (mainly the underlay), and a small patch of the concrete floor, was wet. The glass, and top and side of the timber frame in that area, were quite dry. So I think it is getting in under the very bottom of the timber frame. We only noticed the current problem because we are planning to re-carpet, and lifted the carpet to have look, although we have had the timber outside repaired previously, so we’re not completely surprised.
    Also, since Renovator’s reply, I asked the carpenter about the potential for a small leak developing and water getting through to the timber below the aluminium. He said the aluminium would extend to the glass pane, and would be sealed with silicone – no water will get through “100%”. He seems like an honest person, and I am inclined to trust him, but still appreciate other people’s opinions.
    If we had a bit more cash atm, we would be inclined to replace the whole lot with a new aluminium frame construction, especially as this wall faces the direction of the weather, is two storeys high, and there are no eaves above the windows. However, if we can delay needing to do that by say 5–10 years that would be great…
    Thanks again.

  6. #6
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    First step would be to confirm where the water is coming from, do you have damp issues in other rooms.
    I would lift the carpet near the windows and dry it out with heater or such. Then lay paper towel all along the area and spray the window outside, not too much to start as you want to see the source of the issue.

    Its possible it not from the windows.

  7. #7
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    Thank you, Droog.
    The only damp issues are where we have similar timber window frames, and a timber door that has also had weather damage, which we are having replaced (the carpenter has recommended fitting a “Raven” brand door seal to that). I’m afraid that neither we, when we first moved in, nor the previous owners had been as careful as we should have been about the exterior paint work.
    Thanks for the suggestion about spraying the exterior to identify the source of the issue – I’ll give that a go.

  8. #8
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    Looking at those windows it appears there is no flashing at the bottom of the window to isolate the frames from the ground and redirect any water that may enter the frames away from the inside of the house.

    Flashing is an integrated part of any window system and should run up and around the insides of the window forming a dam so water cannot enter the house, the flashing then redirects any moisture back under the window to the outside.
    If you don't have this the problem will continue forever no matter what you do to the outside, you need to fix the cause of the problem rather then band-aid up the outcome because band-aid wont fix this, the only real way to get flasshing in there is to remove the windows and put it in, then re-install the windows.

    If the windows are hard on the ground, water will wick back up the frame and eventually end up inside while it rots out the timbers, by lifting up the underlay you should be able to see the flashing wrapped around the base of the window from the inside it will look like a piece of thick aluminium foil.

    Below is just one example of how the flashing works.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails capture.jpg  
    Mieux vaut prévenir que guérir

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    Thank you very much for that clear description and diagram, Metrix.
    I didn’t know about window flashing (I know Renovator mentioned it above, but I didn’t really get it then).
    I got down on my hands and knees and had a good look, and there is nothing like you described – nothing obvious anyway. All I can see is timber and the cement floor. (Both with rather rough surfaces, don’t know if that’s normal or a result of the damp getting in over the years.)
    None of the carpenters who have been around have mentioned flashing, or the lack of it, either. Would it have been common for houses built in Adelaide in about 1979?
    If we wanted to fit flashing there now, would it be a question of removing and replacing each pane and its four timber beads, or does more of the frame need to be taken apart than that? Is it reasonable to expect the existing panes would survive the operation, or do we need to bank on new glass panes? And either way, would this be a job for a carpenter or a glazier?
    On the plus side, the timber frame does not go down to the ground on the outside – it floats above the pavers by few centimetres. So I guess it’s less likely that it’s damp from the ground wicking up than from rain getting in…?
    Thanks so much again - I really appreciate all the helpful advice on this forum.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randso1 View Post
    Thank you very much for that clear description and diagram, Metrix.
    I didn’t know about window flashing (I know Renovator mentioned it above, but I didn’t really get it then).
    I got down on my hands and knees and had a good look, and there is nothing like you described – nothing obvious anyway. All I can see is timber and the cement floor. (Both with rather rough surfaces, don’t know if that’s normal or a result of the damp getting in over the years.)
    None of the carpenters who have been around have mentioned flashing, or the lack of it, either. Would it have been common for houses built in Adelaide in about 1979?
    If we wanted to fit flashing there now, would it be a question of removing and replacing each pane and its four timber beads, or does more of the frame need to be taken apart than that? Is it reasonable to expect the existing panes would survive the operation, or do we need to bank on new glass panes? And either way, would this be a job for a carpenter or a glazier?
    On the plus side, the timber frame does not go down to the ground on the outside – it floats above the pavers by few centimetres. So I guess it’s less likely that it’s damp from the ground wicking up than from rain getting in…?
    Thanks so much again - I really appreciate all the helpful advice on this forum.
    Flashing on windows have been used since windows were first put into houses, so your place built in 1979 should have the windows flashed.
    If the carpenters did not notice lack of flashing and the problem is water getting in, find yourself new carpenters, having flashing under a window system is carpentry 101.

    No it's not a matter of removing the glass panes, to get flashing in there it's a matter of removing the entire window system and rectifying the problem, the problem may not be as simple as adding flashing, there is bound to be other details that have been missed.

    Windows like yours are normally installed by DIY'R that has no idea how a window system works, they lack the knowledge to know you can't simply install a window system directly onto a frame / slab without these details being followed, or the end result will be water getting in sooner or later.

    Just because the window is sitting a few cm above the ground does not men water won't wick in, water soaks into bricks and mortar and capillary drags it up the structure, if it comes across a piece of unprotected timber it will wick into this, which ends up wicking to the insides of the structure such as carpets etc.

    This is exactly how rising damp occurs and why buildings have a damp course which breaks the moisture from the ground rising up the wall, I have seen rising damp travel up walls to the 2nd story.

    A flashed window system breaks the barrier of the structure such as external brickwork to the window timbers, without it water will eventually get to the timber.

    If you don't fix the cause of this problem I wouldn't bother putting any new floor coverings down as they will become damaged over time from the same issue.

    Can you take some pictures from the outside of the window structure in the house (get a wider angle picture to show the whole window system), should be able to tell if this is a DIY'R job or not.
    Mieux vaut prévenir que guérir

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the detailed reply again, Metrix. I didn't have a chance today, but will try and take some pics from the outside tomorrow and post them.
    I'm inclined to think that the windows were installed by the builder, and they probably did use some sort of flashing, if that is standard. But perhaps it's a system that is not that easily visible to me. Probably the blame is more on the owners (including myself for not maintaining them properly, and perhaps the degree of weather that that wall receives...
    But I'll post some pics tomorrow.
    Cheers.

  12. #12
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    Hi Metrix
    I attach 2 pics showing the 3 fixed glass panes that we might have water getting in the bottom of. (One of them is next to a door that the carpenter is replacing.)
    I also attach a pic of what is below the outside window frame. Just in case it’s not very clear, this shows, from bottom to top, the paver, a thick black plastic sheet, the concrete pad (I presume?), the unpainted underside of the timber frame and the painted side of the timber frame. (There is a fairly deep square groove on the underside of the frame, which doesn’t really show in the pic.)
    Finally, I attach 2 pics of what is below the inside window frame. This is where I looked unsuccessfully for the flashing you described. This is also the spot where I think the water is getting in, sort of below the upright section of timber that separates the two adjacent fixed glass panes. I have not yet had a chance to try Droog’s suggestion of spraying the outside to ID the source/path of the leak.
    Any thoughts would be much appreciated!
    Thanks.
    Attachment 123897Attachment 123898Attachment 123899Attachment 123900Attachment 123901

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