My New Outside Blog: Why is my window a water fountain? Or----water wants to return to the ocean.

Why is my window a water fountain? Or----water wants to return to the ocean.

First, gravity won't help my hair, as there is none under the hat in all my photos.

Second, gravity will affect the flow of water. If, as Charles so adroitly points out in this blog, flashings and other water diverting features are not done right, you will have water where none is desired!


Improper flashings haunt most homes.

The basic principle of all exterior cladding of a home is fairly simple:

All materials, as they change type or function, shall have a means of overlapping the materials below them.

It is all about gravity, and making gravity work for us instead of against us.  It is the principle that makes rivers work, and our hair to lay flat---relatively (I know there are those of you that question this part).  If we do not lap materials properly, water can and will take the easiest path downward that it can find----even if it means that somewhere along the way it gets “trapped.”  It is this trapping of water, where it should not be, that creates the problems we find related to water intrusion in exterior cladding systems.  Add to this the principle of “wicking” (which can actually work against the principle of gravity) and we can get gallons of water going where it should not be.

In this picture, the improper flashing details, coupled with improper clearances of the siding and the roof surface, is channeling water where it should not be in this home. 

Improper flashings and roof to siding clearances

It has found its way behind the paint to the bottom of the window trim where it is stopped in its journey back to the ocean by the window sill.

Large water filled paint bubble

Poking the paint bubble with my pocket knife allowed the water to continue its journey.

Water fountain window trim

Without good flashing details, all kinds of nasty things can happen to the house structure behind the very materials that are supposed to be protecting it.



Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector



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Comment balloon 0 commentsJon Quist • November 29 2010 04:05PM


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