Aluminum Windows Water Leakage Problems – Tips and Tricks

Buildings and architecture functions are protection and climate adaptation. Each component of the building play a role to achieve these main functions. Aluminum used as building material for windows and openings. Aluminum windows face a water leaking problems, due to Aluminum works and it surrounding. Aluminium windows and opening can easily resist rain water, but when it rains on a windy day this may occur aluminium water leakage. The wind will blow the rain horizontally, forcing it to leak inside the building. This post will discuss several tips and tricks to avoid aluminium windows water leaking.

Aluminum Specifications Tips

Aluminum system and specification play an important role to avoid water leaking. Read “How to Buy Aluminum Sliding Windows” article for more information about aluminum specifications. To select the proper aluminum system for the windows is important, where it has to be designed to resist wind forces. If the window shake it will affect the aluminium window and the filler between it and walls accrue water leakage. Selecting the aluminum system and profile depend on the window shape and direction.

For wide openings, windows that has four panels these is a special profile for the side profile in the middle of the window. As shown in the following photo, P profile enhance the aluminum profile resisting wind and horizontal forces. Also P profile works as a panel handle where hand can pull the profile to open the panel instead of pulling the panel from lock by a finger. For long two panels windows, a P profile will enhance it horizontal forces resistance.

Sliding panels doors with P profile for support wind forces
Sliding panels doors with P profile for support wind forces, Gaza 2020

For windows that contain fixed and sliding opening, the profile between the fix and open has to be one piece. Many aluminium workshops and contractors laying two profiles systems over each others. If the two system’s profile doesn’t lock, then it will leave an opening between the two systems. This open has to be filled with a filler to prevent water leaking. Filler will solve the problem temporarily, because filler can’t resist weathering for long period, then the window will leak rain water again.

aluminum sliding window and fixed systems have two profiles that has gap
aluminum sliding window and fixed systems have two profiles that has gap, Gaza 2020

Aluminum Accessories Tips

Rubber strips is used between glass and aluminium as a soft layer to protect glass and to prevent water leakage. There are two choices, rubber sealing strips – the two pieces- and rubber beading strips – U shape rubber -. Rubber sealing – the two pieces – are the inner and outer part. These rubbers are easy to install and easy to disassemble, and could disassembled with time because of panel opening and moving. Without rubber the glass will shake and water will leak inside. The second choice is to use rubber beading – the U shape – rubber, its covering the glass. U shape rubber are hard to install, and won’t remove by weathering. In addition to glass lay at soft rubber material making U shape rubber better then rubber sealing strips.

Rubber sealing strips problems - the two pieces -
Rubber sealing strips problems – the two pieces -, Gaza 2020

When wind blows the rain toward the aluminium window, it will hit the panels and slide down the the lower aluminium profile. The lower profile need to drain the rain water to outside while the wind is blowing water inside. It’s recommended in windy direction to use lower profile with a container, so before it drains inside the profile, then from the container it will drain water slowly to outside. The drain opening between the container and outside need non-return valve accessory to allow water draining during high speed winds. The placement of grooves between the rails has to face the glass panel in the outside direction. Also the placement of drain openings between the rails and the container are very sensitive. 

wrong placement of grooves between the rails, it has to face the glass panel in the outside direction.
wrong placement of grooves between the rails, it has to face the glass panel in the outside direction. Gaza 2019
aluminum sliding window non return valve, Gaza 2020
aluminum sliding window non return valve, Gaza 2020

Before Installing Aluminum Works Tips

Windows boundaries threads and sills have to be straight in right angles. So the angled aluminum window will fit exactly the wall opening. Craftsman need to leave a gap to avoid waving walls problem. The gap needs filling to prevent water leakage. Fillers are expensive and affecting by weathering, save money by having a straight well angled opening.

For better bonding between walls and aluminum use solid blocks for the opening sides, where screws will bond better. hollow block layers has less than a centimeter thickness, which it’s not enough for screws to bond.

To prevent sliding doors water leakage, do a two levels in thickness of the lower door profile – the rails profile – to avoid rain water leakage. In the same method, window sill can be in two levels to avoid the rain water leakage underneath the aluminium. The two levels can be implemented using two marbles layers, The connection between the two marble could occur leakage. So the best solution is to cast the window sill from a mosaic in two levels,  to prevent weak areas between the two pieces. Before installing the aluminum window check the sill and if it bond well with the wall. sill crack or if the sill isn’t well bonding to the wall will occur rain water leakage. Wind will blow the rain between the cracks, as shown in the following photo.

Balcony tiles in two levels to prevent rain water leakage
Balcony tiles in two levels to prevent rain water leakage. Gaza 2020
napco aluminum sliding windows double rails, and two levels sills to prevent rain water leakage
Aluminum sliding windows rails, the sill have two layers to prevent rain water leakage, Gaza 2016

Installing Tips for Aluminum Works To Prevent Water Leaking

However aluminum system and specifications are important, also there are important things to take into consideration during installing aluminum woks

Silicone and polyurethane caulk, is a rubber adhesive materials, it design for expanding with weather differences. Expand in the winter when the aluminium collapse and collapse when aluminium expand to prevent water leaking. Silicone effect from weathering therefore it use for inside gaps only. Polyurethane adhesive products like SikaFlex used for outdoor side, however it cost 10 times of silicone price,  it has better weathering resistance. Before installing silicone or Sikaflex clean the window sill, otherwise the adhesive will stick with the dust instead of the sill. So clean the sides, use a blower then a wet cloth and after that use gasoline to clean the window sill. 

During installation use stainless steel screws instead of steel screws to avoid rusting. Also drill the screws in the sides, and do not drill screws at the aluminium lower profile. The screw will make cracks in the aluminum profile and sill resulting a water leakage.

Crack between wall and sill occur water leaking problems
Crack between wall and sill occur water leaking problems , Gaza 2019

FAQs

Does glass lay over aluminium when using sealing – two rubbers – instead of rubber beading – U shape – rubber?

When using sealing rubber strips – the two rubbers – and to avoid glass touch the aluminium. Aluminium contractors put plywood in 2 mm thickness at glass edges to be as rubber layer.

How to test aluminium windows water leakage?

Usually site engineers use water hose toward the aluminium window to simulate rainy and windy day. The test requires a high pressure water hose, therefore fire pipes stand could be used. For large scale projects, engineers ask civil defense to use fire fighting truck to test it toward the aluminium windows.

How to check rubber sealing and beading quality? 

Rubber has to be elastic, it will dry by weathering, test it before installation by tension the rubber by hand. If the rubber stay black it’s good, if it has a white color during tension, this means it’s dry and won’t work well. 

Aluminum Composite Panels Edges

Aluminum Composite Panels (ACP) is modern, cold, lightweight material, it gives aerodynamic feeling for architecture. Aluminum Composite Panels Edges’ details and finishing is the beauty. Throughout this post we will discuss the different edge types, there are three main edges types: ACP edge’s profiles, Folding ACP and Gluing ACP edges. Edge types beauty is to have glossiness continuity of ACP panels to achieve aerodynamic feeling design. ACP designed to be able to groove and fold, this by using different machines and techniques. Also there are a method to install edge’s profiles.

ACP Edge’s Profile

Aluminum composite panels edges’ profiles available in different shapes to fit different applications. F profile use for right angle edge, while H profile use for straight angle edge, this beside other profiles for special uses. These profiles are available in different colors according to RAL index, also some materials like mirror and golden mirror …etc. Notice that ACP edge’s profiles have to fit ACP colors, if color isn’t available paint it using powder coating. Advantages of edge’s profile, it’s easy to install, edges will be straight, cutting finishing will be fair enough. However ACP edges’ profile are easy to install, but profile doesn’t have aesthetic value, where profile level is higher than sheets. Different levels mean glossiness won’t be continuous through different sheets, This hide the beauty of aerodynamic glossiness.

aluminum composite panels trim profile edge
aluminum composite panels trim profile edge
aluminum composite panels trim profile edge
aluminum composite panels trim profile edge, Alhelou Petrol by ORIGIN DESIGN 2018

ACP Folding Edges

Despite its difficult and has high cost method but it shows the beauty of ACP. The folding concept by creating a groove at the back of ACP that allow the sheet to fold. The groove placement has to be well measured. The grooves implemented by a blade installed at router, or table saw, CNC machine cut and create grooves at one stage. The Blades are available in different sizes and shapes to reach the needed groove for required application. The difficulties facing folded edges’, it’s hard to level panels together, it’s a sensitive in-site mission need accurate. The high aesthetic value by having straight same level, and continuity of soft glossiness.

Aluminum composite panel folding type
Aluminum composite panel folding type
Aluminum Composite panels glossiness
Aluminum Composite panels glossiness, Alhelou Petrol by ORIGIN DESIGN 2018

ACP Edges Gluing

For special cases like curves we could use edges’ profiles or to glue edges. Glue edges will appear better, however it’s sensitive and has many processes to implement. Although Gluing is weak compared to edge folding and profiles, and it won’t last for a long time. 
To implement edge gluing, it requires to cut both sheet ends at 45 degrees. Then gather them using Sikaflex, and avoid using indoor silicon. Notice that SikaFlex will glue in a while mean both sheets need to stay temporarily in place until SikaFlex dry. Check if SikaFlex dried by doubt it by a needle , if needle is clean this mean its dry, otherwise needle will have remains of SikaFlex. After that using small brush paint the edges with the same color of ACP. This Method is useful also for 3D applications and decorations ends.

Aluminum composite panels gluing edges, Alhelou Petrol by ORIGIN DESIGN, Gaza 2019
Aluminum composite panels gluing edges, Alhelou Petrol by ORIGIN DESIGN, Gaza 2019

Generally, Details have a big effect. The photo below shows a petrol station in circular shape and curve section I have designed and implemented for Alhelou Petrol station in Gaza 2018. The job was very sensitive and accurate, and edges’ finishing added much to this project. The client was happy and proud with the design and results. Now you have a good knowledge about ACP edges’ connections, feel free to ask any question. i like to hear from you. 

Alhelou station by ORIGIN DESIGN, Gaza 2018
Alhelou Petrol by ORIGIN DESIGN , Gaza 2018