Exterior Door Leaking At Bottom Corners? (Here's What You Can Do)
An important part of homeownership is sealing and protecting your door from air and water infiltration. These leaks can affect utility bills, as your house will need to make up for the intrusion of hot or cold air. Light leaks can also welcome in unwanted insects, as they are drawn to light and will slink in through the cracks.
If you find a leak at the bottom corners of your exterior door, the source could be from multiple weak points. Check the weather stripping around the door for any cracks, tears, or compression. Faulty weather stripping can allow moisture in that will drip down your door and collect underneath.
Check the door for any bowing or sagging. This could be the result of loose hinges that create gaps. Lastly, check the corner pads at the bottom of your door to make sure they are functioning properly.
All doors have gaps around them so that the door can be opened and closed without binding to the frame. Without them, you would need to pry your door open and closed every time it had to be used. Whenever there was rain or the weather changed dramatically, the door could swell and be forced shut within the door frame.
To protect your home from moisture, weather-stripping is used around the entire door. This creates a seal between the door and the door frame, removing the gap and protecting your home.
There are four areas to look at when checking for gaps around the door:
- Upper Corners
- Door Jambs and Between Doors
- Crucial Corners
- Underneath the Door
If you have a door that is sagging or bowed, the upper corners may not be making the proper contact with weatherstripping. An easy way to fix this is to take a look at the hinges and see if they have become loose from the door jamb.
If so, remove the old screws and fill the holes with wood filler. Once dried, resecure the hinges and see if that has solved the issue.
Door Jambs and Between Doors
Exterior doors are outfitted with weather stripping to provide a compressed seal around the door. This is usually made with a soft, flexible material that wicks moisture from around your door.
When weatherstripping ages, the material will crack and tear so that the compression no longer holds, and the seal is broken. To repair, remove the old weatherstripping and replace it with brand new weatherstripping.
Located at the bottom corners of the door, crucial corners are the most important area around an exterior door. As your house settles, the door panel and door jamb may develop gaps between them. Crucial corners are where most leaks occur, even if the problem is not stemming from them.
Because of gravity, leaks in other locations will travel down the door and start to drip from the bottom corners. This is why it’s important to check all 4 areas of a door that are known for leaks.
To see if the crucial corners are the culprit, check the corner pads. If these need to be replaced the installation is very quick. Simply purchase new corner pads, remove the adhesive backing, and stick the pad to the inside of your frame at the crucial corners.
Underneath the Door
Whenever there is a gap between the floor and the door, there is going to be a lot of potential issues.
- Rain will come in through this gap, causing damage to the carpeting or to the wood floors.
- Bugs and other animals could slip under and enter your home, causing an infestation or just being a pest in general.
- Hot and cold air will easily gain entry to your home, causing the temperature to fluctuate and your heating or cooling system to kick on to combat this, in an attempt to retain the right temperature.
- Dirt and debris could be swept under the door, entering your home and making a mess.
There are numerous fixes for this problem, depending on how much effort you want to put into solving this issue.
Installing a Threshold
A threshold is a barrier that prevents moisture from entering the home through the door. The primary use of a threshold is to provide a seal underneath the door, acting as a protective measure against the weather.
A door threshold will shield the interior of your house from drafts, which will help you cut back on your electrical bill. It also protects your house from water that would otherwise make its way inside. Because they will withstand a lot of traffic, they must be durable and securely installed.
Step 1: Remove the Old Exterior Threshold
Using a prybar, wedge the end underneath the corner of the threshold to dislodge. Remove any weather stripping that is attached to the threshold and then clean the area thoroughly. Make sure that the area where the new threshold will be installed is free of dirt and smooth.
Step 2: Prepare the New Threshold
Measure the doorway for the new threshold between the outside edges of the door casing. It should be similar in size to the old threshold and about 2” longer than the length of the doorway so it can be cut for an exact fit.
You will have to cut notches into the side to fit around doorjambs. It is important to get as tight of a fit as possible to ensure a good seal.
Step 3: Secure the Threshold
Place the threshold where you will be installing it, to make sure that it is the right fit. Check to see that the door can close comfortably and that the gap has been reduced. Use a rubber mallet if needed to help tap it into place.
You will want to make sure that the threshold slopes away from your home so that water will not pool in the doorway. Using your power drill, screw the new threshold into position. When finished, run a bead of caulking between the threshold and each doorstop.
Attaching a Door-Sweep
A door-sweep is a long strip of metal or plastic that holds a seal, usually made of neoprene, silicone, or a nylon brush. You mount this strip to the bottom of your door, so that it comes in contact with the top of the threshold.
If you do not have a threshold, then it should come almost in contact with the floor (despite their names, they are not meant to sweep the floor). These are very easy to install and will only take you a few minutes if you have a power drill. These are very common on interior doors, usually to aid in sound isolation, but they can be used on exterior doors as well.
You just need to cut the door-sweep to be the same width as the door you are installing it onto. Once finished, you will either slide the door sweep onto the door or hold the door sweep against the door. Using the pilot holes located along the length of the door-sweep, screw it into the door to secure it.
Manufacturers also make door sweeps that can be adhered using adhesive, but these will not offer the durability that you will need for an exterior door and should be used exclusively for interior doors.
Do Door Sweeps Go on the Inside or Outside of a Door?
Most door sweeps will be installed on the inside of a door. This is because most doors are ‘in-swinging’ doors.
What is the Seal Around a Door Called?
The weatherstripping around a door is known as a gasket. Gaskets are used to seal gaps at door perimeters. You will find these not only around the doors to your house, but also in refrigerators, dishwashers, and other appliances that need a tight seal.
Why Can I see Daylight Around My Door?
If you can see light around your door while it is closed, then it is a good indication that the weatherstripping needs to be replaced. These gaps are costing you money on utility bills as well as allowing moisture, dust and dirt to make its way into your home.
Sean Jarvis is an interior decorator, writer, and expert handyman. Well versed in everything home improvement, he is a savant at manipulating words and spaces and upgrading everything around him. Sean specializes in writing concise guides about appliance repair and installation, home and lifestyle, and other residential projects.
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