While doing a one year warranty inspection I noticed stressed paint on the edge of a window. There's faux stone. Sure there's water getting in, but why?
Anytime you see the dripping, folded paint it indicates moisture leaking.
And it had not rained in three days but the moisture meter still registered >30%, indicating active moisture migration.
This is a problem!
But there is more!
And it concerned me greatly.
Looking at the window from the side I saw something that really bothered me.
But it's hard to capture with a photo.
The window is bulging inward!
This is a wide window arrangement.
It's 12' wide.
It is comprised of many windows all pieced together to get a large window area.
There are two casements on each side of a large, stationary center window.
And the window arrangement is bulging!
The bulge can be seen from inside and out!
From outside it looks to be getting sucked into the house.
This is a big deal!
The header over the window, crucial in carrying the load over the window structure, is moving downward!
What's going on?
The front facade of the house is covered with faux stone.
I can see gaps all over the place!
But especially around the window.
AS I SAID, ALL OVER THE PLACE!
This gap is beside the window where the paint is stressed. I can see all the way into the substrate plastic cover!
Faux stone is a huge problem when not installed properly!
On my reports with houses that have faux stone I include links to many manufacturer sites. These links show dozens of diagrams which show how to provide flashing and drainage over and around everything imaginable - windows, doors, sills, interior and exterior corners - the works!
There are special needs products manufactured to facilitate drainage in all those areas.
They have funny names, like corner flashing, weep screeds, backer rods, casement beads, etc.
Without them, things will leak. IT IS GUARANTEED!
Mortar should never touch a window, or its frame. It should be separated by these drainage materials and caulking.
If I can see mortar touching this window, and into holes around the window, it is a 100% guarantee that water is getting in.
WHAT DO I THINK IS HAPPENING? I THINK THE WINDOW FRAMING AND HEADER ARE SOAKED AND MOVING. THIS CAN CREATE PRESSURE ON THE WINDOW ASSEMBLIES! IT LOOKS LIKE IT ALREADY IS! IF THESE WINDOWS BULGE ENOUGH, FEARFULLY, WHY WOULD THEY NOT ONE DAY REACH CRITICAL LOAD AND EXPLODE INTO THE HOUSE?
This is a big yikes! All I can do is recommend a structural engineer's investigation, a faux stone installer's opinion and a window professional's determination here! And I did!
My recommendation: BE VERY, VERY CAREFUL WITH ONE YEAR INSPECTIONS! SOME BUILDERS ARE "DEFINING" ONE YEAR AS 11 MONTHS! In this case that was true. When they called for their "one year inspection" I asked them to check to make sure of the date any home inspection report had to be in. Had they waited until eleven months, two weeks, they would not have been in time! And in this case, I fear, this front facade, and front window assembly, will need a complete make over! WITHIN THE WARRANTY PERIOD!
But I'm not a structural engineer, faux stone installer or window professional... he says with a smile and a wink.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560