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Window Separating From Wall [Why It Happens & What To Do]

I know that it’s worrying to say the least when you first notice that your window is separating from the wall of your home.

Window Separating From Wall

It happened to the upstairs windows of my old cottage just months ago. The gap created can cause all sorts of problems related to heating and cooling as well as the spreading of damp and rot.

Surprisingly, this is a common issue. There are many possible causes. To find the resolution, you must first diagnose the problem.

This may require professional surveying. It might simply come down to a bad fitting, or, worst case scenario, a foundation problem.

Issues that can cleave your window from your wall range from worrying structural situations to a dodgy installation. The invasiveness and cost of the fixes go up in tandem with the severity of the cause.

Foundation Issues

The worst possible scenario is that the foundation of your home was poorly laid and is no longer stable.

This motion creates a lot of pressure points on the structure of a building. Fixtures that aren’t part of the core structure, i.e. wood or brick, are particularly vulnerable.

Over time, motion and pressure create a gulf between the wall and your window frames.

But before you start panicking that this is what’s happening in your home, you should know that it’s very unlikely. Plus, if this is the problem, a few window gaps wouldn’t be the only symptoms.

The video below will help you identify common foundational issues: 

How To Fix It

If you decide that this is the issue, it’s time to call in a structural engineer. They’ll inspect and advise on the best course of action. As the above video explains, excavation isn’t always necessary. Often, simple wall braces can resolve the problem.

Old Windows

Window Separating From Wall (1)

Old age isn’t just a problem for us living organisms, but objects too, as it’s not a matter of biology, but one of physics.

Over time, window fixtures degrade, and the first thing to go is the glue and sealant that secures them to the wall.

You’re then left with gaps where these materials used to be. They can grow wider over time as air and moisture from outside get involved.

How To Fix It

If you were planning on replacing your windows anyway, the best course of action is to move the replacement ahead of schedule.

If no such renovation is on the cards, you’ll be happy to know that you can fix this pretty easily.

You need to reset your problem windows by replacing the trim and then resealing them.

I find that Gorilla Glue sealant is the best product for the job, but if you have your own preferences, feel free to stick to your guns.

Poor Window Installation

Unfortunately, construction workers and window fitters don’t always do a good job.

Whether the mistakes come down to negligence, inexperience, or time constraints, the results are almost always the same.

Moisture and air get in through small gaps in the installation. Damp damages the drywall. And the window frame peels loose from the structure.

This issue can snowball quickly. The more moisture the breach invites in, the bigger the gaps get, and the bigger the gaps get, the more moisture gets in — Irritating, right?

How To Fix It

In this scenario, your first port of call should be to locate the installation issue that’s letting moisture pass into your home.

You could use something like a temperature gun to find the general area, but a thermal imager will be much more precise and efficient.

That said, sometimes the damage itself will lead you to the source of the issue.

Once located, you should use a utility knife to open up the drywall and get eyes on the problem. Being that moisture has likely eaten into it, you’ll have to remove the damaged areas anyway, so dig in!

It’s not uncommon for the installer to have covered their tracks in some way. For instance, they might shove some insulation in the way to mask the issue.

As such, don’t just use your eyes. Feel for cold air or dampness on surfaces, and check behind things that seem to be hiding the problem area.

When you’ve reached the fault, it’s time to fix it. Fill any gaps with high quality sealant like the Gorilla Glue we mentioned earlier.

With the mistakes resolved, finish this project off by repairing the drywall, and voilà; job done!

For a comprehensive breakdown of the task at hand, check out the video below.

Warped Wood Or Vinyl

When people say that wood “breathes”, they mean that it expands and contracts in response to temperature and humidity. This motion can separate window frames from the wall.

If this is happening on a new build, it’s down to poor installation. But if this is an older build, it could either be poor maintenance or simply mother nature making things difficult for you.

How To Fix It

Repairing warped wooden or vinyl siding is a pretty tricky job. It’s not beyond the realms of a DIY fix, but only if you know what you’re doing. Otherwise, it’s best to call in a professional fitter.

They’ll determine the underlying issue, so you won’t see the same thing happen again any time soon.

Final Thoughts

That gap between your window and your wall is only going to keep getting bigger, so it’s best to solve the problem as soon as possible.

With any luck, this guide has helped you diagnose the issue, which is the first step on the road to a fix. Next on the agenda… deciding whether it’s a DIY or professional job.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can You Tell If There’s A Problem With A Building’s Foundation?

Cracks in the walls are a dead giveaway that something’s not quite right with the foundation of a building. The separating of fixtures from walls is another clue something’s amiss.

How Can You Tell If There’s A Problem With A Building’s Foundation?

9 times out of 10, it’s possible to fix a window pulling away from the wall. It’s normally a relatively easy job too. But if the problem relates to warped siding or foundational issues, it’s best to call in a professional.

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