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Bow Window leakage / cracks

I have a bow window that's been leaking whenever there is a hard wind-driven rain. The water appears to be entering from the top exterior and leaking down inside to the base of my window. (See photos).

I used a ladder to check the top of the bow window and there appear to be cracks in whatever sealant or caulking that our contractor used when he installed the window five years ago. On closer look, below the caulking material, there is a soft "vinyl" layer that appears torn. It looks like, in order to fix the leak properly, the window needs to be removed and the top part repaired and reinstalled before there is extensive damage to the wood.

The contractor should've probably installed a roof. But since there is no room for one, left it alone. Had I known there would be leakage problems, I would have probably had regular storm windows installed.

I'd appreciate any advice on what to do. (ie –*seal the cracks myself, hire a handyman or contractor, etc.)


Re: Bow Window leakage / cracks

In looking at the pictures, I can see how the water would work its way into the window. The top needs flashing.

I'd work on the mortar that joins the stone with the wood on the top of the window. Take a chisel and hammer and carefully try to chisel it out, all across the top of the window.

Once you have a deep groove (1" to 1 1/2" deep), or the thickness of half the stone's depth, you have something to work with. You could get a piece of flashing (copper maybe, made at a sheet metal shop) made with a straight edge on the back edge and a shape across the front that conforms somewhat with the shape of the window.

Shove the back edge of the one piece, piece of metal, back into the groove you made. The front should be bent down so it comes down the face of the window a little bit. Then get some industrial grade caulking and fill up the groove at the back. It may take two applications to fill the gap as it may slump in the first application. It should take care of the leaks though.

Good Luck.

Re: Bow Window leakage / cracks

Hi "ma2804"–
Thanks for the great advice. It's probably the easiest and most inexpensive solution for eliminating the leaks.

I'm only wondering if I will be able to bend the copper "straight" enough so that it conforms with the angles of the bow window.
Does copper bend easily? Depends how thick, I assume... What thickness should I get? Also wondering if the copper color (the fold part) will look okay on the white bow window.

Thanks again!

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