Saturday, 20 June 2009

Inspection And Repairs In Frame Construction

If there are leakages around a window frame a careful examination should be made and repairs made where they are needed. Around the lower part of the window, look particularly for holes or large cracks at the top of the window sill. There may be a crack under the inside stool or window ledge, if it is not nailed down securely; and if the stool has been cut too short, there may be cracks at either or both ends.

Also, where parting strips and pulley stiles meet the top sill there may be holes left as a result of careless fitting. Such cracks and openings may be closed satisfactorily by driving the stool down firmly and filling the spaces with white-lead putty or calking compound, much like what you would use for kitchen plumbing and bathroom fixtures such as sinks.

Sometimes driving rain or water from melting ice on the sill outside the window may be forced in under the window and stool and run down the wall. This seepage may usually be prevented by removing the lower sash and plowing a furrow or groove along the bottom of the lower rail from one side to the other with a plow plane having a one-half or three-quarter inch blade.

A cavity is thus formed that will check blowing rain before it can get inside the window. Good weather stripping carefully applied will do much to prevent air leakage and keep moisture from entering around windows and doors. This is why it is so often used for steam shower units. Steam showers are useless if the steam shower enclosure is not properly sealed.

Where the top sill joins the sub-sill, there may be a crack that will admit air and moisture unless it is calked with white-lead putty or calking compound, or covered with metal flashing. Examine the drip mold and flashing at the top of the frame to see whether they are in good condition. Put on new flashing, if necessary, preferably copper, with the upper edge bent up under the siding or shingles and the lower edge extending over the outer edge of the window cap about one-half inch and bent down to form an apron.

Before putting on the flashing it may be well to seal the cracks around the frame with white-lead putty or calking compound (a puttylike substance made for calking purposes). Sometimes the outside casing or adjoining molding may become loose and require re-nailing. In some instances the outside casing may be nailed over the siding or shingles instead of being fastened directly to the blind casing.

This method leaves triangular openings between the back of the casing and each shingle or siding board, and, if the joints under the outside covering are not properly protected, air will enter. This is a common problem found in the home sauna. New sauna owners don't immediately realize that sauna steam is escaping from small openings in the doors and windows if the sauna didn't already come with weather stripping.

In such cases the outside casing may be removed and the cracks underneath filled with white-lead putty or calking compound, or the triangular openings may be closed without removing the casing by employing one of two methods.

They may either be calked with oakum (hemp fiber from tarred hemp rope) to within one-half inch of the surface and then filled with calking compound, or covered by means of a strip of wood (about 2-inches wide and as thick as the casing) notched out to fit the irregularities in the surface and nailed to the siding or shingles adjoining the outside casing.

By: Allison Ryan

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