What To Do If Water Comes In Through Back Door

Spring is upon us, bringing with it spring showers and spring leaks. Exterior door leaks are a common source of water intrusion at this time of year. These leaks, while troubling, are usually more of an annoyance than a danger. Knowing what causes this problem and how to solve it can help you find peace of mind and enjoy life in your home just a little bit more at this wet time of year.

Find the Source of the Leak

When it’s possible, finding the source of the leak can help you get the situation under control. To do this, wait until it begins to rain outside. Stand at your door when the rain begins and watch for the rain to make its entrance. The first place where the rain appears should be the source of your problem. Finding this source will help you determine which parts of your doorway are vulnerable and which parts are working properly.

Know the Common Culprits

The common problems that can cause doorway leaks include:

  • Lack of adequate caulking around the doorway
  • Cracked or deteriorated weather stripping
  • Improper installation of weather stripping
  • Improper installation of the door

If you’re unable to find the source of the problem by watching the door during a rainfall, inspect the caulking and weather stripping around your front door. Look for cracks and gaps in the area around the exterior door. You should also look for signs of mold or rot around your door, as the spot with the most damage could be another clue when searching for the source of your leak.

Fix the Problem

Once you’ve identified the problem, it’s time to solve it.

  • Caulking: If the problem is your caulking, use a 3 in 1 caulk tool to scrape out the old, cracked, deteriorating caulking from the door frame. Clean the doorway with mild detergent and a scrub brush, then wipe down the area with a rag dipped in rubbing alcohol to remove all remaining dirt and gummy stuff. When the door frame is fully cleaned, install new silicone caulk using a caulk gun. If you’re not used to caulking, practice on a piece of cardboard before doing it live on your door. You can see the process in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2U1ewgv9X9g
  • Weather stripping: If the problem is damaged weather stripping, pull off or unscrew old, damaged weather stripping, then reinstall new weather stripping to seal gaps around your door. There are many different kinds of weather stripping, and the installation process you use will depend on the type of weather stripping you purchase. A few tips to help you with this process:
    • Measure the gap between the door and the door frame to help you purchase the right size weather stripping for your needs.
    • The quality of your weather stripping will usually be directly proportional to the price. For best results, avoid buying the cheapest, most low-end weather stripping.

If you’re searching for inspiration or if you’d like to see video of one homeowner’s struggle to fix his weather stripping, we recommend watching this YouTube video:

If your Leak Turns Out to be a Plumbing Problem…

At Terry’s Plumbing, we don’t fix door leaks, but we do fix plumbing leaks. If in your examination of the door you discover that your plumbing was the source of your problem, then give us a call. We’ll be happy to help.