How to stop entry door leaks?


H

HerHusband

I have installed several prehung exterior steel entry doors over the last
few years, and virtually all of them have minor leaks somewhere around the
bottom. The first was the entry door to our garage, which has now rotted
and will need replacing this summer. Obviously, I don't want any other
doors to rot like the first one, or worse yet cause structural damage to
the buildings.

I've tried to follow the best building practices I can, wrapping the wall
felt into the door opening, applying flashing tape around the opening
(bottom, sides, then top), caulking with high quality PL polyurethane
caulking, etc. The exterior door frame is completely sealed and there's no
possible way water is coming in around the exterior of the frame.

As far as I can tell, the water comes in somewhere around the door sill at
the bottom. I'm not positive, but I think the water runs down the sides of
the door against the weatherstripping then along the crack between the
metal sill and the the wood jambs. I've tried caulking these joints also,
which has helped, but the water is still getting in somewhere.

Unfortunately, there's no overhanging roof to protect most of the doors,
and adding an external storm door is not an option either.

I'm stumped. It shouldn't be this difficult to make a door water tight...

Any ideas?

Thanks,

Anthony
 
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E

Eric in North TX

I have installed several prehung exterior steel entry doors over the last
few years, and virtually all of them have minor leaks somewhere around the
bottom.  The first was the entry door to our garage, which has now rotted
and will need replacing this summer. Obviously, I don't want any other
doors to rot like the first one, or worse yet cause structural damage to
the buildings.

I've tried to follow the best building practices I can, wrapping the wall
felt into the door opening, applying flashing tape around the opening
(bottom, sides, then top), caulking with high quality PL polyurethane
caulking, etc. The exterior door frame is completely sealed and there's no
possible way water is coming in around the exterior of the frame.

As far as I can tell, the water comes in somewhere around the door sill at
the bottom. I'm not positive, but I think the water runs down the sides of
the door against the weatherstripping then along the crack between the
metal sill and the the wood jambs.  I've tried caulking these joints also,
which has helped, but the water is still getting in somewhere.

Unfortunately, there's no overhanging roof to protect most of the doors,
and adding an external storm door is not an option either.

I'm stumped. It shouldn't be this difficult to make a door water tight...

Any ideas?

Thanks,

Anthony
A lot of my doors and windows have a piece of angle tacked above the
top trim & it seems enough to make it drip away fro the door or
window. The older ones are lead, or something really soft, but so long
as it is metal it should work. Drip edge for roofing comes to mind.
 
H

hr(bob) hofmann

The problem isn't the door;  it is drainage around it.  It is obviously
sitting in a puddle at times.

Build up the soil around it so water flows away.  You may have to put
in a stoop or sculpt the lawn.
Not build up the soil, but remove some of the soil!
 
D

DerbyDad03

A lot of my doors and windows have a piece of angle tacked above the
top trim & it seems enough to make it drip away fro the door or
window. The older ones are lead, or something really soft, but so long
as it is metal it should work. Drip edge for roofing comes to mind.- Hidequoted text -

- Show quoted text -
When I built the shed shown below, I installed vinyl drip edge on the
roof edges. When I looked at the trim above the doors, it looked like
a place that could used some protection, so I installed a piece of
drip edge on top of that and caulked the seam. When it rains, I can
see the water dripping out away from the doors so it appears to be
doing it's job.

http://www.handyhome.com/kingston.htm
 
O

Oren

As far as I can tell, the water comes in somewhere around the door sill at
the bottom. I'm not positive, but I think the water runs down the sides of
the door against the weatherstripping then along the crack between the
metal sill and the the wood jambs. I've tried caulking these joints also,
which has helped, but the water is still getting in somewhere.
I say you are correct. Often door jambs are not prime/sealed at the
bottom, so water wicks up into the wood.

Caulking is best done when the door was/is installed, not as a fix
later on.

Exterior doors clean the sill, caulk along the jamb sides the width of
the threshold. Run two 1/2 inch beads of silly-caulk the length of the
threshold and set the door. Apply some foot pressure to seat (TH).

Caulk lines (top view)

]================[
 
H

HerHusband

I have installed several prehung exterior steel entry doors over the
The problem isn't the door; it is drainage around it.
It is obviously sitting in a puddle at times.
Three doors leak, none of which are anywhere close to the ground.

1. Garage entry door. Top is protected by a 12" roof overhang with a full
gutter system. Bottom of door sill sits about 4" higher than the concrete
walk in front of it.

2. Back door of house. Gable roof end only overhangs about 6" and is
approximately 12' above the door. The sill of the door is roughly three
feet off the ground with a wood landing about 6" below the door.

3. Front door at in-laws. Hip roof overhangs about 18", but no gutters
installed. Door sill is roughly three feet off the ground with a wood
landing about 6" below the door.

In all cases, the only source of water would be windblown rain, or
splashback from the deck/patio below the door. The doors can't be raised
any higher and still comply with stair height codes.

Anthony
 
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H

HerHusband

Wind driven rain runs down the outside of a door to the threshold
where it is supposed to flow down and off without entering the house.
Unfortunately this is not always the case. Some finds it's way in
around the door edges and weatherstripping. If it can't run in
directly it may wick in through the smallest cracks.

I believe this is a common problem that many people are unaware of
because water soaks in under the flooring around the threshold and
goes unnoticed until the problem becomes a major one.

Two of my neighbors have the same problem. By the way we are all
building are own houses and are living ln them as they are being
completed. I found and corrected a few problems that would not have
been very visible once the finishing had been completed.

After a few unsuccessful attempts to stop the water leaking in, I
ended up installing storm doors on all my outside doors. Not a drop
of water on the floor after that.
Yep, we had the same problem with the entry doors of our old mobile home.
No amount of caulking would prevent the leaking, but a storm door did stop
the water.

Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons I do not want storm doors on the
doors that are leaking. Especially for the garage and back doors where
we're often hauling large objects in and out. My in-laws just splurged on
a decorative door and don't want to cover it with a storm door.

Anthony
 
H

HerHusband

Oren,
Caulking is best done when the door was/is installed, not as a fix
later on.
Exterior doors clean the sill, caulk along the jamb sides the width of
the threshold. Run two 1/2 inch beads of silly-caulk the length of the
threshold and set the door. Apply some foot pressure to seat (TH).
When I installed the doors I wrapped the wall felt into the door opening.
Then I applied flexible door/window flashing tape along the bottom of the
opening, extending it about 6" up the sides of the rough opening. Next, I
applied the flashing tape along the sides of the opening, and finally
along the top of the door. All layers overlapping in shingle fashion.

Before setting the door in place, I ran three beads of caulking along the
bottom of the rough opening, with a little extra along each side in the
corners. I also ran a bead around the outside of the opening, so the
brick moulding sealed against the sheathing when I fastened the door in
place. After installing the siding, another layer of caulk was applied
between the siding and brick moulding (top and sides).

I also caulked all seams on the exterior door trim, jambs, etc. EXCEPT
for the bottom of the door sill. This allows any water that might find
it's way in to have a way to get out. The gap is covered by lower trim,
so there's no way water can splash in from the outside. The beads of
caulking under the door sill ensure any water that does end up under the
door should go out and not into the building.

Once the door was fully installed, I also caulked along the inside of the
door sill, and about 12" up between the framing and door jamb on each
side. The larger gaps up higher were filled with minimally expanding
foam.

On the outside of the door, I caulked the seams on each side where the
metal sill meets the wood jambs.

Despite all my efforts, water is still coming in somewhere (showing up as
a small leak on the subfloor right in front of the door jamb, centered on
the door opening). At first I thought it was water dripping off the
bottom of the door when the door was opened, but my in-laws confirmed it
shows up even when the door has been closed all night.

In the future, I'm thinking of installing special sill flashing like
www.jambsill.com, but that's of little help with the current doors.

Anthony
 
O

Oren

Despite all my efforts, water is still coming in somewhere (showing up as
a small leak on the subfloor right in front of the door jamb, centered on
the door opening). At first I thought it was water dripping off the
bottom of the door when the door was opened, but my in-laws confirmed it
shows up even when the door has been closed all night.
Does this door have a transom window above and/or side lights at the
door? Water can travel, even along an outside light that needs a
little caulk around the edge trim.

A picture of your trouble spots, perhaps?

Post @ http://tinypic.com/
 
T

Tony

HerHusband said:
In the future, I'm thinking of installing special sill flashing like
www.jambsill.com, but that's of little help with the current doors.

Anthony
I could have used one of those before installing my garage entry door.
Only a problem with wind driven rain, but it only takes a very light wind.
 
V

vjp2.at

I took a PDH in waterproofing a few years ago and the
main point was you don't stop water, you redirect it.


- = -
Vasos Panagiotopoulos, Columbia'81+, Reagan, Mozart, Pindus, BioStrategist
http://www.panix.com/~vjp2/vasos.htm http://www.facebook.com/vasjpan2
---{Nothing herein constitutes advice. Everything fully disclaimed.}---
[Homeland Security means private firearms not lazy obstructive guards]
[Urb sprawl confounds terror] [Phooey on GUI: Windows for subprime Bimbos]
 
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H

HerHusband

Is the door closing TIGHT ??? I had that problem on 1 door out of the
4 I installed and I moved the latch in a bit to hold the door closed
tighter and it is fine now...HTH....
The garage entry door is a little looser, which may have accelerated it's
demise. But, the other doors fit tightly against the weatherstripping.

Anthony
 
H

HerHusband

Does this door have a transom window above and/or side lights at the
door? Water can travel, even along an outside light that needs a
little caulk around the edge trim.
There are no transoms or side lights around the door. Just your basic
prehung steel entry door mounted in a wall.

Anthony
 
P

Patrick Karl

benick said:
Is the door closing TIGHT ??? I had that problem on 1 door out of the 4
I installed and I moved the latch in a bit to hold the door closed
tighter and it is fine now...HTH....
How do you move the latch in a bit? And by latch I assume you mean the
strike plate. I'm guessing you need to redrill the mounting holes for
the strike plate, no?
 
O

Oren

Yep...Filled them in with toothpicks and Elmer's and started over
again..Didn't move it much..Perhaps an eighth...Made a world of difference
though...
Golf Tees (hardwood) work great. Drill the larger hole, tap the tee in
with small hammer and cut with a utility knife. You can also use glue,
so let it dry.
 
T

Tony

benick said:
We have wind driven rain A LOT here on the coast of Maine and even the
cheap doors I bought a Homedepot do not leak even though I don't have
them flashed or the siding on yet...I think you need to talk to a pro
and have him look it over...No offense , but you obviously messed up
something on the install as everyone you did leaks......If it were just
one in a specific location it would be one thing but that is not the
case...
Huh??? Every door I installed leaks? Where did you get your
information? I've only installed one steel entry door in my life. When
the wind blows the rain to the area where the weather striping touches
the steel door, it gets wicked in between the two and flows down and
runs both inside and outside. The door opens into the garage so the
water wicked between the door and the weather stripping is already on
the inside part of the jamb.

Now where are all the others I did?
 
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H

HerHusband

We have wind driven rain A LOT here on the coast of Maine and even the
cheap doors I bought a Homedepot do not leak even though I don't have
them flashed or the siding on yet...I think you need to talk to a pro
and have him look it over...No offense , but you obviously messed up
something on the install as everyone you did leaks......If it were
just one in a specific location it would be one thing but that is not
the case...
No offense taken, but we built our own house, garage, several remodeling
projects at my in-laws, installed numerous windows, doors, etc. Installing
an entry door isn't exactly rocket science, and I've researched and
followed every recommended guideline I can find. I can't imagine a "pro"
would have done anything different than I did, and probably wouldn't have
taken the time to be as thorough.

It is something of a mystery, so I'm going to try tightening the latch up
this afternoon to see if that will help.

By the way, the water seeps in under the door sill on the subfloor. If you
already have a finished floor installed, you would probably never see it
leaking...

Anthony
 
D

dpb

HerHusband wrote:
....
Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons I do not want storm doors on the
doors that are leaking. Especially for the garage and back doors where
we're often hauling large objects in and out. My in-laws just splurged on
a decorative door and don't want to cover it with a storm door.
Well, you can solve the problem or replace the sills over and over, your
choice... :)

There are full-exposure s-doors that won't hide the face of the inner
door if that is a requirement.

W/O pictures including installation details it's hard to make any
specific conjecture but I'd say the likely culprit is there is no slope
outward so water stays where it lands rather than drains. As well,
capillary action may be pulling some under the sill if there is any
small crack at all.

Depending on where and how they were caulked, it (the caulk) may be
server more as a drainage dam than as a sealant.

--
 
O

Oren

Installing
an entry door isn't exactly rocket science, and I've researched and
followed every recommended guideline I can find. I can't imagine a "pro"
would have done anything different than I did, and probably wouldn't have
taken the time to be as thorough.
I had some tutelage from a pro. A two man crew. We hauled a LARGE
picture window up the scaffold. Set the window with a couple of
fasteners.

The more I looked I figured out what was wrong. The window was upside
down and weep holes were on top.

Also it is easy to think you have the flashing/wrap tucked correctly.
In such a case I found it before the (another) window was set. The
*moist wrap* on one side was lapped wrong, so water would get behind
it - eventually.

Point being? The leak is right in front of you!
 
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T

Tony

benick said:
Sorry for the brain fart , I was responding to the OP... Quote from the
OP...

"I have installed several prehung exterior steel entry doors over the last
few years, and virtually all of them have minor leaks somewhere around the
bottom. The first was the entry door to our garage, which has now rotted
and will need replacing this summer. Obviously, I don't want any other
doors to rot like the first one, or worse yet cause structural damage to
the buildings"

End quote....I should have said...To the OP...
OK, I'm over it. Shit happens.
 

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