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without seeing it, my best guess would be to remove the interior trim around the window and see if the space is insulated. if it is not, get some Great Stuff Window and Door Insulation and spray that in there.
Thanks. Unfortunately the window isn't trimmed in wood. Rather it's "recessed" inside the wall (2x6 construction). The window is framed with drywall on three sides with a wood ledge below. I did notice a gap between the wood sill and the start of the drywall underneath (I removed the piece of moulding underneath the sill). I filled this area with great stuff this past summer so won't know if will make a difference until this winter.
Would a leaky window make the floor (vinyl tiles) cold to the touch?
if you don't have trim around it, i would cut out the sheetrock around it and see what they did.
as for the cold tile floor. when the cold air enters through or around the window it falls right to the floor and makes the tiles cold, sometimes very very cold.
You sound like you're unhappy with your windows. Winter is around the corner, and you don't have money to get replacement windows...what to do?
Get an improvement loan and buy new windows. Why? the money you will spend on extra heating in the next 6-8 months will be money washed away. But put towards new windows - and all of a sudden it's a wise investment.
This time around, be prepared with knowledge, supervise your installer and have him do it right.
Have you identified whether the cold air is coming from between the window frame and the wood framing of the wall, or between the sash and the window frame? That will make a difference on the proper approach.
My bet is that the windows were not properly insulated. A 'patch' which may help some is to renew the caulking on both the accessible inside and outside parts of the window unit and the house. This won't add the needed insulation but will close off airflow (at least as well as can be done without accessing the areas around the window and framing) which should help. As noted, the proper fix is going to require some disassembly and some minimal-expansion foam along with caulking or recaulking the exterior areas as needed.
With your 2X6 walls you can have great insulation happening, but only if all the fenestration is insulated and sealed properly. Otherwise you might as well have 2X4 walls. Sorry the builder went under- he should have done a lot better with this!
I once had a house with single pane windows in aluminum frames. In winter, if you held your hand under the window next to the wall, it felt like cold water flowing over your hand, except it wasn't wet and it did make the floors directly under the windows very cold.
I did not have much money at the time so I made interior storm windows from some 1x1 wood and clear vinyl. I made a frame of the 1x1 about 1/4" smaller than the window opening. I the covered both sides of the frame with 0.008" clear vinyl and put weatherstripping around the edge. With the weatherstripping, the frame would fit into the window opening and be held in place by compression.
You would not believe the difference it made. The windows felt warmer than the walls, but the walls were lath and plaster walls with R-7 (2.75" fiberglass) insulation in the cavities.
The disadvantage is that you have to store them somewhere in the summer.
With the cold weather I've done some more investigation. It seems the window is actually leaking between the sash and the window frame. I notice no drafts around the upper sash (non-movable....single hung) but air around all the "cracks" between the moving bottom sash and the frame. I also noticed that the gap between the frame and sash on the sides is not uniform from top to bottom. This suggests a framing issue I would imagine. Anyway, I can replace the weatherstripping on the bottom (I'm going to test with paper) bit what do I use on the sides and top? Is there some sort of weatherstripping that will work (they are vinyl so can't be nailed)? Can the tracks on the sides be adjusted? I tried the removable caulk but it did no work well (Isn't very soluble and just seemed to clump). Thanks!
Either the framing has shifted or the windows were not shimmed properly when they were installed. I'm betting on the latter- I see it all the time, even in 'the best' homes. How handy are you, and do you have a table saw? Because if ti were mine I'd be taking the sheetrock out on the 3 sides, fixing the windows, custom-ripping wood to replace the sheetrock, then trimming the edges out with molding to match the rest of the interior. You'll probably find the existing sill too short for this but it's not hard to do either. You can do one room at a time if funds are tight to keep expenditures down. Personally I hate windows trimmed like yours- they just look cheap to me.
Thanks! I am pretty handy and do have a table saw. Are there any sites that would describe how the window should be shimmed/how to correct the problem? Framing the window in oak wouldn't be hard but I have no idea howto fix the window leaks.