I live in the tropics and plan to build my first home soon. The house will be 2-story with high ceilings (3.96m floor to floor--to improve indoor temp), walls will be made of plastered bricks and I plan to use aluminium windows. I want the house to be leak-proof, and I'm concerned about the windows. Since some of them will be high up on the second floor, I'm looking for a design that allows zero or less maintenance. If it's possible I don't want to have overhangs because I want the minimalist look for the house. Since caulk doesn't last a lifetime, I wonder how tall apartments manage to have leak-proof windows.

Will putting a 6-inch-thick upside-down U frame (concrete) like this help?

Hope to hear what you think!

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    I think that not having overhangs is asking for trouble with leaks. I once went to a museum exhibit about Frank Lloyd Wright's buildings and furniture which got into some of the "real life problems" with undeniably "nice to look at" but "difficult to live with" details that included roof leaks, unstable chairs, and structural issues. Your design already seems to have an overhang between floors - perhaps put a parapet on the roof and shove it out another meter or so to continue that look (and give you some outdoor space on top when it's nice.)
    – Ecnerwal
    Jan 14, 2020 at 14:30
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    This looks like a 53' container stacked on a 40'. Keep in mind they need to be centered on the connector bungs; offsetting them for aesthetic reasons may create support issues and should not be done without engineering approval. If that's not true, I apologize but that's what the design invokes. Jan 14, 2020 at 18:58
  • @Ecnerwal thanks! I think it will look like a bowl if the rooftop is also longer. And how do I protect the windows on the longer walls? Do you think there’s a more balanced solution that combines overhang protection and clean, modern look?
    – stelle
    Jan 15, 2020 at 12:45

2 Answers 2


Everyone wants their house to be leak proof. No one gets it. I live in Florida and am always getting calls to re-caulk windows in high rise buildings that leak. That's just what water does. You mentioned aluminum windows. They expand and contract with the weather, that will break a seal and water will find a way to get in. Zero or less maintenance doesn't exist. Your 6" concrete upside down "U" would probably end up pulling away from the wall a bit and leaking there, needing caulk. Since I mentioned caulk, it have improved much over the last few decades. The quality silicone caulk available today does great job at remaining flexible and while it might not last a lifetime, I've installed some that still great after 30 years. Good luck.

  • I'll echo this: invest in a good ladder and quality caulk.
    – Borgh
    Jan 14, 2020 at 14:26
  • Thanks Jack! Does it mean an overhang just above the window (built at the same time with the wall) will also eventually pull away from the wall and not do much either?
    – stelle
    Jan 15, 2020 at 12:49
  • A overhang above the windows made of the same material as the wall at the same time would be OK. A 6" concrete "u" would be too heavy and would have to be poured and then installed.
    – JACK
    Jan 15, 2020 at 13:00

Think “peel-and-stick” tape instead of caulking.

I live in a high wind area and we don’t use caulking. We use a 4” window flashing tape to permanently seal windows and doors.

Learn how it should be installed...this will help:


Like all things, there’s always good, better and best. Invest in the best windows you can buy , including 1) structural stability (you have high ceilings so you’ll have oversized windows) , 2) quality glazing system (glass is rated to span a certain distance...verify for your location), 3) stainless steel anchors to guard against corrosion, 4) best window frame drainage, 5) if you have operable windows, make sure all the hardware is stainless steel, etc.

Large windows means large solar gain. Think about orientation of your house with the sun. Or spend the money to get solar reflective glazing. It’ll keep your house comfortable and reduce cooling costs.

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