Are Weep Holes a Problem on Replacement Windows?

Are Weep Holes a Problem on Replacement Windows?

Windows aren't something most people spend a lot of time thinking about. When the time comes to purchase new or replacement windows it's important to look at the details. In addition to energy-ratings and customization options there are some other details you'll want to know about. One of those details is the weep holes. Some windows have weep holes and others don't. If you've already started researching windows you may have heard of problems people run into with windows that have weep holes. In this post, we'll detail what weep holes are and answer the question, "Are weep holes a problem on replacement windows." 

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What are Weep Holes?

Weep holes are small openings located at the bottom of the exterior frame of your replacement window. Although not all windows have weep holes you may see them on vinyl or metal window frames. Weep holes aren't just there for looks, they are designed to drain water from your windows. Windows are regularly exposed to outside elements including water from rain, sprinklers, and your garden hose and water can work its way down the frame and into some of the operable parts of the window. To prevent water from getting into your home from the window opening, it needs to have a way to escape. That's where weep holes come in. 

If water makes its way into your house you'll probably end up with a puddle but what you might not notice so much is when water is pooling at the bottom of the frame. Sitting water can lead to mold and wood rot in the window frame or window sill. The window weep holes are intentionally placed at the bottom of the window frame where water can slide down and out from.

Unfortunately, weep holes aren't perfect. Sometimes there's so much water from intense rain that it the weep holes don't provide enough space for the water to drain out at the same pace to which it is entering. When the water doesn't drain quickly it can build up and spill in through the window. Additionally, weep holes are typically placed at a height that the water level sometimes pools below the drainage holes. Again, when water is left sitting it can cause damage to the frame and surrounding areas. But if your window has weep holes how do you prevent damage? The best way to prevent water damage from weep holes is through maintenance. 

Maintenance requirements on windows with weep holes

Sometimes weeps holes get clogged up by dirt, leaves, twigs, and other debris. It's important to regularly inspect your windows for any debris and clear it out to prevent drainage problems. A good time to do this is when you clean your window glass. Some homeowners clean their windows multiple times a year but if you can take one day out of your year and spend it cleaning all your windows you'll be in good shape. 

If you're experiencing several days of heavy rainfall, you'll want to inspect your windows for pooling water. Remember, sometimes the water level won't reach the height of the window weeps. Prevent damage from sitting water by wiping up the water. 

Tip: You can clean the weep holes using a flathead screw driver, wire, or toothpick. After clearing the weeps, flush some water through it to clear out any left over dirt or debris then dry off the area with a towel. 

Sloped Sill vs Weep Holes

The bottom part of a window frame is known as sill. A sloped sill is designed as an inclined plane to divert the water coming down the window unit and prevents it from entering through the window into the home. In addition to diverting water it prevents buildup of dirt and debris when it rains. Unlike weep holes, windows with sloped sills don't have a lower lip so there is no opportunity for debris buildup or blockage; water drains away much more easily. 

People often prefer replacement windows with sloped sill over weep holes because they require less maintenance and care than those with weep holes.

Should I buy windows with weep holes?

If you're just about ready to sign for windows with weep holes don't be deterred! As long as the window meets the rest of your needs then go for it. As we mentioned above, sloped sills are preferred by most homeowners but as long as you're up for a little maintenance then buying windows with weep holes is not a bad decision.


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