Robert Lamoureux | Is the window broken? Or is it the surrounding stucco?


Question # 1

Hello Robert,

I live in Canyon Country and in our apartment the owners are responsible for the windows but not the surrounding siding and stucco. Even so, every time a leak occurs, the owners get drawn into the mix and are responsible for some of the investigation costs.

I have a bottom window that the association says is faulty, but I’m sure it’s not the window itself, but the surrounding stucco or parts of it.

How can I know for sure to reduce my responsibility if I am actually right?

– Mike G.

Answer No. 1


You’ll need to do your own water test to disprove your diagnosis. You can buy heavy plastic and red stucco ribbon at any large store. Use this option to tape the entire window frame / window, then do your own water test. This isolates the window and shows whether water is still entering.

To fully complete this test, you need to let the stucco dry out completely and then reverse the process by taping the surrounding stucco and just touching your window with water to see if it leaks too.

This is a process that may take some time depending on the weather. However, it will help you isolate the exact source without opening the stucco.

The other side is to look at it objectively and take into account the age of the building and windows. If you look at a building with original windows that is 20 years old, let’s say I wouldn’t reuse those windows under any circumstances. I would absolutely replace this one and get the guaranteed safety with no leaks and an even better insulation R-factor. New windows are incredibly more insulated than older ones.

Be sure to video your troubleshooting / water tests and present your results to the HOA. You can be responsible for all costs if it is actually your window. However, if it’s the stucco / paper behind the stucco, you’ll need to work out the cost-sharing with them while you pay for a new window.

This is my best recommendation for this particular situation.

Good luck.

– Robert

Robert Lamoureux has more than 40 years of experience as a general contractor with separate licenses for electrical and plumbing companies. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily The Signal’s. The opinions expressed in this column are not intended to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert below [email protected].

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