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Old 03-13-2012, 10:32 PM   #1
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French doors leaking water


Hi Everyone! We bought a house and have slowly been doing repairs. Our current project is installing laminate floors. When we purchased the house, it was mostly carpet. Our inspector did note that there was obvious water damage by the french doors in the master bedroom. The carpet was black from mold and the tack strips had rotted and pulled away from the floor. We had the house through last winter and didn't notice anymore water coming in because the carpet stayed dry. Tonight we started undercutting the molding around the french doors to prepare for the new laminate. We were in for a surprise when we removed the bottom of the moulding and saw that water was puddling under there. We have NO idea where the water is coming in from. We had all the siding professionally replaced on the outside of that wall about 6 months ago. It's obvious that whoever lived here was very into DIY projects, but did none of them correctly. We are sure they installed this door but we have no idea if it was done correctly. I've attached some pictures so hopefully someone can give us some insight.

You can see that it is caulked on the inside. Is that how it's supposed to be done? We are wondering if the bottom (threshold I believe it's called?) was put in correctly. There is a concrete slab outside the door that slopes away from the house. However, there is about a 1/2 inch gap between the metal threshold and the concrete where water pools. Is it possible the water is seeping underneath and coming in?

Here is a straight on to give you an idea of the space. The caulking is very sloppy looking and goes along the bottom of the threshold where it meets the concrete. That blue tape was there when we pulled up the concrete.



Here is a close up of the "problem area." The water is pooling on the edge of the caulking where it meets the wall. The caulking did not bond well to the concrete. Also, we discovered those wires when we pulled up the carpet. I think they are running to an old alarm system.



Lastly, this is a picture looking straight down onto the threshold. You can see the gap between the metal and the concrete. That is just "empty space" under the metal.



The water is only seeping in on one side of the door. The other side is totally dry. So do you think it's just a matter of recaulking the bottom of the door? Any tips on how to do that? This has set us back a bit since we don't want to even think about getting our laminate near a wet floor. Thanks!!

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Old 03-13-2012, 11:12 PM   #2
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French doors leaking water


I doubt that the threshold is sealed underneath where it should be.

I had this problem and the only way I managed to stop the water entry was to remove the entire door assembly and start over.


Seems the installer had not even bothered to wrap the opening on the sides or top. as well as not laying a nice fat bead of sealing caulk under the threshold.



While you MAY be able to stop the water with caulking (on the outside and inside), the right way is to remove and re-install properly...

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Old 03-13-2012, 11:18 PM   #3
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French doors leaking water


Yeah, I have a feeling the previous owner just slapped this door together. You can't tell in the dark pictures, but during the day the gap between the two doors is so big you can see light coming through it. The water isn't leaking from the center, but the gap is ridiculous.

We have been talking it over and I don't think we will feel confident installing our laminate floors until we are sure this door is 100% correct. I did a search on craigslist and found an independent door installer. He is license and insured. I sent him an email with the pictures and said the door will likely just need to be pulled out and completely reinstalled. Any idea what something like that might cost? We are in the Sacramento, CA region. We have depleted our resources trying to fix the problems the previous owner created (I.E. things like moving the air conditioner unit to a space with only 2 inches clearance on THREE sides to make room for his hot tub...)
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Old 03-14-2012, 06:30 AM   #4
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French doors leaking water


You will have to ask him--but that job should take two carpenters about 5 to 6 hours and use about $100 to $150 in trim,flashing and supplies---

Could be less time if no rot is found---might be more if the rim joist is rotted---
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Old 03-14-2012, 06:40 AM   #5
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French doors leaking water


French door installations, while not rocket science, are notorious for being poorly done, resulting in leaks. As has been noted by others, it is essential that the door be properly flashed on the sides and across the top. There are different ways to do the flashing, but if the work was done by the homeowner, they may not have understood the need to use a metal drip cap, and they might have done the sides incorrectly. I have seen the bottom done incorrectly several times.

The threshold should be a high quality unit specifically sized for the door. My Marvin doors came with an integral threshold, which still required preparation of the floor below, and installation of waterproof caulking underneath the threshold. Some manufacturers recommend use of a sealed metal or vinyl pan under the door. Make sure that whomever you hire guarantees their work in writing against leakage, which may be an issue since the door is not new.
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Old 03-14-2012, 07:55 AM   #6
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French doors leaking water


+1 to everything said.

When it comes to doors, duplicative efforts are not a waste of time. Sill pans and flashings are fantastic investments and if your installer is top notch, they will want to use them.
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Old 03-16-2012, 08:01 PM   #7
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French doors leaking water


Just wanted to update that we decided to just have this door removed and a new sliding glass door put in. We found a contractor with excellent reviews. He came and took a look at it and said that it was obvious someone had difficulty installing this door. He pointed out the huge screws in the threshold and said that is not how it should have been done. He said he could try ripping out the door and redoing it, but that he wouldn't be able to guarantee it against leaks.

He was going to charge $500 for labor either way so we decided if we're going to pay that much in labor we might as well just get a brand new door. That seems like an okay price to me. He's going to bring another worker with him and they are going to replace the trim we will have to rip out and also patch the concrete that the previous homeowners sawed down.

We are pretty much out of money so we had to go with the cheapest sliding door at Home Depot. It is Jeld-Wen brand and was $400. It actually had good reviews at their website so I'm hoping it will be okay.

Wish us luck and thanks for the info!!
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Old 03-16-2012, 10:03 PM   #8
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French doors leaking water


Unless I'm not seeing on of your pictures correctly it looks like someone pored a slab right up to the sill on the outside of the house.
A huge no no.
Now water can get in under that whole wall unless the sidinging is pulled off and the wall gets flashed and Storm and Ice shiels added.
Also under that door it needs a jamb sill like this.

http://jamsill.com/

It will stop water from getting in from all sides and from the outside edges.
Not sure why but any Lowes or HD I've been to do not sell them. A real lumber yard near by may have one.

If I was you I would also have them change out that high maintaince wooden brick molding and replace it with PVC.
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Old 03-16-2012, 10:25 PM   #9
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French doors leaking water


Yes, there is a concrete pad outside that door and they sloped it up to meet the threshold. The contractor said that is a big no no, but there's not much we can do without jackhammering out the whole pad. He said it shouldn't affect the new sliding glass door, but that it is something we should consider fixing in the future.

The contractor said he would spread out 2 tubes of silicone caulking and firmly press the threshold into place. I like the idea of that Jamsill product you posted though. The installation is taking place next Saturday so I will try to locate that product before then. I'm wondering if it would even fit in place with the concrete the same height as the opening though?
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Old 03-16-2012, 10:40 PM   #10
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French doors leaking water


It can be done one of two ways. I have a Toe Kick saw and a diamond blade I use to cut out the concrete.
If he does not have one then just trim off the sill where it makes the bend down on the outside.
At least 3 times I get calls for rotted out subflooring right at a doorway. Evertimes it's because no one followed code which says there has to be at least 4" below that threshold, and siding is not suppost to be within 12" of grade.

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