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  • Writer's pictureKyle Black

Preventing Water Damage, By Proper Exterior Door Installation

Hey Welcome to my first blog post. Bare with me.

Over the past 72 days of launching Handyman Services of Maine, I have had the privilege to work for great customers and repeat customers.

Today, I want to share with you how important it is to not go with just any company or anyone whose says that they know what they are doing, specifically with exterior door installation. Over the past 72 days I have ran into issues with homes that could have been prevented had the original installer of the door completed the job correctly. I have installed 2 doors in past two weeks that really should have been simple installs. By simple I mean, taking the door out and replacing it with a new one. But, this was not the case and it really stinks when you have to tell a customer that the project is going to cost more than originally estimated because the previous installer failed to take simple preventative measures when installing their doors.

Water is pervasive and always finds the path of less resistance into your home, most of the time this can be limited and mostly prevented with proper installation of doors for this example. Which is the focus of this post.

Here is the play by play of one of these “simple” door replacement from the beginning to end.

First, I removed the metal wrap around the trim, everything looked great on the top. Nothing major. Nothing of concern. Well this changed the moment I removed the side metal trim and the bottom of the wood trim was saturated and falling apart. Mind you this door is 4 years old. I moved on to the toe kick plate on bottom. I removed the metal trim work and the board under the metal was gone, the water had deteriorated the wood to the point that the nails were rusted out as well. The metal was not sealed properly and allowed water to enter behind the metal.

This was a sign that things were going to get worse and for sure it did. I removed the door, which was only being held in by the nails in the trim, so the door basically fell out of the opening with no effort. The sides of the door had completed rotted out and was falling off the side lights. The door bottom plate was rusting out. And the water had penetrated into the home.

Once the door was removed, my nightmare began. First the ice and water shield that was used to help prevent the water from soaking into the wood was no applied correctly. The door had no silicone applied to the backside of the trim before it was installed. This allowed the water to enter the home and become trapped between the door and the subfloor. The product used at the base of the door was painters caulking, not silicone, which is the proper product for this type of installation. The painters caulking, although not the properly product, also was not applied correctly, there was once small strip applied to the front of the door with gaps and there was nothing at the bottom corners of the door. The ice and water at the bottom of the door was cut in the corners which allowed the water to get into the house and set between the flooring and subfloor.

This floor is not a cheap floor by no means, its Brazilian Cherry, a beautiful wood species. Extremely long story short a job that should have taken 4 maybe 5 hours doubled. I had to remove the flooring, cut out the sub floor and replace it due to the floor starting to rot from the water damage. There was not mold in the house. Thank God in all seriousness. The water was located in one spot.

Great news, I was able to work with my customer to give them a reasonable adjustment to the cost of the repair. I was able to repair the damaged floor and finish the door installation because the water had only penetrated 10” for the sheeting of the house and was mainly in the center of the door. This is not the case for al water damage. Sometimes it will wick up the framing, Sheetrock and insulation, which turns into a possible insurance claim and mold. This is extremely costly.

Word of advice, be sure that when you hire someone to install a door for you that they use all the preventive measures they can to prevent water from invading your home. Here’s what to look for and questions to ask:

1. Will they use ice and water shield on the bottom of the door and extend it 8” to 12” up the side of the door opening?

2. Will they ensure that the bottom corners are sealed completely with ice and water?

3. Will the apply the proper water resistant product to the door trim all the way around as well as the base? You want multiple continuous strips of silicone ran at the bottom of the door. As well as the bottom corners filled with good amount of silicone to prevent water from entering through the bottom sides of the door.

4. Will the use drip edge on the top of the door if it is not already installed? This will push the water away from your home.

5.Will they use painters chalking around all the trim work? Make sure they do all the joints as well. This seals the door sides from water.

6. Will they use exterior painters chalking to seal the toe kick, top and sides? I personal add a bead of silicone behind the toe kick’s edges. This is just and extra preventive measure I take.

7. This is not a question but something to consider, it an additional preventive measure I take. If I have remove the brick molding from the exterior of the door, I will use a strip of ice and water and apply under the trim sealing the area where the trim will be reattached. You don’t see this. It also will help prevent air intrusion into the home.

8. One final tip, make sure they use a spray foam around the interior of the door for insulation. This gives a tight and complete seal around the door and also prevents cold or hot air intrusion.

9. THIS IS IMPERATIVE; ALWAYS ASK AND REQUIRE PROOF OF INSURANCE AND HAVE THE BINDER DIRECTLY EMAILED TO YOU FROM THE AGENT. Handyman Services of Maine has $2,000,0000 worth of liability insurance. I look forward to being your Handyman.

Thanks for reading and be sure to follow upcoming post.


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