How can I find the source of a patio door leak?

Answered by Brett Kulina ~ December 10, 2012 ~ No Comments

Every time we get a hard rain, a puddle appears in our kitchen from the base of our patio door. We have tried multiple fixes and are ready to rule out the door as the issue. We'd rather get to the source than spend additional money on guesses. Any advice?

Angela B.

Brett Kulina

Angela, discovering the unknown source of a water leak in your home can be difficult, especially when the water infiltrates through a location in your house that is not readily visible from where the water eventually pools. Because the water is pooling near your patio door, I have to guess that to be the prime culprit. Even if your door is new, keep in mind that window and door openings that don't have correctly installed flashing oftentimes succumb to the elements. Water can also get under the threshold of a door, especially if the door was installed without adequate sealant between the underside of the threshold and the top of the sub-floor.

You should carefully examine the trim and siding around your door and make sure that all cracks are sealed up tight. You should also confirm that there is a piece of metal flashing installed above the door opening. This flashing piece usually has a 90-degree bend in it and is installed under the siding and vapor barrier, but on top of the window's nailing fin, which allows it to shed any unwanted water that does find its way behind your home's siding.

Another possibility is that the rain is getting under the roof shingles that are above your patio door, which could allow the water to leak down the inside of the wall and door framing, where it eventually pools on the floor. If this is the case, then your best bet is going to be to hire a roofing contractor in your local area who can thoroughly inspect your home and give you some options. If you are able to access your attic to get a look around, perhaps you can locate the telltale drips during the next rain storm.

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