During Hurricane Irma, the accessories that seal windows, such as gaskets and weather strips, were subjected to stress that caused leaking. In some cases, the window components may have been leaking before Irma but were undetected.
“Damaged drywall or wood trim can point to water intrusion that started earlier than Irma, whether from sealant failure or construction and maintenance issues,” says Beers. “If an investigation suggests that water infiltration has been occurring for a while, it’s time to develop a field water-testing program, to follow the path of intrusion and, ultimately, eliminate the cause.”
Field water infiltration testing determines the resistance of manufactured windows, curtain walls, skylights, and doors to water penetration. The test involves constructing an air barrier across the inside of an assembly and vacuuming air from it, while applying a uniform water spray across the exterior. The water infiltration test is a field version of laboratory certification tests and simulates the conditions of a wind driven rain storm.
“The good news is hurricane-resistant windows rarely sustain irreparable damage, but windows that leaked during Hurricane Irma should be checked now to ensure they’re as functional as they need to be to make it through another hurricane that approaches Irma’s intensity,” says Beers. “Conducting a field water test will determine exactly what’s wrong with the window and how to resolve the problem.”
To learn more about the effects of water leakage during Hurricane Irma, watch GCI’s two-part video series. For assistance with wind damage assessment and recovery call 1.877.740.9990 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.