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Old 08-09-2013, 07:25 PM   #1
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Salvage or replace rotting sliding door sill?


I have a large wooden sliding door on our bedroom from a 2003 renovation (before we bought it), and the sliding door sill has some sill rot near the outside corner of the stationary panel.
I'm puzzled at what may have caused this, and I want to avoid it recurring after I repair/replace it. The wooden sill looks like it may be Oak. I'm guessing it was not treated.....
(The photos are mostly taken after I removed the metal track for the sliding screen)

1-Is a wooden sill still customary on a wooden slider?

2-Isn't there some more water/rot/termite resistant replacement that will look good with the wood door (perhaps a synthetic wood sill?)

3-Can I salvage the non-rotted part of the sill? If I need to replace the whole wooden sill, can I get away without taking the whole sliding door apart (Both Panels and the jambs)?

I don't think the damage extends beyond the sill, it seems to me that it was probably just not treated/painted when it was installed.....
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Salvage or replace rotting sliding door sill?-door-wide.jpg   Salvage or replace rotting sliding door sill?-rotted-corner.jpg   Salvage or replace rotting sliding door sill?-middle-sill-ext.jpg   Salvage or replace rotting sliding door sill?-interior-corner.jpg   Salvage or replace rotting sliding door sill?-whole-sill.jpg  


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Last edited by BubbaJoeToolbox; 08-09-2013 at 07:44 PM. Reason: no photos
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Old 08-09-2013, 07:30 PM   #2
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Salvage or replace rotting sliding door sill?


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Old 08-09-2013, 10:47 PM   #3
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Salvage or replace rotting sliding door sill?


I've made that repair---

Honestly the door should be replaced---the repair is not simple.


If you wish to do this correctly the door should be removed and the entire sill replaced---

If you have a tables saw and a few other tools--the outer sill can be duplicated using Axek boards---however---this will only buy you a year or two because the repair is relying on caulk to keep the water from ruining the subfloor and framing..
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Old 08-10-2013, 06:50 AM   #4
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Salvage or replace rotting sliding door sill?


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the repair is relying on caulk to keep the water from ruining the subfloor and framing..
This is where a pan flashing comes in, a simple yet critical step for exposed doors that is almost always overlooked.

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Old 08-10-2013, 07:27 AM   #5
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Salvage or replace rotting sliding door sill?


At one time that was an oak threshold I believe.
Main reason it failed is lack of mantaince.
Had it been resealed with a marine grade poly it may have held up.
You would be better off replacing with a new door with an aluminum threshold.
I can see a few building 101 mistakes that we see almost every week on any DIY site.
Step was build to close to the threshold.
There was no support under the threshold to keep it from flexing or bending in the middle when stepped on.
A simple strip of vinyl lumber installed tight under the threshold flat against the wall will work and not rot out.
Here's another example of a Jamb sill.
http://jamsill.com/
Not sure why but I've never seen a sill seal sold in any Box store, despite the fact it's code in my are to use one under any outside doors.
I get mine at a real lumber yard.
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Old 08-10-2013, 08:00 PM   #6
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Salvage or replace rotting sliding door sill?


I had feeling that the repair might involve taking the whole door/frame apart.

It's a big door (93" x 94" opening), so I guess I'll price them out as a backup plan...

I'm going to disassemble it all carefully -hopefully not breaking too much of the small moulding pieces- and see if the threshold was sealed, and what else underneath might have any rot.
I do have a light duty table saw, but there's a great moulding shop nearby, so I'll try to get lucky there first...

I've read that you are not supposed to screw into the threshold/sill, but I'll need to attach the metal track for the exterior screen somehow...suggestions?

Thanks for the jamsill.com link.
I saw this just before posting, and have bookmarked their website...
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Old 08-10-2013, 08:04 PM   #7
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Salvage or replace rotting sliding door sill?


Usually these are "iceberg" situations and once you start tearing it apart you find it is not just the sill but the entire threshold. So, expect the worst. If you get lucky so be it.

The doors themselves can probably be saved unless you notice something weird when you get them off.

There are other sill materials---aluminum comes to mind---beside wood but if the whole threshold assembly is rotted they alone will not be of much help.

Last edited by user1007; 08-10-2013 at 08:07 PM.
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Old 08-10-2013, 08:11 PM   #8
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Salvage or replace rotting sliding door sill?


That sliding screen track is inlet into a 1/8" groove--so a saw blade cut will do--the bottom of that metal runner is barbed.

You see the flaw in their thinking?

Red oak rots quickly and is a poor choice for exterior woodwork--then cut a groove into it that will hold water---and add a few years---rotted wood---that door is a bad design .
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Old 08-10-2013, 10:24 PM   #9
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Salvage or replace rotting sliding door sill?


If it was red oak, you can take a piece of red oak and put one end in a bucket of water and blow bubbles or suck the water up like a straw.
White oak would turn black when it gets wet.
Ya that grove cracks me up. Bet it was the same engineer that invented particle board that came up with that one.
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Old 08-11-2013, 07:21 AM   #10
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Salvage or replace rotting sliding door sill?


If I was going to make and replace that sill I'd leave the door in and cut out a section of the sill to use as a template. Mill, finish and have the sill ready to go "before" opening things up.

If you end with rotten framing under that you'll have enough to deal with without adding milling and finishing a sill to the list.
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Old 08-11-2013, 08:55 AM   #11
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Salvage or replace rotting sliding door sill?


One made from Teak or IPE would stand 1/2 a chance.
Lack of mantaince and the fact once again someone build the step, stoop or deck to close to the threshold so the splash back is adding to the problem.
Is there a gutter over this area?
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Old 08-11-2013, 10:27 AM   #12
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Salvage or replace rotting sliding door sill?


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One made from Teak or IPE would stand 1/2 a chance.
Why only 1/2?
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Old 09-10-2013, 02:51 PM   #13
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Salvage or replace rotting sliding door sill?


There is no gutter or any protective overhang on this side of the house. I have found out the manufacturer -JT Windows and they have architectural drawings of the door (and Oak sill) on their website, as well as being located not too far from my home.

-I noticed, on their warranty, they state that their doors are intended to be installed under a 5'-10' protective overhang, and the exterior wood sealed with 3 coats of paint. Definitely not the case on my house.-

I see why the channel cut into the Oak Wood sill would be a bad design......

Thanks again for the informative discussion.....

Last edited by BubbaJoeToolbox; 09-10-2013 at 03:15 PM.
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Old 09-10-2013, 06:18 PM   #14
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Salvage or replace rotting sliding door sill?


Wonderful---an exterior door that is not designed to take the weather---

I'll bet that little warranty requirement was not in bold print---
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Old 09-11-2013, 03:25 AM   #15
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Salvage or replace rotting sliding door sill?


You can take a piece of red oak and put one end in a pail of h2o and blow pockets or pull the h2o up like a hay and If you end with spoiled creating under that you'll have enough to deal with without adding mincing and completing a sill to the list.

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