Common Problems at the Interface Between Masonry Drainage Walls and Windows

    Published: Jan 1996

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    An often overlooked area in masonry wall construction is the interface between masonry walls and windows. Interior water leakage, water staining, peeling paint, condensation, mold and mildew can result from deficiencies at this interface. The causes of these problems include water bridging across cavities to interior surfaces, water penetrating failed sealant joints, air from the masonry cavity contacting window jambs, air or moisture moving from the interior into wall cavities and components of the wall system forming thermal bridges. This paper reviews considerations for detailing the interface between masonry walls and windows and offers suggested methods for different window configurations. The authors have developed interface details to address the problems identified during their investigations of hundreds of building failures. The window opening configurations reviewed by the authors include horizontal ribbon windows, shallow and deeply recessed punched windows and vertical strip windows. Continuous flashings at the heads and sills of the wall openings and seals across drainage cavities at jambs prevent water and air leakage. Multi-component or thermally broken flashings prevent thermal bridges between interior and exterior surfaces.


    Flashing, sealant, horizontal ribbon windows, vertical strip windows, punched windows, water leakage, condensation, vapor retarder membranes, end dam, drip, membrane flashing

    Author Information:

    Krogstad, NV
    Consultant, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., Northbrook, IL

    Weber, RA
    Architect/Engineer II, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., Northbrook, IL

    Johnson, DK
    Consultant, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., Northbrook, IL

    Paper ID: STP18202S

    Committee/Subcommittee: C15.03

    DOI: 10.1520/STP18202S

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