Leaking Exterior Doors

Leaking Exterior Doors

We see this all the time. You move into a new home and your doors won’t shut correctly or worse…LEAK! During the recent building boom there were so many mediocre carpenters working for builders who wanted one thing…PRODUCTION! They all tell you when you are buying a home that they are a “Quality Builder” but the reality is…when they are in production mode, it’s all about fast turnaround at the lowest price. High-end custom homes fair better because these builders are going for Quality over Quantity, and don’t have the stricter deadlines that production builders deal with.

So what do the rest of us do?
Before calling in the professionals, there are a few things you can try yourself if your leak is minor. Examine the exterior door frame and spot any areas where the caulking is missing or worn out. For an out-swing door such as a patio door, the best place for water to enter is either at the top of the door or at the hinges. Painters NEVER properly caulk at the hinges! They run a bead down until they hit the hinge, jump over it and continue. The small hole or gap left behind the hinges where they got lazy is the primary area for water intrusion. I have had to replace entire doors, and adjoining wood flooring and interior trimwork, because of this oversight! Seal your door completely with a quality latex painter’s caulk, preferably one with silicone.

Bad home design is another culprit. Having a roof valley pouring a river of rain water right in front of your door will doom it failure in no time at all. What is surprising is that architects don’t see this in their design, and builders will try to ignore it. Stop the water before it gets to your door! You can solve the problem by adding proper rain gutters where needed.

If the leak is more serious…
Many times, doors can be “tweaked” by removing interior casings and exterior brickmoulding, thereby getting to the core of the problem…improper installation. This will have to be done by someone who knows how to make these modifications. Adjusting the door frame to get the correct fit, and then properly sealing around the door will normally solve the problem. New casings are then installed, caulked and painted.

What if my door has wood rot and mold?
In some cases the damage is already done! Bottom thresholds and the lower portions of the finger-jointed door jambs will rot and disintegrate in our Florida rains like nobody’s business! This can occur in less than two years of construction. When this happens the entire door and frame will need to be removed and replaced. This can be done easily in one day, so your home isn’t left with a gaping hole where your front door use to be.

In Florida and other wet climates, the best product to use is an insulated fiberglass door, with PVC-composite jambs and thresholds. These products WILL NOT ROT when exposed to moisture. Many styles are available, even models that emulate wood-grain and can be stained. The options are tremendous. During installation, using proper sealants around the door is also mandatory.

Will my door never leak again?
OK, let’s get real here. The steps outlined above will dramatically reduce to occurrence of water penetration into your home under normal circumstances. However…we live in hurricane and tornado country, and when rain is traveling at 75+mph sideways, it’s bound to find SOMEWHERE to get in. When doors are sealed properly however, this is kept to a minimum.

If you require, or desire new exterior doors, let Woodworx help you make the right choice for your taste and budget. We can show you numerous styles and options that will make your entryway a masterpiece. Call today for an FREE design consultation.

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