Monday, May 28, 2012

Flashing is not to protect wood from water? WHAT?

Here is what my PM said about the lack of window flashing on that window I've been upset about:  " The flashing is not there to protect the wood  it sheds the water out from behind the siding around the window. As long as they have it taped it’s okay."

UPDATE (3):  Here is the building code that refers to the problem in this post: R703.8 Flashing.
corrosion-resistant flashing shall be applied shingle-fashion in a manner to prevent entry of water into the wall cavity or penetration of water to the building structural framing components. Self-adhered membranes used as flashing shall comply with AAMA 711. The flashing shall extend to the surface of the exterior wall finish.
 If the tape does not overlap the lower pieces (shingle-fashion) then the windows are out of code.  I just might go and check every window now. The one window in question is DEFINITELY not to code because the overlap is wrong.

Added 6/1/2012
Here is a photo of how the flashing tape is suppose to be put on.  I got this from Protecto Wrap's website.  It is their installation instructions.  Protecto Wrap is the flashing tape that my builder is using.

Now I like my PM but I do NOT like this answer.  Here's what I want to say:

1.  I did not pay over $200,000.00 on a house to have tape make it "okay".
2.  Flashing refers to thin continuous pieces of sheet metal or other impervious material installed to prevent the passage of water into a structure from an angle or joint. Flashing generally operates on the principle that, for water to penetrate a joint, it must work itself upward against the force of gravity or in the case of wind-driven rain, it would have to follow a tortuous path during which the driving force will be dissipated. (Source:
3. Uhmmm....if it's there to shed water.....isn't  that to protect it?   (Sorry if I'm sounding female doggish here)

So...if #2 defined is correct...then that window is still wrong because there is no tortuous path for this water to travel to keep from getting in the window.  It just has to go down the side into the tape they put up to make it all okay.

I'm sorry PM.  I do not agree with you on this one.  

Disclaimer:  I am not saying my PM is a jerk or anything like that.  I truly do like the guy and I generally like to see the best in everyone I meet.  That being said...He said exactly what was said above in quotes. upsets me but I'm not against him.  I'm against his current thoughts on the apparent okay taping of my house.

If it were your house, would you let tape make it all better?   I think we all know the answer to that. 

UPDATE #1(cause I'm sure there will be more): I just reviewed the window with a construction manager friend of mine and he said that the FOIL TAPE (not flashing) is not needed because the window has it's own flange (nailer) on the bottom of it. I'm not sure I buy this 100% because all my research still says otherwise. I'm  so nervous about the house and didn't see why this window would be different from all the rest. I still don't fully understand why you'd bother flashing all the windows but this one. UPDATE:  There is self adhesive flashing this is not foil tape.  It is some sort of flashing.  I still have to research its uses.

As long as a building inspector says this is ok then I will not bring it up anymore.    My lack of knowledge on building terminology is a hindrance so I need things spelled out clearly to understand them.  When the PM wrote "Flash Sill" on the sill, I assumed that I needed to check out anything and everything about flashing. 

The jury is still out on this though.  I have one more construction buddy to talk to and some research on flashing tape to do.  I don't want to make a big deal out of it if I don't have to.  I just wish they would have done it like the others in the first place or at least proactively told me about it and why they did what they did so I could just enjoy the building process.   Clear COMMUNICATION is a virtue.

UPDATE #2(later that morning..):  Here is the response I got from the PM this morning: "When the framer comes to put the front door in we will redo the window"    I like this.  This is what I expect for the amount of money that I'm paying.  THANK YOU.    Now I don't have to freak out and research and I know that it will be taken care of like it should have been in the first place.  At this point, I don't care if they are mad about it.  I know they wouldn't accept anything less if it were their own house so why should I accept anything less for myself?  Perhaps this will set the tone to make the future work precise, as it should be skipping corners on my house please.  Is that too much to ask?


  1. Simple answer, no.

    A couple of resources if your PM wants to brush up on proper flashing methods:

    From the gov:

    A good video and shows how a flashing pan needs to be made. Tape on the outside is not good enough, period:

  2. Thanks Thomas. I will definitely keep that EPA resource handy to give to him if/when I think it's needed. I let him know that I am not happy via email and I want to give him a chance to correct it properly. I hate to be a pain in anyone's butthole but this really peeves me. I don't want to have to deal with water issues around a window EVER and I can just see myself years from now still mad about this when the window rots out and my warranty has expired. I'll be too old and crinkly then to want to fight for what is right by I want it done right NOW.

  3. I don't have an answer as I am rather ignorant on proper window installation as it pertains to flashing, taping, etc....
    There is a possibility that he may be "right" to a degree that he can say "tough sh!t, it's fine". If it comes to that, I would log all pics and correspondence for future use if needed.
    You could always hire a pre-drywall inspection and get an outside opinion. It may be worth the money just for this case specifically.

  4. Darn it. I was hoping, out of all people, Sgt. Rich would have an answer. :) I agree that there may be a possibility that he is "right" so that is why I seriously researched everything I possibly could about it and found nothing to support his comment. I was hoping to avoid a home inspector but I guess I might have to get one now. When we added on our old home the building inspector actually checked this type of thing out so I'm hoping that maybe whoever does the framing inspection will catch it. I'm having a couple contractor friends come out this week to check it out too. If I'm wrong I will apologize but I'm 99.99999% sure that I'm not. I know how physics works and I know the idea behind flashing.

  5. On our build they didnt use flashing they used a waterproof vinyl sort of material along with tyvek tape to shed water away from the windows, so this may just be an alternate method opposed to sheet metal.

  6. Super Awesome Flashing website that shows you all the WHY as to why I'm making a big deal about this window. Check it out:

    Love this site.

  7. That is great that they are redoing your window so the flashing is correct. Good for you for pushing for it. I think that was the right thing.

  8. I actually wrote the guy who has a business dealing with window issues on home and asked him to take a look at my pictures. Here is what he said: " It's obvious they don't have a clue about keeping the water out. Code calls for tyvek and tape. They figure it doesn't matter how it's applied. Me, I'd tell them to stop work until they do it to my specs and until then contract is considered 'cancelled'"

    I'm going to go check out the building codes and talk to a building inspector sometime this week or the next when I get a chance. I definitely want to make sure that the windows are at least up to code.