Water Leak Exterior Door Flashing Issue

By Robert Robillard on Uncategorized

Exterior Door Aluminum Thresholds Are Notorious For Leaks

Dear Concord Carpenter,

A contractor put in a new front door, surround and granite and stone steps on my home last summer. After some significant rains the last couple of weeks, water has been slowly coming in my basement down the wall spanning the full width of where the steps are on the outside of the house.

I have told him about it, how disappointed I was… he sent one of his guys out who said that silicone caulk and a perhaps an adjustment/additions to existing trim would solve it…do you really think caulk would be an adequate solution to this??

Or do I demand a more thorough repair, as in removing part of the steps to see what is going on? The water doesn’t POUR in, but the wall in my unfinished basement does get wet and dark after a good rain. I have only known of this for the last couple of weeks, as I don’t go down there much and we haven’t really had a lot of significant rain…

I paid good money for this rehab work! In my mind, I refuse to pay for repairs to this, to be fair, he hasn’t mentioned any charges for repairs, but I don’t think I should be charged for repairs regardless.

I’m sorry to bother u about this, I just want to know your opinion on the best way to proceed and questions I should be asking.

I am so unversed in what is a correct way to proceed. I don’t have any pics of the water damage because it dried up since the last rains, but I’ll take some next storm if it isn’t fixed by then

Thanks Al. D.

 Dear Al,

You are not a bother and caulking is a band-aid repair.  Caulking ALWAYS fails!!!

First look at this article and look closely at the black rubber flashing I installed under the door and down the house. [Behind the future steps]   Exterior Door Flashing Issue

Do you remember seeing that?  hopefully your carpenter used some of this rubber membrane and then used a metal flashing like aluminum or copper over it.

Is there a roof over the steps?  Do you have gutters or a rain divert-er over the landing?  If yes it may not be the door leaking and it is probably a slope of flashing issue

A couple things come to mind.

1. The granite landing may slope towards the house and not away. It should slope away to from the house in order to drain properly.   Any water draining to the house can work its way in and soak your basement walls.  To check the slope of your porch landing use a four foot level from the house to the street.

2. Flashing is missing or improperly installed.

I would ask the contractor or look at your contract and see how he detailed the flashing.

To Repair Leaking Steps:

1. Option 1: install flashing under door and behind the landing, extend it as far down as possible.  Hopefully past all house wood and onto / overlapping the concrete foundation wall.  This will allow water to drain past all of the wood seams.  You may need to remove part of steps.  The problem with this repair is they may have poured concrete or placed masonry to the house without room to install the flashing.  If that is the case the steps may have to be removed.

2. Option 2: Remove door and install rubber flashing and a sill pan. Remove top of steps to concrete foundation.  Flash down all the way, the same as option 1.
3.  Option 3: If the landing is sloped toward the house have him remove the top and relay it properly.

Ask Your Contractor:

1.  Did he install rubber flashing and a sill pan under the door.  Does he have photos?

2.  Did he install rubber flashing down from the door and to the concrete foundation?  Photos?

3.  Did he cover this rubber flashing with aluminum or copper flashing?  Photos?

Please follow up with us by commenting on this post.  Good Luck

~   Concord Carpenter

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor / Writer / Video Talent

Robert Robillard is a remodeler, general contractor, and principal of a carpentry and renovation business located in Concord, Massachusetts. He also writes the "Ask the Carpenter" advice column in the Boston Globe, and serves as the Editor of Tool Box Buzz and founding editor of A Concord Carpenter . Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review - Tool and Product Review - Video Channel, , where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the remodeling industry. The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob <a href="https://profiles.google.com/concordcarpenter"

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