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The previous owner installed each of the windows onto 1.25x1.25 frame on the outside of the house (I believe to create more of a window sills on the inside). Is it actually possible to do this with proper weather seal or is this a completely unacceptable way to install windows?

At a minimum I want to inspect/maintain the caulking they applied (or didn't) but I am worried I need to pull all the windows, cut into the sills inside and reinstall the windows tight against the house (and then add proper frames outside).

Note in the third picture the wood frame is attached to tongue and grove and no caulking is applied on the outside. This seems pretty bad to me and I know very little about construction.

We are removing siding from one wall of the house because there was some water damage from a gutter that caused damage to siding, T&G below, and even the framing. In this process I saw how poorly installed the windows are.

Window has a cosmetic frame around it that the siding actually goes beneath:

Window has a cosmetic frame around it that the siding actually goes beneath

You can see the siding panels go right under the frame:

You can see the siding panels go right under the outside frame

In a different location: after removing the external frame (the siding has also been removed exposing the T&G underneath--you can now see this internal frame onto which the window is installed (and no caulking...caulking only exists on the inside.

In a different location: after removing the external frame (the siding has also been removed exposing the T&G underneath--you can now see this internal frame onto which the window is installed

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This scenario is a far cry from modern practices in general. There's no house wrap and no flashing between the window flange and the house wrap. Can the windows be flashed properly? Sure. That's just part of a system of water management, though. You won't fix it with caulk.

I think at this point I'd install 6" adhesive window flashing tape to the sides and top (in that order for proper lap). That at least handles water coming off the siding from above and to some extent down the sides. That's for a start. You could still end up with water running behind the siding there or at the bottom. Many a window frame has rotted out that way.

In the bigger picture you should have house wrap over the structure, to which the windows are sealed with flashing tape. You're not just handling water then, but airflow, which is the greatest inefficiency in older homes when it comes to HVAC.

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  • Thanks for confirming, and I am learning about house wrap now as well. This is a 1950s house and previous siding updates left many things to be desired.
    – Beedlebumm
    Aug 3, 2023 at 21:53
  • If I install proper flashing would it be acceptable to keep the 1.25 framing the window sits on, or does that really need to go regardless? And I guess I should have a real window frame up against the flange, not this coverup job that is fixed to the siding?
    – Beedlebumm
    Aug 3, 2023 at 21:59
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    There's nothing inherently wrong about the frame. Secure the windows well and flash over the flanges.
    – isherwood
    Aug 3, 2023 at 22:18

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