What would you do?

Inspected a nev construction house, the other day. Very few problems and the place looked well built.

Then I looked at the garage. All the house and garage windows were vinyl replacement, flange types. In the unfinished garage you could see the Tyvek inside, over the window which means that the garage window was improperly installed.

This would also seem to indicate that the house’s windows were also not properly installed (wooden frame with vinyl siding) although it would be imporssible to see it.

How would you write this up? I will post my verbiage later.

A photo would be nice. You mentioned that in the unfinished garage you could see the Tyvek inside, over the window. I’m not sure I understand, do you mean between header and window frame or on the exterior side of window framing. In a garage with unfinished walls / open studs the presents of Tyvek / vapor barrier could easily be visible as discribed. Without a photo for a visual it makes it difficult. If you feel that the Tyvek was incorrectly installed then just call it out.

Tyvek (vapor barrier) is incorrectly installed around window(s) framing and could cause water intrusion. Recommend further evaluation and or correction by a qualified professional.

This is a common practice in my area. For some reason the builders now think the siders are responsible for the TyVek installation which means it’s a half arse job after the windows and doors are installed.

If you think it’s installed wrong then definitely call it out.
Recommend more evasive inspection before closing and if confirmed it should be corrected.

I regularly see homes that have significant failure in the building envelope due to this.

I would probably say something like

The unfinished garage window that the tyvex was visible has an improper installation. (state ok exact defect). This can leak to water intrusion in the future and voids all warranties from the tyvex manufacture. If the unfinished garage is a typical window installation then all the windows have the tyvex installed improperly. Have a licensed contractor determine if the tyvex around the other windows are improperly installed, this could not be done by this company as the tyvex in the finished areas is not visible.

I would read this first. http://www2.dupont.com/Tyvek_Weatherization/en_US/assets/downloads/InstallGuideOpenStud.pdf

It is also a common, but incorrect practice around here also. You almost never see Tyvek tape being used either.

sight unseen
many have benefited from Frank Alberts tutorial

Here is a picture. I meant that the Tyvek was taken in between the window and the wooden frame opening.

The picture looks like it has drywall for exterior sheathing…


That could be alright Larry.


Yep. For some silly reason, required in Chicago. They say that it is a fire safety thing.

Sure, could be…just not common around here.

Interesting…does it have to do with the close proximity of the dwelling units? Or, is it required at further distances, too?

Mainly close proximity, which is pretty much the whole city. Has someting to do with a little event called the Great Chicago Fire. For many years, they didn’t even let you build a wooden frame house.

As to my original post, I did call out that the buyers should have the builder have the window manufacturer’s field engineer come out and verify that the windows were installed properly and certify, in writing, as such. This will involve the building opening some drywall.

The agents are not pleased with me because of this and they are pressuring the buyers. But I see it as a possible “hidden defect” based upon the improper insulation seen in the garage. Builder is threatening to sue of the deal falls through. My response to him is the determining factor as to if the deal falls through is whether or not he had the smarts to have the windows properly installed.

In any case, I am getting many people pushing back at me telling me I am being too picky or being a deal killer. I see it as merely protecting my client, based upon seen problems, and reasonably doubting that house’s windows were done right.

That is the pint that I wanted to get addressed and discussed here.

I had an issue a few years ago involving improperly installed window flashings, which prompted me to add this narrative to all of my reports in the section covering windows.

The proper installation of flashings around windows is critical to water proofing the exterior walls. Missing, damaged or improperly installed flashings are the most common cause of moisture intrusion to walls and baseboards beneath windows. Because these flashings are concealed by the exterior wall covering, we cannot endorse them and specifically disclaim any evaluation of these flashings, and leaks may become evident only during heavy, prolonged or wind-driven rainfall.

In the rare case where these flashings are actually visible, if I see any indication of improper installation, I will assume they are all improper and make recommendations accordingly.

So, Jeff, you think that I had sufficient cause to call this out as a possible hidden defect?

This is a good link on how to install Tyvek and windows. If you know the window manufacture you can also look up their installation instructions and point it out to the customer. http://www.smithphillips.net/PDFs/TyvekhomewrapBeforeInstall.pdf

It’s difficult to give a definitive answer based on the limited view in your picture, however, I believe you’re competent enough to be able to determine if this particular window flashing was improperly installed.

With that said, if I found one bad installation that was exposed, I would absolutely consider the remaining windows to be suspect. In that regard, I would recommend further investigation for all installed flashings.

IMHO - it’s very unlikely that only one window was improperly flashed.

YES! I would have done the same here.

After reviewing the photo you provided I would also agree that the window flashing was improperly installed. The picture you provided visibly shows that the Tyvek is between window frame and header/trimmer. The window should first be properly installed (sealed and anchored) against wood framing or sheeting, then flashed around window flange. This incorrect install of Tyvek (vapor barrier) has greatly increased the chances of water intrusion around window(s).

Would you call out the windows in the house, as well, based upon just this suspicion?

NO! The reason is there is no evidence. If you see improper work in one area it may or may not reflect on the window installer they hired for the other part of the home. As Jeffrey P pointed out I would recommend further investigation.
In other words not your call unless you become the window installation consultant.