Bad Windows Or Bad Installation ?

 
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Old 01-23-2010, 09:10 AM   #1
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Bad Windows Or Bad Installation ?


Story - I got an email from a customer, we finished their basement in a newly built home. Only about 4 years old. I got this email the other day from the homeowner asking me a question about the windows in his house. Windows arent my specialty so I thought I could get some answers here to try and help this guy out.

The email -
Quote:
Good Morning:

I have a new home and new windows installed in 2006. After a four year battle trying to get my builder to fix my drafty windows, I have turned to the window manufacturer. The manufacturer came out last week and immediately noticed that my window sashes were 1/16-1/18 inch too small for my window frames. The manufacturer also informed me that my window frames were bowed. The rep said he would order new window sashes that are the correct size, that would actually fit my frame, and come back in a couple weeks. I was upset to learn today that their engineering-customer service department has denied this request, and instead has suggested that I use a large weather-strip to keep my windows airtight because the window sashes I have are discontinued. I can understand this idea, but this seems
to be a way to save costs vs. doing the right thing. The manufacturer also questioned if this is really their fault or just the builders fault for installing the bowed window frames improperly. Now it seems to be a blame game between builder and manufacturer. My question is, who would be at fault for incorrect sash sizes, the builder or manufacturer? I've attached a picture. Notice how the top part of the sash has a larger opening near the weatherstripping then the air tight bottom part of the sash.
So then I request some pictures of the issue he is talking about and the model numbers off the window.

Quote:
Attached are two more pictures. Pic 1 shows you a large gap between weatherstrip and frame. Pic 2 show a tight seal which is the case at the bottom of the windows. The gap appears to be toward the center of the window area. Also the manufacturer seems to be the only ones trying to resolve this, as I had complained to the builder during my one year warranty and they caulked the windows and said that this will fix the problem, now they don't answer calls, etc. The windows are double hung, and they open and close very well.

Also the manufacturer "Paradigm" stated that the "exterior color" of these said windows are discontinued, but they could find a replacement with a color that probably won't match. Number on window were Series 8311/8321, H-R30-44X60, H-R40-44X60 (Reinf)

Hope this helps, and thanks for letting me know how I should proceed getting this fixed.
I attached the pictures to here.

Let me know your thoughts about this issue. In my opinion it looks like a defected window. Or maybe being damaged someway during the installation.

Discuss:
Attached Thumbnails
Bad windows or bad installation ?-001.jpg   Bad windows or bad installation ?-003.jpg   Bad windows or bad installation ?-windows-002.jpg  
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Old 01-23-2010, 09:24 AM   #2
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Re: Bad Windows Or Bad Installation ?


Going by what I see outside the window, this would be a townhouse, right? Those things are often slapped up quite quickly, with little regard for craftsmanship.

I actually repaired a window just like that last year in a townhouse. The nailing flange had exactly four nails in it--one at each corner. That allowed the frame to distort over time, so much in fact that on occasion a strong wind would literally blow the sash out of its seat.

Repair was simply a matter of pulling the siding off and nailing the flange properly. The client has been delighted with his reduced heating bill this winter.

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Old 01-23-2010, 09:26 AM   #3
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Re: Bad Windows Or Bad Installation ?


looks like you live in a town home. chances are,they used cheap vinyl windows and not a higher end vinyl window. that said,if they were to large for the opening and they were "squeezed in",i would contact the builder..its certainly not the manufacturer's fault unless of course they are passing the buck. quite conceivably as well,the cheaper window could have warped. need to have an unbiased opinion. contact a local window installer and duke him 100 bucks or so for coming out.
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Old 01-23-2010, 09:36 AM   #4
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Re: Bad Windows Or Bad Installation ?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinstaafl View Post
Going by what I see outside the window, this would be a townhouse, right? Those things are often slapped up quite quickly, with little regard for craftsmanship.

I actually repaired a window just like that last year in a townhouse. The nailing flange had exactly four nails in it--one at each corner. That allowed the frame to distort over time, so much in fact that on occasion a strong wind would literally blow the sash out of its seat.

Repair was simply a matter of pulling the siding off and nailing the flange properly. The client has been delighted with his reduced heating bill this winter.
Yes they are townhomes. Fairly poor constructed ones for that matter. All of them come with a unfinished basement, and when I went to finish the home owners basement, the concrete floor is like a roller coaster. And putting tile down took along longer trying to get em all on the same plain. Thanks for your input mate.
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Old 01-23-2010, 09:39 AM   #5
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Re: Bad Windows Or Bad Installation ?


The easiest way to troubleshoot this is to take three measurements to start. Measure the distance between the jambs, top, bottom and center. If the center measurement is wider, you have an issue with installation. The jambs should be parallel with each other at all locations. If they are not, you may be able to gain access to the jambs to shim the centers and get them straightened on the inside. I have seen cases where the jambs are not shimmed during installation and over time, they will spread due to pressure exerted by the weatherstripping. You should also put a level on the outside of the jambs to check them for straight. If they are bowed, the only solution I know of is to remove the exterior finish to correct the problem. Just because the inside jambs are bowed, it doesn't necessarily mean they are on the outside.

If the jambs are straight, check the dimensions of the sashes, they should measure the same top and bottom in width and left and right in height. If the width measurements differ, it is a problem with manufacturing. In addition, if the weatherstripping doesn't seal at the fixed points of the assembly,at the jamb limits, top and bottom, the sashes were manufactured too narrow for the opening.
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Old 01-23-2010, 09:45 AM   #6
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Re: Bad Windows Or Bad Installation ?


Ive fixed this problem by pulling off the interior casing, and putting a shim where your frame is bowing out. Most guys dont shim vinyl windows and then you end up with problems like this. Also when you pull off the casing, check for insulation.
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Old 01-23-2010, 11:09 AM   #7
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Re: Bad Windows Or Bad Installation ?


those sashes look a little small for the frame
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Old 01-23-2010, 11:52 AM   #8
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Re: Bad Windows Or Bad Installation ?


Quote:
Originally Posted by tomstruble View Post
those sashes look a little small for the frame

I thought so also.
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Old 01-23-2010, 01:28 PM   #9
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Re: Bad Windows Or Bad Installation ?


I believe those windows have weatherstripping on the backside as well. It does look like the sashes were bowed when installed. Paradigm windows were some of the better vinyl windows I've installed. Were these set in place like replacements or do they have nailing flanges like new construction? They might have screwed threw the jambs and pulled them toward the framing.
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Old 01-23-2010, 02:08 PM   #10
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Re: Bad Windows Or Bad Installation ?


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Originally Posted by jaros bros. View Post
. Paradigm windows were some of the better vinyl windows I've installed.
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Old 01-23-2010, 02:19 PM   #11
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Re: Bad Windows Or Bad Installation ?


I never liked all vinyl windows; I have seen windows on a cold day warp if the sun only hits a small portion of the window
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Old 01-23-2010, 02:31 PM   #12
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Re: Bad Windows Or Bad Installation ?


Quote:
Originally Posted by jaros bros. View Post
I believe those windows have weatherstripping on the backside as well. It does look like the sashes were bowed when installed. Paradigm windows were some of the better vinyl windows I've installed. Were these set in place like replacements or do they have nailing flanges like new construction? They might have screwed threw the jambs and pulled them toward the framing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by buddy110 View Post
I've never installed their new construction windows with a flange, but their replacement windows are a pretty decent window for replacements.

I'm also not a fan of all vinyl construction, but do you want an affordable replacement window?
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Old 01-23-2010, 02:37 PM   #13
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Re: Bad Windows Or Bad Installation ?


I installed CertainTeed all vinyl windows on a spec house last year.
If you read the directions carefully, not just look at the pictures, LOL, you will see:
Shimming and screws are required for proper installation.
There should be a pre cast hole at the 4 corners and mid span depending on the size of the window.
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Old 01-23-2010, 04:08 PM   #14
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Re: Bad Windows Or Bad Installation ?


Quote:
"Going by what I see outside the window, this would be a townhouse, right? Those things are often slapped up quite quickly, with little regard for craftsmanship."
Correct. They are townhouses, which brings up another point how the window company rep indicated I would need replacement sashes, but once corporate learned that there are 58 other units that may also be defective they quickly tried to blame the builder, and backed off the idea of new window sashes and instead a thicker weatherstripping. They may have been scared about the costs associated with replacing 58 new townhouses.

Quote:
"The easiest way to troubleshoot this is to take three measurements to start. Measure the distance between the jambs, top, bottom and center. If the center measurement is wider, you have an issue with installation. The jambs should be parallel with each other at all locations."
I assume this means measure from the beginning of window jamb to the other side of the jam horizontally? If this is correct, I measured the top bottom and center and they were all at 34 inches, right on.

Quote:
"You should also put a level on the outside of the jambs to check them for straight."
I did this throughout both the sashes and the jambs, and everything is straight. Although the "bubble" in the level moved slightly when moving the level from the top of the jam to the bottom it stayed in the center area the entire time.

Quote:
"If the jambs are straight, check the dimensions of the sashes, they should measure the same top and bottom in width and left and right in height. If the width measurements differ, it is a problem with manufacturing. In addition, if the weatherstripping doesn't seal at the fixed points of the assembly, at the jamb limits, top and bottom, the sashes were manufactured too narrow for the opening."
All the sash measurements are the same. The weatherstripping doesn't seal up at the top of the window, as shown in the picture I sent.

Well after getting this reply from the email, I can only think that the window is warped and needs to be fixed, adjusted, or something.

Since its 4 years old, its really not anyones but the home owners problem. I'm thinking the best thing is to call a window guy in to take a look and get the problem fixed?
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Old 01-23-2010, 04:33 PM   #15
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Re: Bad Windows Or Bad Installation ?


Not a fan of vinyl windows either but Paradigm is usually pretty good about replacing them. There is a 20 year unconditional warranty if I remember correctly.

Something isn't right. If the sashes are the same in width, the jambs are bowed and it's probably and installation issue. I have installed about 30 or so Paradigm windows and I never even had to tweak one. Like I said, not a fan of any vinyl window but in my experience I've always had to push them into square when installing except for Paradigm. I attributed it to the thick wide vinyl jambs they built the unit out of.
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Old 01-23-2010, 04:38 PM   #16
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Re: Bad Windows Or Bad Installation ?


After a few years of looking at moisture and mold problems over 60% of the windows were installed improperly - this was for custom homes. Lower priced windows are more likely to have problems, but installation is the key.

A window is just a hole in a wall with some glass, but proper installation is always necessary.

If the claim or lawsuit comes early enough, the GC is usually liable before the attorneys get involved. Some GCs will hire certified window installers instead of allowing their people to do the installation.
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Old 01-24-2010, 12:29 AM   #17
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Re: Bad Windows Or Bad Installation ?


Quote:
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I did this throughout both the sashes and the jambs, and everything is straight. Although the "bubble" in the level moved slightly when moving the level from the top of the jam to the bottom it stayed in the center area the entire time.
If the bubble moves at all, it isn't straight. Unless someone changed the laws of physics.

From the information you've posted, this has all the signs of poor installation, rather than a manufacturing defect. Get a guy in who understands windows, even if that's not his specialty per se, and I'd wager you can have this sorted out in short order.
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Old 01-24-2010, 10:24 AM   #18
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Re: Bad Windows Or Bad Installation ?


i can fix iti got one of them Irwin ''adjustable'' levels
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Old 01-26-2010, 05:25 PM   #19
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Re: Bad Windows Or Bad Installation ?


Having installed my share of cheap vinyl windows in the past, this is 100% an issue that could have and should have been fixed by a good installer. How is the sash meeting rail? Flush? Do they lock easily? THESE ARE VINYL WINDOWS... seriously, they need to be shimmed properly and voila!, gap is gone. This is not a head scratcher! Replacing the sashes would be a total waste, more than likely you'd put them in and have the same problem...or you'd put them in and they'd be too big causing them not to lock or run smoothly. Get a qualified window guy to come out and fix them.

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