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Question DetailsAsked on 12/29/2013

Any contractor recommendations for improperly installed Anderson French Doors?

Water is coming through somewhere. Wood floors warping, wallboard near floor crumbling. Looking for an Anderson expert to remove doors and find problem. Doors installed 3 years ago during construction of home. It wasn't until after we moved in a few months ago that we noticed water coming in.

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22 Answers

Voted Best Answer
1
Vote

A bit more info is needed to give you a good answer. It sounds like a problem with sill seal. If on a normal install with the outside landing or deck being a couple of inches below the door sill you can sometimes get away with a mistake here but if it is a the same level as say a patio or concrete landing this could be the source. You made no mention of any damage near the top or on the sides but it is possible that it is on the head (top) flashing not being done right or even left out. I have seen many installers leave this piece out thinking the nailing flange is enough. Is it just durring wind driven rain or when snow is on the ground outside the door/ These are all things that would help as well as what type of siding you have.


Don

Answered 3 years ago by ContractorDon

0
Votes

Location of above question is South Kingstown, RI


Answered 3 years ago by driggs526

2
Votes

+1


Can't tell you how much we see that. Seems to almost be standard issue for builder patio doors.


Like Don said, I am sure the patio or deck comes right to the underside of the door.


You are going to pay at least $500 to pull the door and put it back in most cases.


Make sure you get a sill pan installed in the process.

Answered 3 years ago by WoWHomeSolutions

1
Vote

I am with the other two answers sounds like sill flashing. Also , I do not think you need to have an Anderson specialist as much as some one whose expertise is installations. Anderson will tell you that poorly and improper installation falls back to the installer . Three years old home, how about the builder, who was his installer do you still have any warranty with them?

Answered 3 years ago by the new window man

1
Vote

If you could add a picture of the outside of the door it would help all of us that are trying to help you. If you can not post a picture give us some info as to how close the outside concrete or decking is to the sill and what type of material it is as this may change what needs to be corrected. From the sounds of the interior damage I would not put off the repair for too long or you may need structural repairs to the wall as well. You have quite a few years of experience trying to help you with the ones that have answered your question so one of us will come up with a solution.


Don

Answered 3 years ago by ContractorDon

0
Votes

Thank you all for your responses. I will get out there and take a picture. At this point in time there is not a deck outside the doors. The drop is 22 inches to gravel. (2014 project) We do have someone coming by this week to do a temporary fix. He is going to install thin sheeting under the shingles above the doors and to either side. He wants it to hang a little over the top of the doors. If the problem is coming from above (which he thinks) then this temporary fix will tell us. He also showed me on the outside where the screens are how the alignment was off on the sides and top. We called the lumber company where the doors were purchased and they gave us the name of this contractor who does work for them.

As for the original contractor he was hired to get the house constructed and completed on the exterior. The interior was just studded. He is a reputable contractor however we just didn't have the funds for him to complete the house. (The contractor who came by today knows of our previous contractor and said this is so not like him.) So it took us these last three years to finally complete the interior and he was not involved in the project. As for a warranty ???? Thinking back there were times we noticed the plywood flooring in front of the doors sometimes being off color as if they had gotten wet.

Answered 3 years ago by driggs526

2
Votes

With that much of a drop under the door it could be from the top flashing, that is why I asked for more info. It sounds like your local guy mat be on the right track. It could be something as simple as the siding guy ommiting the J channel lap on the corners or something on top that is letting water run down the sides and pooling under the sill. Either someone left out a flashing or lpped it the wrong way. Again it sounds like you local guy has the right ideas. Keep us posted.


Don

Answered 3 years ago by ContractorDon

1
Vote

It is highly possible, even likely, that the installation was not proper but it also sounds like there is not a roof covering the doors beyond a typical overhang, 12-24" usually. Therefore the doors are not protected from the elements. Remember that doors are not water proof. No matter how good the doors are there will always be a little water seeping in during heavy storms, especially when accompanied by wind. There should always be a storm door or roof covering of at least 4-6' over any exterior doors. Otherwise, they will leak. Also, wood and laminate are generally a bad idea in front of exterior doors unless they are very well protected and people know to wipe off water and snow before entering the house and tracking on the wood. Pooling water will damage the floors, whether it comes from seepage around the doors or from shoes. An absorbant rug can help with the water and snow from shoes as long as it doesn't hold moisture against the floor.


Hopefully your new contractor can find the source of your problem, if there is one. Also, get bids on building a patio cover over those doors to protect them. It will cost more than if it had been done with the construction of the house but it is a necessity regardless.

Answered 3 years ago by Todd's Home Services

1
Vote

Other comments all sounds on the mark as possible causes. I agree it sounds like they did not install (or at least not properly) the flashing and J strip around the door frame. The first step, as well as checking perimeter caulking is intact, would be installing either an apron roof / canopy over the door as Don suggested, or as an interim measure, a rain cap over the door - looks like this -

http://inspectapedia.com/exterior/5Mc...

That one happens to be over a window, but same concept. In new installation (or reinstallation) the top edge sits back up behind and under the siding, so any water running down the siding runs off the siding onto the drip edge, across the flashing, and then drips off the bottom edge in front of the door or window. The type most commonly used on doors looks like this, and sticks out 1/2-1 inch beyond the frame - the 4th and 5th photos in this link showing it on a garage door

http://ana-white.com/2012/08/momplex/...

If you have to get your door reinstalled, five things should be done:

1) bituthene or similar plastic waterproofing should be installed all around the rough opening before the unit is reinstalled, then a caulk bead run at the front corner just before the window unit is installed

2) a compressible waterproofing seal like compressible bitumastic strip should be placed on the front edge of the rough opening across the bottom, so when the door unit is installed there is a waterproof seal between door sill and house

3) a drip edge should be installed up under the siding at the top before the door is installed, so water from above gets diverted over the door and never hits the frame

4) a drip edge should be installed under the door, to divert water coming off the door (blowing rain, melting snow, etc) extending out from the siding so you so not get water under the siding below the door

5) J channel/flashing (depending on type of siding) should be installed all around the sides and top of the window ot keep water from sneaking in beside the frame

One other thought - which I saw once - I presume the door unit is installed right side out - with the track on the inside, and the metal sill sloping down away toward the outside ? I saw a case once on a mass subdivision build where the door installers put ALL the sliding glass patio doors in backwards - about 200 of them ! Had REAL good seal to the drywall with the mounting flanges on the inside - zero flashing or protection on the outside - they just ran a big bead of caulk around them for waterproofing. Could not figure out why the installers figured it went in from the inside when they were doing thousands of windows that went in from the outside.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

0
Votes


Thank you again for all your responses. (Top photo sorry it is sideways) We had flashing installed last week on top of the doors. (bottom photo inside) the insulation and wood is dry. The underside of the flooring is wet. We had hoped the flashing on top would solve this but then the rain came!

Answered 3 years ago by driggs526

1
Vote

I can see wide joints between the shingles over the trim board above the door and it looks like white flashing showing through the joints or it could be Tyvek. You normally would have a double course of shingles which this picture seem to show a single course which could cause leaking. And it appears there is no drip flashing on the trim above the trim board above the door which could allow water to run behind the 1X1o or what ever the belt trim is that seems to run around the house and across the door. It appears the belt trim sticks out further than the door and I can not see if there is a drip flashing there and while you might get away with it if it sticks out far enough I would put one there. The drip cap flashing looks like a lazy Z laying on it's side. There should be a bend that has about 3/8 to 1/2 inch coming down the face ot the door trm and a return that is the same depth as the brick moulding (like exterior casing) then there should be a bend going up the wall for atleast 3 inches with tar paper or building wrap over that. If that board on top of the door extends all around the house drip cap should have been used for the whole thing and not just the door. If not it is possible that you may have damage to the sheathing all around the house.

It might help if you had close up shots of the top of the door and possibly the upper portion of the sides.


Don

Answered 3 years ago by ContractorDon

1
Vote

I agree with Don. You are still missing some very key pieces of flashing above and below the siding. Also, it apperas someone is relying on caulk instead of flashing on the 2x board running under the doors and and siding. Furthermore, there is no caulk around the new trim. That much is all evident. To what extent the lack of proper flashing and caulking (where necessary in addition to flashing) is causing damage and leaking is still hard to say. I'm curious if the leaking is not occurring at the doors but at the siding.


Of course, without a roof covering the doors will always leak a bit at top and base of the weatherstripping, especially at the T-astrigal bar between the 2 doors. That is just the nature of French doors. Did you see any water on top of the wood flooring at any point? I'm also wandering if the seeping around the doors is running over the top of the threshold and then onto the wood where it is falling between the planks.


Also, is the threshold sloped up/back towards the doors. It may be an optical illusion in the picture but it looks like it to me which is completely wrong. Try pouring water from a pitcher on the face of the doors and allow it to cascade onto the threshold below. It may take a few pitchers of water. Where does it go? Have someone follow it inside while you watch outside. No water should stand anywhere. If the hole for the T-astrigal bar in the middle isn't sealed it will invite water in too. It should be a cup to catch the pin, not just a hole.


Lastly, I can't see the threshold completely in the pictures because of the screen doors but it is an inswing setup, right? Usually you don't have a screen option with outswing doors but if you have an outswing threshold (the part the doors go over is lower than the rest of the threshold and there is weatherstripping along there) the doors were installed backwards and that would explain it. Can you take a picture of the lower section of the door frame and threshold with the door open?

Answered 3 years ago by Todd's Home Services

0
Votes

After seeing the pictures and reading Don and Todd's comments, I am becoming more suspicious that the entire door unit may be installed backwards - inside out. Inside opening french doors on an exterior surface are always a problem, but as Todd said it is hard to get screen doors to work right on outward opening french doors, as it takes a fancy roller mechanism so the screen door opens too when the french door opens out. You usually have to custom install a sliding screen door that parks off the the side, outside the siding, in its own track to make that work well.

The photos do not have high enough resolution to really blow them up large, but it looks to me like there is no way for water hitting the doors to run toward the outside of the house with the screen door tracks there, unless there are holes or slots through the tracks to drain to the outside that I do not see.

To check if installed inside out or not - the door frames or doors themselves should have compressible weatherstripping on them that the door compresses against the frame when it closes. This should be toward the OUTSIDE edge or face of the door, so if that is on the edge of the door or frame closest to the inside of the house, it may be the whole unit was installed with the outside facing in.

The inside face of the bottom sill (probably one-piece molded aluminum) will usually be straight up from the floor to the flat door sill, or a very short flat slope to a flat surface where the door seals to it, then from there (on the outside of the door) a long significant sloping section to the outside to drain falling water away from the doors. Here are a couple of images - the outdoors side is to the right in all these images -

http://www.enduraproducts.com/product...

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/...

If your long slope is inside the house they installed at least the sill, and maybe the entire door unit, backwards. In your mind, follow the path of the rain water as it hits the door - as it runs down the face of the door to the bottom, if it does not drop off onto a surface that slopes down to the outside, something is wrong. If, for instance, it runs down the door and then goes down between the door and a raised metal ridge or door stop face in the metal sill, then would run under the door toward the inside of the house, it is either terribly designed or backwards.

French doors are specifically designed for either inward or outward swing - you cannot just take one and turn it around for use the other direction - the sills and weatherstripping will be wrong and will almost always leak significantly.

If you know the brand of doors, take a few more pictures, especially of the sill area, and send them to the manufacturer and ask if the unit or the sill is installed inside out. Or, respond back to us with your brand name and model - we can tell you which way they are supposed to face, and which way your sill should face.

As Todd and Don say, the entire installation looks unprofessional - photos are not totally clear because they will not stand a lot of enlargement (probably from a cell phone, I guess ?), but several things definitely look wrong:

1) the white showing through the shingle gaps that Todd saw should not be - shingles should be at least 2 layers thick at all spots, so each gap between shingles is underlain by another solid shingle.

2) the wide white (trim ? - facing ?) strip over the top of the door does not appear to be tucked up under the shingles 4 or more inches - it appears water running down over the shingles can go BEHIND this white strip - or is there a drip edge above it that is tucked under the shingles that I cannot see ? (Should look something like this, except with black water shield plastic sheeting rather than building felt is used these days) -

http://www.diyadvice.com/diy/siding/p...

3) the side trim does not have flashing over it and as Todd says appears to not even be caulked, unless it overlies the flashing so we cannot see it. There should be flashing over the top, overlying the side flashing which should be under the shingles at the side, then fastened to the door frame. There should also be housewrap underlying the entire thing, and water shield installed all around the opening before the door was put in, under the flashing - like this

http://dsbrody.com/harvey-vinyl-slidi...

4) If there IS side flashing, does it come out on TOP (to the free side) of the sill strip and siding - water hitting above the door should run off the drip cap and drop to the ground, any water getting under that should be stopped by the flashing tucked up under the shingles and fastened and caulked to the door frame, and run off the sides and down ON TOP of the side flashing (which should underlie the ends of the top flashing), water hitting the side of the frame should be stopped by the side flashing and run down the flashing and at the bottom run out onto the top of the sill slope or onto the surface of the siding, NOT under it.

5) Under the door, there should be flashing sealed andn caulked to the bottom of the door frame, then down typically about 2-4 inches, and out over the siding material so any drips coming off the bottom of the sill are caught by the flashing and diverted back out over the siding, rather than getting in under the door frame.

6) In the long run, you need an awning or proch roof over the door, ,sticking out about 3-4 feet at least. In California there used to be a builders saying that there are two kinds of french doors - those that are leaking, and those that are going to. Unfortunately, unless you go with unsightly secondary weatherstrip that contacts the face of the door (like is used along the sides of rollup garage doors) you are likely to have some leaks.

7) You need to get a flooring guy in there to try to salvage what he can of your flooring and ddry out the area underneath - this will likely mean leaving the removed flooring up till the door is fixed, maybe putting down some custom cut underlayment or plywood so you have a level floor till the problem is solved and the hardwood can be put back down.


Answered 3 years ago by LCD

0
Votes

We poured water on the bottom sill as recommended and the water came in on the inside. It appeared to be coming in along the door and flowed down to the corner. There are some nail holes where water could be getting in.



Answered 3 years ago by driggs526

0
Votes

Answered 3 years ago by driggs526

0
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The white at the top is the flashing we installed last week under the shingles to see if maybe the problem was from up above.

Answered 3 years ago by driggs526

0
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Do anyone of you live near or in RI?

The contractor I have now cannot do anything until Spring. Should I tape plastic on the door and sill to keep out the water?


Answered 3 years ago by driggs526

0
Votes

In the last pictures you posted it appears to me that the installer used the weep holes provided for drainage for screws to hold the sill in place. They are the slotted or oblong holes you see with the screw in the center. It has been awhile since I put in an Anderson French door but I am certain you are not supposed to do this, I wish I had the install instructions for this. Those holes are for draining any water that blows under the door and drain it before it hits the weathersrtip at the door bottom. Since they are oblong the screw head does not seal it, they actually look like the stop at the upper level of the aluminum sill and water is getting past them! Unless he used self drilling screwsthe pilot hole he drilled is probably leting water past. I had to give it some thought but one possible thought would be to drill (and I know this is going to sound funny) a larger hole through just the upper aluminum big enough for the head of the screw to go through and contact just the bottom of the aluminum sill. One way you might be able to see if this is the cause would be to put duct tape across the whole sill in the spot I am talking about and then do you water test. When doing the water test you shoud start at the very outer most point on the sill and have someone watch as you slowly work your way up to the face of the door. You do have to go slowly since it may take time to work through. With out being there in person to look at it i would bet this is the problem. I still do not see any signs of a sill flashing extending past the door sill and out over what looks like a deck ledger. Poor installation. Hopefully one of the others that have been helping might verify my thoughts, since this long distance diagnosis is a bit of a guessing game.

If I should head up to visit my favorite cousin in RI I might give you a post since the state is pretty small.


Don

Answered 3 years ago by ContractorDon

0
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I'm not sure what the purpose of the u-channel is in front of the wooden part of the threshold that the door seals to. That's new to me. it may be part of Anderson's design now or something the original contractor added. To me, it looks like another device to dam and trap water. I don't think the holes in the bottom are weep holes necessarily since there are weep holes elsewhere in that track. I can see them in the picture taken from outside looking at the door sill/threshold. However, I don't see anything that looks like it would provide a seal where those screws penetrate the assembly. That would easily let water in. Did you order those doors from the original contractor or from a store and had him install them? If you know where they came from they may have a display that shows that track and how it is supposed to be installed. Also, they may be able to help you figure out why it was installed at all. It may be something to do with snow and ice that we don't do down in the lower states. To me, it just looks like something else to collect water. Door sills/thresholds should be relatively unrestricted so water can shed quickly when splashed on the doors.

Answered 3 years ago by Todd's Home Services

0
Votes

Oh, and they are definietly inswing doors now that we've seen this last set of pictures so at least they were installed the correct direction. One more thought, look at the weatherstripping on the bottom of the doors and make sure it isn't damaged. Also, check to see that it makes solid contact with the threshold so that no light can be seen. My concern is the path the water is traveling. If it is just seeping a little between the door and threshold, but not through the treshold by means of one of those screws, that is normal. The doors should shed most of the water but a little might seep through due to direct contact. Wooden threshold components are even more prone to this since they contract during the winter and expand during the summer, altering the compression if the weatherstripping. You want the weatherstipping to make as much contact as possible without inhibiting the door's function. As I said before, exterior doors will always leak around the weatherstripping a little, especially in heavy rain or with heavy wind. Sliding doors aren't really that much better than french doors in terms of blocking the weather but do require more maintenance if used regularly. Make sure through trial and error, slowly pouring water on different parts of the threshold and doors, with them closed, that the only place that allows water is the junction of the doors and the frame/threshold. If you pour water anywhere on the theshold/sill and it seeps inside or through to the framing below it needs to be addressed either by replacing the threshold and installing the new one properly or sealing those holes somehow (means more future maintenance).

Answered 3 years ago by Todd's Home Services

0
Votes

Looking at my Anderson Catalog the piece with the slotted holes in it appears to be a sort of dam ti the outside of the weatherstriping on the sill. There seem to be holes both in the top of this in the channel and at the front edge to drain any wind driven rain that mkes it's wat under the front of the door. The weather stripping at the bottom of the door seals against the oak sill step which is factory bonded to the "Fibrex" subsill which has the weep holes that drain over the aluminum exterior sill. It appears that you also have the optional interior oak threshold. I would try my recomendation of closing of the slot with duct tape or possibly even better grab a tea kettle or something you can focus the water stream with and try to pour water just in the slot that has the oblong holes in it. If you looked at a cross section of the part it looks like an "H" with slots in the bottom of the upper part of the H and in the lower outside bottom of the H. I do not think you can replace it without doing the whole sill assembly. If this proves to be the source I think you may be able to seal it with o-rings around the screws as I described above.


Don

Answered 3 years ago by ContractorDon

0
Votes

Just did a bit of research for you. The trough I am talking about is called a "weep tank" by Anderson that stops wind driven rain. It then drains through the weep holes to the exterior of the sill and those holes must be checked for debris periodcally. Yours appear to be clean in the pictures so that is not your problem. I hate to be repetitive but seems like a bad install not a product problem. Are you at all a do-it-yourselfer? If so you may be able to fix with a bit of guiding.


Don

Answered 3 years ago by ContractorDon

0
Votes

Good comments as usual from Don and Todd on your comeback. My thoughts, partly duplicating theirs:

1) test the three slots on the innermost track with a precision pour of a bit of water you can accurately control the flow from - if this water, poured in the inner track, comes out into the house instead of outside the front of the metal sill strip, something is wrong - contact manufacturer.

2) you definitely need to fix the screws holding the track down, in the second inner slot - I would pull them out, caulk the hole with silicone caulk, and use a panhead screw size that fits cleanly in the track and will seat flush. Before doing this, make sure the drain slots toward the outside of this trench will drain. If not, you may need to widen them a bit, or drill a few more drain holes similar to those to ensure this trench drains - bu sure not to break through to top of the ridge or track.

3) I see no caulk at the ends of the base track - caulk (clear 30 year silicone caulk) both ends of the track, from inside most trench to outside edge. As it looks to me, water in those trenches looks like it can run to the sides and thence down into the wood sill, and wherever it want to go from there - outside, inside, into wall, etc.

4) image of bottom outside of door is not clear, but looks like it is molding on you. Were these doors painted - some makes come primed but not finish painted from the factory.

5) on weatherstripping - not totally clear to me and blowups get fuzzy - there should be a compression seal (called Panel Gasket by Anderson in the parts list) all around the sides and top of the door, which presses against the stop strips all around when the door is closed. Typically a compressible bulb or convoluted flap seal, on cheaper doors stickyback foam strip. There should also be a bottom seal, can be felt or rubber (better) that seals against the sill stop, to keep water coming down the door from getting into the sill trench or slot. There should also be a drip edge (called Panel Watershed by Anderson) on the bottom of the door, to keep rain from getting to the bottom seal at all. You have something on the bottom outside of the door - can't tell what it is, but does not look very big. A drip edge looks like this -

http://community.homedepot.com/t5/Doo...

one shown happens to be a combined unit for a front door with traditional doorsill, so combines drip seal (right side) with a bottom seal. It looks like you need a large one of of the drip seal for the outside of the doors - maybe overlapping the small one they provided - ends would fit almost tight to the stops at each side of the door when closed, so 1/2 inch or so shorter than the door width on each side as installed.

From the parts list it looks like they also have an extreme weather drip seal available as a replacement part.

One other thing you can do if you get leakage along the side weatherstrip on the doors - does not look as good and slightly narrows opening, but really works for wind-driven rain - is install garage door jamb weatherstrip on the frame, outside the door, so the "flap" of the seal contacts the door when it is closed - provides essentially the same type of "drip edge" configuration along the sides (and top if you have wind penetration issues). Comes in black, white, and brown at least from FrostKing - flat face (left in image) nails to door jamb, the angled up lip then hangs out in the air when door is open, and door would slightly compress against it when closed. Not a water-tight seal - intended as a rain/snow deflector, but seals pretty good. Looks like this -

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Frost-King...

I put on sides and top of my rollup garage door frame (along with a bulb type bottom compression seal) and it sealed so tight that when the furnace kicked on, the 16 foot wide door kicked inwards due to suction - had to put in auxiliary air source for the furnace to prevent backdrafting. At zero below outside, garage temp (without auxiliary garage heater on) went from 40 to 55 degrees due to these seal strips.

Here is a link that might be of use to you - appears to be the installation instructions for your unit, if I got the right model - Frenchwood - for the insect screen track and the door itself, though the sill they show has less trenches in it. I cannot capture the links, but if you go to this google search result, they are the 4th and 6th ones listed (at least today) - automatically downloads PDF files with the instructions for the screen door and the Frenchwood swinging patio doors when you click on the links -

http://www.google.com/search?client=s...

Also has your parts listing to order parts, if this is your brand. Note they do sell a drip cap for over the top, thoguh not clear if that was supposed to come with the unit or not.

Unfortunately, if you google this search phrase - anderson swinging french doors leaks you can find a LOT of complaints about this idiotic weep trench, which commonly overflows, damaging floors - someone at Anderson needs a good head soaking for this sort of idiotic design, though making inswing patio doors is itself a sign they don't really have a concept of how rain water moves.

Good luck

Answered 3 years ago by LCD




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