The windows peering into your basement help bring much-needed light to your naturally dark space. Those windows, however, can just as readily fall victim to unwanted damage as the other supports in your home. If you have window wells in place, your windows may even start to show signs of water damage before any other structures in your home.
You can work with area professionals to address leaking windows and protect your basement. If you find yourself contending with a leak, you can reach out to the expert teams serving Minnesota, North Dakota, and eastern Montana for a home inspection and a free quote on the services to protect your home.
The Importance of Fixing Leaking Windows
Contending with a leaking window is never an easy task. More often than not, it’s simpler just to hope the leak in question will resolve itself over time or as the rain outside comes to a stop. Unfortunately, this type of damage doesn’t heal itself. Instead, the longer you leave it untreated, the worse it’s likely to become.
Of course, a leaking window at first glance isn’t so severe a problem if you don’t know what kind of damage it can do. You may, at first, find yourself contending with a bit of unwanted moisture in your home, but over time, that damage can worsen. Leaking windows allow both standing water and humidity into your home. The longer that humidity lingers, the more time it has to weaken your pipes as well as your structural supports. Drywall, carpeting, wooden supports, and other materials will all readily take in excess humidity and retain it over time. In turn, you can start to see mold clusters taking root, your walls starting to bow, and your belongings suffering permanent damage.
The Causes Behind Leaking Windows
When you go about repairing a leaking window, you’ll want to try and determine why your window started to show signs of damage. Some of the most common forces behind window leaks in your basement can include:
When water starts to gather in your window wells or around your home, it can change the temperature of the materials it comes into contact with. The molecules making up these materials can rapidly expand and contract to the point where, to compensate for those changes, your window frames, seals, and other supports can begin to crack from the stress.
Damage caused by hydrostatic pressure tends to worsen over time. The cracks in your window frame or seal caused by this pressure will allow more moisture into your home. The longer you let that kind of damage sit, the more likely it is that your structural supports, pipes, and other belongings may begin to show signs of structural damage. The good news is that you can limit the impact this type of pressure has on your home by installing home waterproofing measures. Installing these measures after you’ve repaired a leaking windowsill will prevent that damage’s reappearance, but installing them before any damage appears at all means that you can avoid repair costs later down the line.
The construction team that built your home in the first place or otherwise installed your windows can also make your home more vulnerable to damage in the long run. If a team improperly sealed your windows, installed your supports incorrectly, or laid an uneven foundation, you’ll be forced to contend with the consequences of those mistakes.
Note that there are some effects construction teams can expose your home to without meaning to. The clay bowl effect, for example, is unavoidable when you’re building a new home from the ground up. This effect describes the systematic destabilization of the dirt beneath your home as construction teams dig out and pour your new foundation. There is no way to avoid this effect from arising around a new property, even though it can destabilize your new foundation and put your basement windows at risk for leaks.
Rabbits, groundhogs, and other burrowing animals can put the structural integrity of your foundation—and subsequently your window frames—at risk. When these critters burrow beneath your home, they can leave tunnels of up to 45 feet long in their wake. While the animals themselves won’t threaten your home’s structural integrity, those burrows will destabilize the soil beneath your home. Your foundation, in turn, may begin to sink, causing your window frames and other structural supports to fall out of alignment.
Insects can have an immediate detrimental impact on the structural integrity of your window frames. Termites and carpenter ants will sink their teeth into any wooden supports you have in place, while ladybugs and stink bugs can create minuscule gaps in your frames as they try to make their way into your home.
On a similar note, tree roots can also put your foundation—and, again, your windowsills—at risk for damage and leaks. While tree roots do not leave burrows behind, they still break up concentrated soil. In doing so, these roots make it easier for your foundation to start sinking prematurely.
If you want to get ahead of tree-related foundation damage, you’ll want to work with your area landscapers and nursery representatives. To prevent roots from moving toward and accidentally damaging your foundation, you’ll want to make sure all the trees in your yard are at least 20 feet away from the perimeter of your home. It is possible to trim a tree’s roots if you’ve planted a tree too close to your home. However, you may want to consider relocating the tree in question or removing it from your property altogether instead.
Damaged pipes can also put the integrity of your basement windows at risk. The pipes in your basement are especially sensitive to water damage. When exposed to high levels of humidity, they can begin to leak. These leaks can add more moisture to the air in your home, exacerbating leaks and exposing your basement window frames to an additional source of hydrostatic pressure.
A leaking HVAC system can lend moisture to the air. That moisture will not only cause your window seals to crack or split, but they can force the supports holding your window in place to pull away from the glass, entirely. Not only does this open you up to additional water damage, but you may have to replace your window’s glass and frame entirely to get your home back into shape.
Leaking Windows: What to Do
If you find yourself contending with a leaking basement window, you’ll want to explore your repair options as soon as possible. You can reach out to the professionals in your area to schedule a home inspection, during which you can work to identify any signs of damage in your home that might indicate more severe leaks in your basement or foundation.
After your inspection is complete, the professionals on site can provide you with an individualized, free service quote noting what in your home needs repairs, what repairs might suit you best, and what waterproofing measures you may want to consider installing to keep this type of damage from reappearing in your space.
Your basement windows are exposed to more moisture than you might think over the course of a single year. If you have window wells in place, your basement windows are in the perfect position to find themselves exposed to not only standing water but a significant amount of hydrostatic pressure, which may cause them to burst at the seams over time.
- Common Causes Behind Basement Window Damage
That said, it isn’t just hydrostatic pressure that can cause your windows to leak. Some of the other common causes of basement window damage include:
- Errors during home construction
- Errors during window installation
- Pipe damage
- HVAC system damage
Even something as simple as poor grading can put your windows at a higher degree of risk for damage. The grading around your yard—whether or not your home sits at your lawn’s highest or lowest point—will direct water away or toward your perimeter. If you happen to live in a low spot, you may be more likely to see water-damaged windows than your neighbors.
- Getting Ahead of Basement Window Leaks
The good news is that you can work with area professionals not only to repair damaged basement windows but also to get ahead of the damage that might cause them to start leaking again. Home waterproofing measures are the ideal protective barriers to put into place if you want to prevent your windows from letting moisture into your home. Some of the most effective to install for window safety include:
- Interior drainage system
- Sump pumps
- Vapor barriers
- Waterproof insulation
Note that no waterproofing measure lasts forever. You’ll want to schedule annual home inspections to ensure that your waterproofing measures are still operating as they should. The experts in your area can also look over your windows during these annual check-ins to make sure that any initially conducted repairs are still serving your home as they should.
Many homeowners are reluctant to invest in basement window or waterproofing repair for fear of how much those repairs might cost. Unfortunately, the longer you let water damage work on your windows, the more likely it is that the damage in question will spread to other parts of your basement, foundation, and other areas of your home. With that in mind, is it worthwhile to take on DIY basement window repair, or should you reach out to area professionals instead?
- Considering the Cost
Repairing leaking basement windows without professional guidance is an expensive endeavor. The good news is that you don’t have to go about too much excavation work if you already have window wells in place. The bad news is that you’re going to have to assess your property not only for the source of your window damage but for any other signs of damage that might indicate a more serious problem with your home’s structural integrity.
Once you’ve got the preliminary work out of the way, you’re going to have to make room in your repairs budget for the special tools and materials you need. These materials can cost a pretty penny, especially without a contractor’s pre-existing industry deal on your side. Not only will you have to purchase your materials at market price, but you may also have to invest in one-time-use tools made specifically for repair purposes. Comparatively, contractors already have most of these tools on hand, meaning you won’t have to factor those purchases into your services quote. If you’re looking to save money, DIY basement window repair may not be your best option.
- Considering Your Time
If you haven’t repaired damaged windows in a professional capacity, you may not know where to begin when it comes to leaking or warping basement windows. Even if you manage to get your hands on the tools and materials you need to bring these windows back into alignment, you risk worsening the damage already done to your foundation by proceeding.
Not only that, but you are going to lose time as you go about a DIY window repair project. Without additional helping hands to make the work go faster, these projects can take weeks at a time to finish. During that block, you’ll have to contend not only with the repair learning curve but with the variable weather in your area as well. Comparatively, professionals can assess your home for damage, conduct repairs, and install preventative measures on a tight turnaround, meaning you can go back to living your life as usual sooner rather than later.
Repairing and Preventing Basement Window-Based Damage
If your windows need to be repaired or replaced, it’s best to work with local window specialists who will be able to handle the delicate process.
When it comes to protecting a damaged window, you have a few different repairs and preventive measures available to you. Contractors may install an exterior perimeter drain to pull water away from the perimeter of your home, install a special piping system to direct any leaking water to your interior drainage system, and seal the drains.
There also are various protective measures available to help prevent new or returning water damage in your home. These waterproofing measures can actively drive unwanted moisture away from your windows—not to mention the rest of your home—and limit the amount of hydrostatic pressure your more sensitive structures have to endure. Some of the most effective basement waterproofing measures include can include:
- An interior drainage system
- Sump pumps
- Vapor barriers
- Gutters and downspouts
Of course, you don’t want to install waterproofing measures in your home before you’ve had a chance to clear away the damage that may have begun to plague you. With that in mind, try and make sure that you remove any unwanted moisture from your home before undertaking a measure installation. Dehumidifiers can help with this process. These aids can pull unwanted humidity away from your pipes and from the windows in question, gathering it up for easy disposal outdoors. With a dehumidifier in play, you can more readily go about repairing or re-sealing a damaged window without worrying about what kind of damage you may be exposing your new protective materials to.
Reach Out to Local Experts at Innovative Basement Authority for Repairs
Are you struggling with leaking windows or other forms of water damage throughout your home? You don’t have to try and take on repairs alone. The experts serving Minnesota, North Dakota, and eastern Montana can help you restore your home’s structural integrity in little to no time at all. After a home inspection, you can look over a free quote and determine which of the available repairs and preventive services suit your budget and needs.
Ready to get started? Reach out today!