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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Billerica MA
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    208

    Default Rotted window sills?

    Got a phone call from a builder i work for, about a previous house. First house I framed with my old boss. It's about 8 years old and half of the window sills and casings are substantally rotted.

    This is the 3rd owner of the house, and seems if he doesn't get a solution he will make this well know. Windows came pre-cased from the factory. All the exterior trim we did looks excelent still.

    What it looks like to me is the screens are so tight wind driven rain hit the window and gets trapped between sill and screen. Anyway, 24 windows and 1/2 are rotted and the rest will. Any suggestions to fix window sills for a permanet fix. I've flush cut rotted sills and repaired with cedar but i don't feel thats a permant fix when all the windows are rotted.

    so I guess short of replacing all the windows anyone have another cost effective solution that will last??

    I have calls into the window manufacturer, but they are in hard times and 90% sure they will do nothing.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Washington, DC
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    4,701

    Default Re: Rotted window sills?

    Quote Originally Posted by someguy View Post
    Got a phone call from a builder i work for, about a previous house. First house I framed with my old boss.

    so I guess short of replacing all the windows anyone have another cost effective solution that will last??

    I have calls into the window manufacturer, but they are in hard times and 90% sure they will do nothing.
    I'm lost. The builder who's calling you, that you work for (as a sub?), built this house? And you used to work for the guy who framed it (as an employee)?

    If you're wanting to help out, that's fine. But how is this your problem?

    Or the builder's?

    They're the 3rd owner, so how can they even think about going back to the builder, on a house that's 8 years old no less?

    To find a solution, you need to figure out what's causing the problem first.

    What brand windows? With pre-installed casings, how did you fasten the windows?

    Tom
    1) Unconsciously Incompetent: He knows not, and knows not that he knows not. He is a fool. Shun him.
    2) Consciously Incompetent: He knows not, and knows that he knows not. He is simple. Teach him.
    3) Unconsciously Competent: He knows, and knows not that he knows. He is asleep. Wake him.
    4) Consciously Competent: He knows, and knows that he knows. He is wise. Follow him.

    May we all endeavor to progress from not knowing that we know not, to knowing that we know.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    11,339

    Default Re: Rotted window sills?

    What is the material? I am assuming there is a slope on the sill?

    It doesn't really look like a screen problem to me (although the screen isn't helping), but a material problem. If they used Pine or Hemlock, didn't prime the ends before assembly, and maybe didn't have enough slope on the sill. Then water gets in, wicks up the casing, & then just becomes a sponge to rot out the sill.

    I have cut & replaced the sills. Most of the time this has to be completely removed, so the interior trim also gets pulled. Cut the sill next to the jamb, remove & then remove what's left under the jamb. Cut any nails, etc. Repair any rot on the jamb (I just cut & glue on new stock, sand, prime & paint). Fit new sill- I put a couple layers of primer on the cut ends of the jamb (a pain in the but) & prime the entire sill first. Then a bead of good caulk before setting the sill. Replace exterior trim with good rot resistant wood like CVG Fir, Cedar, Redwood, etc.

    Most of that work has been on old houses for historical repairs, but the technique should work for those windows. Once you've got the system down it's about the same amount of time as replacing a window with a insert style, but without the cost of a new window.
    http://www.lavrans.com

    "He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp posts; for support rather than illumination." -Andrew Lang

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Billerica MA
    Posts
    208

    Default Re: Rotted window sills?

    The homeowner called the builder about the windows. The builder called me to see what we can do. Yes i was an employee when the house was built. Not actually my problem, but hate to see the builder or my old boss have negative reveiws on angie's list or whatever.

    Yes it is all pine casing and sills. Obviosly nothing was back primed, and sill about 10 degree slope.

    So you would feel comfortable replacing the rotted parts of the sills with cedar? Like i said i have done this on older houses to 1 or 2 windows, just don't want a call in 5 years because fix wasn't 100%.

    Also would you guys write something up in your contract only warrenting what was fixed and not the rest of the window? I would rather do a 8k repair than giving this guy a price of 30k for new windows. Just wanna make sure i don't screw myslef in the process.

    thanks joe

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Billerica MA
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    208

    Default Re: Rotted window sills?

    Oh and rivco windows (local supplier) and fastened with 10d spiral galv hand nails.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Portland, ME
    Posts
    6,302

    Default Re: Rotted window sills?

    Quote Originally Posted by someguy View Post
    Also would you guys write something up in your contract only warrenting what was fixed and not the rest of the window? I would rather do a 8k repair than giving this guy a price of 30k for new windows. Just wanna make sure i don't screw myslef in the process.
    Who is paying you?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    1,566

    Default Re: Rotted window sills?

    This is an issue for the home builder, homeowner, and Rivco Windows to resolve amongst themselves.

    If you let yourself get dragged into this, then you are setting yourself up to be the scapegoat for all future problems.

    The builder and/or current homeowner should contact the outside sales rep for Rivco to come look at the windows and talk about warranty repairs.

    Frankly, I think Rivco will wiggle out of their warranty by blaming the installer and/or lack of proper maintenance (annual painting) by the homeowner but theres always a chance they'll do the right thing.

    It's great that you want to help everybody out but you are being taken advantage of by the builder as it is his reputation at stake. It also sounds like the homeowner is looking for something for nothing and willing to take advantage of anyone foolish enough to get involved.

    Trust me, lose the White Knight complex. It doesn't work in finding true love and it's bad for business, too.
    Joe Adams
    Deep Creek Builders, Inc.
    Houston, Texas

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Portland, ME
    Posts
    6,302

    Default Re: Rotted window sills?

    Agreed. You will own these windows if you're not careful.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Seattle, WA
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    Default Re: Rotted window sills?

    Oh, yeah. You can't take the ball on this without having your role very clearly defined. I wouldn't go in and call it a warranty repair by any stretch of the imagination. The current HO probably doesn't have any right to claim warranty, and by their actions would be good people to be careful around.

    If I did the repairs I prefer tight grain CVG Fir for the sills, but a good clear cedar will work also. It sort of depends on how much abuse they get (tight grained old growth Fir is very tough and quite rot resistant, but it's also expensive, Cedar is cheaper, but soft, Teak works great, but it's hard to paint). I would probably use Cedar for the casing, but I don't know what's available in your neck of the woods.

    I would spell out very clearly that I was not responsible for any of the remaining, existing wood, that only what I installed was warrantied, and put in a strong line & instructions about maintenance. Before I went in I would also, if I were you, try to remember how those windows were waterproofed when they were installed & do some research on how to do it now, and perhaps think about whether that needs upgrading while the casing & sills are replaced.
    http://www.lavrans.com

    "He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp posts; for support rather than illumination." -Andrew Lang

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Mid Hudson Valley
    Posts
    314

    Default Re: Rotted window sills?

    We just got a delivery of brosco windows on the job, the sills were made of composite material, seems like a good idea. You might want to see if this manufacturer is also using composite sills and get them for replacements,that is, if you get drawn in to do the work.

    Don't under-estimate, this is no small job. If the stools are underbeveled to sit on the sill, and everything is nailed good, you're going to have a time carefully taking these apart to make repairs. If the house is occupied you have protection of contents and dust control issues, you may want to make a plastic enclosure to mount on the inside of the window. You may think you can do it all from outside, but you will need to open the lower sash and re-lock it when you are done.

    Finger pointing isn't going to help anybodyafter eight years, they're could be a number of factors contributing: crappy finger-jointed plantation pine sills, end-grain not sealed(factory problem), lousy paint schedule on install, no maintenance by owner, the list goes on and on.

    Before doing any work for this customer, he needs to be educated. If he just bought the house, and it had deficiencies, he should have had an inspection and negotiated an adjustment in the price at the time of purchase. If he did not do this, it is his problem.

    They're are somethings that can not be fixed, this relationship may be one of them. The owner is obviously contacting the builder because he feels he is responsible, I'm not so sure he is. If the guy persists at being unreasonable I would walk-away, he probably won't pay you completely.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    368

    Default Re: Rotted window sills?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lavrans View Post
    Before I went in I would also, if I were you, try to remember how those windows were waterproofed when they were installed & do some research on how to do it now, and perhaps think about whether that needs upgrading while the casing & sills are replaced.
    If the waterproofing wasn't done correctly there is going to be rotten sheathing / framing behind there. If the waterproofing isn't right I'd only do this job on a T&M basis. You never know what you're going to run into.
    "You couldn't do it and they didn't help.."

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Billerica MA
    Posts
    208

    Default Re: Rotted window sills?

    I think I mislead you guys. I was giving some info on the job, white knight i am not. Home owner will be paying me. He thought he might get something for free. I explained new growth pine and how easily it rots. Also told he about negleted paint and he seems to understand. He wanted to know what we can do, before i open my big mouth I just figured you guys have done it all and would have some good ideas

    Thanks for the replies, sorry for my posts. I am much more hands on then explaining things in writing.

    Joe

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Bridgewater, Mass
    Posts
    133

    Default Re: Rotted window sills?

    I would expect Rivco to deny any warranty claim, as they should. But, you may be able to work out a deal with them, and the HO...

    See if Rivco will give you some type of deal, add your labor, and a bullet-proof disclaimer regarding concealed damage, and let the HO decide whether or not they are serious ($) about fixing the problem.

    A little buy-in from all parties should be fair.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Bridgewater, Mass
    Posts
    133

    Default Re: Rotted window sills?

    Here is something else to think about...

    House is on third owner in 8 years, odds are they have not been living there long. When they bought the house, it must have had a professional inspection. This inspection should have called out the damage, and the lack of maintenance. The current owner may have even used this to get a price reduction.

    I would find out how long they have lived there, and ask for a copy of their inspection, if they are being honest with you they will show you it. You may learn that they knew all along, and are trying to get over on you.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Southwestern Vermont
    Posts
    1,972

    Default Re: Rotted window sills?

    I've done several of these repairs and in my experience if the damage is only limited to what you see in the pics consider yourself lucky. I usually encounter rotted sheathing to some extent and in the worse case the entire wall framing cavity beneath the window mush; exterior siding and interior sheetrock was all that was left.

    The last 2 windows like this I used Kleer, laminated 2 pieces of 5/4 together and routed the sill profile. Glued, screwed, caulked and painted the install as usual. Been about 6 months and looks good, I do work for this customer on a regular basis so I was ok trying something new knowing I could keep an eye on it. I think Advanced Trimwright has sill profiles readily available, haven't used them though.

    I'd be leery of working with this guy if he's threatening bad PR now for an 8 year old job. Can you agree on a scope of work for 1 window? Exploratory demo, repair, etc...if you open it up and the rot is extensive he may decide to chase his home inspector and anyone else involved in the purchase/sale.

    -Norm

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