Protecting Basement Windows from Water Infiltration

Written by AnonymousMarch 3, 2011

Basement Windows and Water: Things to Consider

The average home has many small leaks. When grouped together, leaks can add up to the equivalent of a 2-foot hole in the wall. Most leaks can be found around doors and windows. They allow air to enter and escape, and water and snowmelt to seep inside. This can cause energy loss, moisture and mold, and damage to living spaces or stored items. A high energy bill, fogged or frosted windows, and temperature changes in different areas of the room are good indications that you have leaky windows, but determining the exact location of the leaks requires closer examination.

Checking for Leaks

Check for leaks around basement windows by looking for outside light around the jambs (vertical sides of a window), or by holding a light piece of material next to the jambs on a windy day. If the material flutters or you detect light around jambs, the weather stripping is inadequate.

Crumbling foam and rubber are telltale signs that weather stripping and insulation have begun to deteriorate and need to be replaced.

Weatherizing Basement Windows

The types of materials used for weatherizing basement windows depend on the window style. The most common weather stripping materials are:

  • Foam
  • Metal
  • Rubber

For casement windows, attach self-adhesive foam or rubber compression strips on the outside edges of the window stops, which hold the sash guides in place. This creates a tight seal that prevents leaks and holds up to the pressure of closed windows. Foam compression strips also work well with storm windows. To create a tight seal, attach the strips to the outside of the storm window stops.

Metal tension strips work best for sliding windows because they’re durable and hold up to the powerful sliding motion of the window. To install, close the window and place the strips against the edge of the sash.

Costs for Weather Stripping

If you have the time and patience, you can weatherize your basement windows on your own for as little as $10 per strip. Hiring a professional ranges from $30 to $100 per hour, plus the cost for weather stripping materials.  

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