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Weatherstripping/Sweep on New Front Door - Do I Have a Problem?

Weatherstripping/Sweep on New Front Door - Do I Have a Problem?


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Old 04-30-12, 08:44 PM
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Weatherstripping/Sweep on New Front Door - Do I Have a Problem?

All - I would appreciate any opinions anyone has on this. I may be over-reacting - if I am, please tell me.

Some background: We had our front door replaced because of the beginnings of a moisture issue - the threshold was damaged, and when storms would come through, water came in onto our floor.

After installation, we had a slight issue with the door's glass not being sealed properly - but the manufacturer came out and fixed this. Also, when he visited, he brought a mock up of what the threshold looks like "under the hood" to help alleve any concerns I had about leakage under the threshold.

I can say that the threshold sweep seems snug enough from the bottom of the door to the threshold.

We just had a small storm here, however, and I - being the "house hypchondriac" that I am, went to work seeing if I could find any leakage issues.

Thankfully, I saw no obvious water on the hardwood floor. I also saw no water "spilling" over the inside part of the threshold. When I prodded further, however, something bothered me:

I noticed that when I pressed a paper towel into the space between the door and the jamb on the right side, it came back slightly damp. I looked with a flashlight and camera, and have attached pictures.

Here is what I saw upon looking closer on the right side in the threshold area see:



The point with the moisture is circled in red. It can also be seen here:



I used my finger to see if I could tell if it was really water, and you can see from this picture where I needed to touch to find water (and, how deep I pressed):



This next pic shows that after I touched the water and actually brought a little in, there seemed to be a little more there behind it. This is all without ever opening the door:



I noticed that the sweep seemed a bit shifted to the left (it had always been this way):



When the door was installed, the sweep needed to be trimmed slightly due to damaging part of the weather stripping (the weatherstripping on this side was repaired as well). Im wondering if the sweep is really supposed to be just a bit more to the right? I noted a bit of water on the left side, but I could not get my finger in the spot (I just pressing a piece of paper towel into a similar spot, and it came back moist).

One last picture:



Note that the point indicated by the red arrow is touching the wet portion, and then comes out over the inside of the threshold as it goes over to the left. I checked under this part on the left and did not find moisture Im wondering if that means that the part that is wet is only on the extreme ends?
I didnt see or feel any moisture on the floor or even on the edge of the threshold facing the inside. I only noticed it on the points I indicated.

I dont know what else can be done with weather-stripping or the sweep but I dont understand how this little bit of moisture can get in. It doesnt seem like I should be able to contact any water on the inside part of this door.

What other things can be done to address this? Do you think this warrants a storm-door or some other action?

Finally - as I mentioned, I have a history of over-reacting to things to do with out house because I'm not very experienced in these sorts of things. While it can be annoying (and lead to large posts here with pictures), it did help find the original moisture issue with the old door to begin with.

So - what do you think? Am I making a mountain out of a molehill?

Have you seen this in other door installations?

Thank you for reading, please reply!
 
  #2  
Old 05-01-12, 05:33 AM
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IMO, doors should ALWAYS have storm doors, because no door is going to be 100% air and water tight if you get a driving rain and wind pushing that water in. The storm door isn't 100% air tight either, but at least it is a buffer to the rain so that instead of water hitting the DOOR and running down, it hits the storm door, which is several inches out.

Also, you could verify that the joint between the sill of the door and the side jambs is sealed with sealant. If that joint does not have any sealant, a small amount of water could be leaking off the ends of the sill. Also open the door and check the threshold joint, where the threshold (immediately under the door) meets the side jambs.
 
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Old 05-01-12, 06:37 AM
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Thank you for replying.

I took some more pictures this morning which might show more:

Here is what the threshold looks like when the door is open:



And here is a close-up of the threshold itself:



I also took some pictures from the outside with the door closed:

Front Left Bottom and Top:




Front Right Bottom and Top:




"IMO, doors should ALWAYS have storm doors, because no door is going to be 100% air and water tight if you get a driving rain and wind pushing that water in. The storm door isn't 100% air tight either, but at least it is a buffer to the rain so that instead of water hitting the DOOR and running down, it hits the storm door, which is several inches out."

I would love to have a storm door, but I'm concerned about causing more problems. I've read/heard that a storm door can increase the amount of heat on the door - to the point where it could "cook" it. I'm assuming that means the door's interior polystyrene insulation could melt or the door could warp? I'm not sure if what I have the door painted as is considered a dark enough color to make that worse or not?

The door faces mostly to the west - so the afternoon late afternoon would be when I need to worry about that most, I'm guessing.

Not sure - what do you know about this aspect of storm doors - would I be causing more problems by installing one? Also - are they easy to install on a new door like this?

"Also, you could verify that the joint between the sill of the door and the side jambs is sealed with sealant. If that joint does not have any sealant, a small amount of water could be leaking off the ends of the sill. Also open the door and check the threshold joint, where the threshold (immediately under the door) meets the side jambs."

I'm hoping the pictures I took above answers some of this.

Regarding sealing the bottom of the exterior jamb, I've gotten conflicting opinions on whether this should be caulked or not. Looking at the design of the door, it seems that water should pour out from under this part - and I'm concerned that if I caulk it, I will trap water there. The threshold is visible - and the aluminum plate running across is all one piece. The design is that the aluminum plate has a lip running up underneath the outer part of the threshold all the way across on both sides, and is angled to allow water to "pour" away from the door.

The little divot in the threshold (about 1 cm from the interior) is behind this plate. I was concerned about water getting into this point, but until I noticed the issue yesterday, I was content in telling myself that water was not coming across the threshold. The water you see on the threshold - I'm not sure if that is there all the time during a rain, or if the act of me opening the door is dragging water across and depositing it there.

In checking the threshold last night withouth opening the door, I ran a folded paper towel up under one of the rubber flaps on the interior of the door sweep (attempting to check that divot part without opening the door). It was a little tight in there, but I managed to get close to it and when I brought the paper towel out, it was dry. This isn't a conclusive test, but it makes me think the problem is only on the corners.

What bothers me is that if I keep getting water little by little on that wood jamb, isn't that going to begin to rot after a while? I know the exterior jamb has "frame-saver" wood which is rot-resistant, but I'm not sure about that interior portion.
 
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Old 05-01-12, 10:41 AM
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If you get a full glass storm door, you would want to get one that is vented. Some will have a little window at the top or bottom, or even a slide vent that allows air to circulate. The door would not get hot enough to "melt the foam" either way.

As to your "are they easy to install" question, you would need to extend the exterior side of the door mullions so that they are flush with the top piece of brickmould. Your storm door mounts on the flat part of the top brickmould, so the pieces of wood on each side of the door would need to be built out to that level. It is easy enough to do. You could either order the mullion extender kit from the door mfg or make something yourself.

Regarding sealing the bottom of the exterior jamb, where the jambs meet the aluminum, it should be sealed to prevent water from wicking up into the wood jambs. Even if the jambs are not wood (some are composite plastic), there are fasteners that penetrate the aluminum sill and that penetration needs to be protected from the elements. The ends of your threshold should also have been caulked before the foam pads were applied, to prevent water that hits the door from seeping down into the track of the adjustable threshold, where it could then leak out the interior corners of the door. This is usually part of the installation instructions on most doors of that style, so if your door is the same way, not doing it would void any warranty, shorten the life of the door, and potentially cause leaks exactly like you are describing.

The weatherstrip on the bottom of the door should be trimmed back a little more the way it looks to me... it should be flush with the edges of the door and shouldn't touch your foam wedge pads at all. The foam pad can't seal up against the door otherwise.

You could also do a paper test under the door to test whether or not the threshold is properly adjusted. Open the door and take a piece of paper, fold it in half. Place it on the threshold and then shut the door on it. There should be some resistance as you pull the paper out. If there isn't, then the threshold needs to be raised. There are plugs that cover up the adjustment screws, you could pop those plugs off and adjust the threshold so that it is tighter. Use the paper to test the threshold in various places, and adjust the threshold accordingly until you are satisfied that it is tight enough.

There will most likely be a little water under those fins after a rain, and when you open the door some might come in with the door so that would not be surprising.

It sounds like you will probably fret over this until you put a storm door on, so I would suggest you just go look for a vented full view storm door and work on getting the jamb built out so you can get it installed.
 
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Old 05-01-12, 11:45 AM
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Thank you again for your response - it has been very helpful.

To answer some of your points:

"The ends of your threshold should also have been caulked before the foam pads were applied, to prevent water that hits the door from seeping down into the track of the adjustable threshold, where it could then leak out the interior corners of the door. This is usually part of the installation instructions on most doors of that style, so if your door is the same way, not doing it would void any warranty, shorten the life of the door, and potentially cause leaks exactly like you are describing."

The door came with the foam pads already installed, so I am assuming the manufacturer sealed the portion under the pads at the factory. If they did not, is that something that could be verified and fixed after installation? Is it as simple as pulling off the wedges and looking for caulk - then replacing them after it's sealed?

"Regarding sealing the bottom of the exterior jamb, where the jambs meet the aluminum, it should be sealed to prevent water from wicking up into the wood jambs. Even if the jambs are not wood (some are composite plastic), there are fasteners that penetrate the aluminum sill and that penetration needs to be protected from the elements."

That makes sense. When the manufacturer and installer were at my home a few weeks ago, I think I remember the manufacturer mentioning that I might want to caulk that. It sounds like I should go ahead and do it.

"It sounds like you will probably fret over this until you put a storm door on, so I would suggest you just go look for a vented full view storm door and work on getting the jamb built out so you can get it installed."

I literally laughed out loud at this - you are probably right. I'll look into this.
 
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Old 05-01-12, 02:07 PM
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I would not count on the ends of the threshold being sealed. But yes, you could probably move the pad slightly to look. I can't see why they would install the pads in the factory since they are usually the last thing the installer usually does after he sets the adjustable threshold to it's final height.

If you pull the foam pads off they probably will not want to stick back on, so you'd probably have to use some contact cement on each side to glue them back on.

One other thing I thought of, is that the end of the door bottom weatherstrip (you know how its a little long on the ends?) might be what is catching the water and bringing it in. Usually those door bottoms will be caulked on with a bead of clear silicone, then stapled onto the bottom of the door. It could be that a little water is sitting on TOP of that door bottom weatherstrip on the ends, coming inside, then dripping off the end. Not sure if you would have enough room to inspect that without taking the door off its hinge pins or not.

Glad you still have a sense of humor- some things will drive you crazy if you let them.
 
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Old 05-02-12, 07:27 AM
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"I would not count on the ends of the threshold being sealed. But yes, you could probably move the pad slightly to look. I can't see why they would install the pads in the factory since they are usually the last thing the installer usually does after he sets the adjustable threshold to it's final height."

I haven't pulled the pads - I've sent a note to the installer and he is reviewing some things. He mentioned that we might need to move on to a drip edge installation on the outside, or a storm door. He was against a storm door before because of the potential for heat, but I'm sensing he's becoming as frustrated as I am.

The door was a pre-hung unit - the installer simply squared it up and installed. The foam pieces, everything were already there and ready to go.

"If you pull the foam pads off they probably will not want to stick back on, so you'd probably have to use some contact cement on each side to glue them back on."

Yeah - I remember when the manufacturer came out with the installer to look at the damaged pad on the left, they replaced it using an adhesive.

"One other thing I thought of, is that the end of the door bottom weatherstrip (you know how its a little long on the ends?) might be what is catching the water and bringing it in. Usually those door bottoms will be caulked on with a bead of clear silicone, then stapled onto the bottom of the door. It could be that a little water is sitting on TOP of that door bottom weatherstrip on the ends, coming inside, then dripping off the end. Not sure if you would have enough room to inspect that without taking the door off its hinge pins or not."

I see what you are saying (I think), but I don't really have a way to check that.

My wife and I are talking about storm doors now. She's a bit annoyed (as am I) that we bought a brand new door and we are still having water issues (although not as bad as before). Regarding my fears about the heat, I noticed while walking the dog last night that someone in the neighborhood has a full view storm door with a front door painted dark blue, AND their house faces almost due south (while ours faces somewhat southwest). I'm thinking of asking them if they have any heat issues from their door if I ever see them out.

"Glad you still have a sense of humor- some things will drive you crazy if you let them."

I'll admit, it's driving me a bit crazy. I am not handy around the house, but I am the type that is detail-oriented and I have a tendency to over-research things (I'm an engineer - just not a handy one).

What is really driving me is that it's a new door, and I want to make sure that everything is working properly. We only have a 2-year warranty on it, and what I DON'T want to happen is to realize after 2 years and 1 day that my problems are caused by poor manufacturing or installation - when it's too late.

Case in point: I've noticed that the left edge of the door sweep (facing from the inside) is a bit more compressed than the right edge. I thought the door might be sagging a bit - so I measured the gap between the door and the jamb on the top hinged side and compared it to the bottom. I noticed about a 1/8" difference. I think the installer noted the difference in the way the sweep looked from left to right, but he mentioned he's thinking of adjusting the threshold to match. I'm wondering if he shouldn't just shim the door hinges.

We had a terrible storm last night - and no water actually came in on the wood floor - but when I lifted the interior sweep edge, I could feel some under there. While that's not hitting the wood floor, it does make me wonder if I'm setting myself up for a mold problem having water just sitting there whenever we have a rain with some wind.

So - yeah, storm door is looking better. Now I'm stuck researching that to make sure we don't cause other unintended consequences.

Thank you for your replies, they have helped.
 
 

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