How do we stop water from leaking in under the door?

Answered by Jeffrey Anderson ~ April 28, 2014 ~ No Comments

Water is coming under our door's threshold. Can we just remove threshold and add wood shims, seal them, and then add the threshold and cut doors to fit?


Jeffrey Anderson

Tracy, my first suggestion would be to check to ensure the water isn't coming in over the threshold as that could be a fairly easy fix. Many modern exterior door thresholds can be adjusted so a center piece raises up so that it's tighter against the bottom of the door. If there is a sweep on the bottom of the door, that can often be adjusted down as well. However, it can be a trial and error process making that gap small enough that water doesn't leak in, but not so tight that the door drags when being opened and closed.

If the water is indeed leaking in under the threshold, silicone caulk can be applied at the front of the threshold to stop the flow. But be aware that is a temporary fix that must be renewed on a regular basis as it cracks or gets kicked away. Do you see a lot of water ponding in front of the door after a rain? If so, the grade may need to be adjusted so water flows away from the door rather than toward it. You might also check to make sure there aren't any downspouts discharging in the vicinity of the door.

As far as removing the threshold and adding shims, I'm not sure what that would accomplish. If you are able to remove the threshold (and I say that as many are embedded in concrete if the house is on a slab) then caulking or using construction adhesive under it could also help. The threshold can then be put back into place. All of these repairs should be able to be done without having to cut off the bottom of the door. (I'm assuming that when you mention cutting off the door that it is made of wood as cutting off a metal or fiberglass door wouldn't really be an option.)

There are various types of sill trays that may be able to be installed to stop water intrusion if you are able to remove the threshold. These set down flush against the subfloor or concrete slab and the threshold sits down inside of them. Any water that gets under the threshold is prevented from entering the home by the back of the tray.

If none of these repairs do the trick, installing some sort of grate drain in front of the exterior door might be an option. It wouldn't be very attractive, especially if this is your main exterior door, but should get rid of the water before it enters your home. Preventing water intrusion can be very frustrating as it can get inside so many different ways, but in just about all cases the leak can be stopped.

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