Door Repair

My client Tony DeSalle in Windham called me with a door repair problem.  Family members had fixed his door some years back and it wasn’t keeping water out of the house. When I got there, there was an evident sag in the door unit, there was a huge hole in the floor inside the door that was covered by a piece of plywood, and there was visible rot of the jambs and moldings. Here’s a picture:

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Look at the aluminum threshold and imagine rain water running down it. Since the outer edge does not overlap the board under it, the rain water ran into the crack between the threshold and that board.  That water over the years rotted out his floor joists and the double perimeter band joist that supports the walls of his house.  It also rotted out the wall base plates at each side of the door unit, and it rotted out a significant area of subfloor and top floor inside the door.  All those things had to be replaced.  The door jambs were rotted at the bottom, as were the lower edges of both sidelights, and the hinge edge of the door. Those edges had to be replaced with wood milled on site, and with epoxy resin.

This job stresses a common theme that I present to my clients: if you find evidence of water damage, fix it immediately. Water will spread because of physical contact. Sap runs up trees, and a kerosene lamp’s wick stays wet, both are due to capillary action. So water runs below the surface of things, and because it cannot evaporate, it will decompose the wet wood and provide a water supply for insects. Tony had plenty of both, I found. You might think all is well when the surface dries, but only the surface dries. The surface water can evaporate. Below the surface, the water is not open to the environment, so it cannot evaporate. If Tony had called me as soon as he saw evidence of water inside his door, we could have fixed it before the framing rotted out!

Here are some shots that show parts of the work. This first  picture shows the plywood that Tony had put down to cover the hole made in the subfloor by the water hydrolysis process. It also shows how the bottoms of the jambs rotted out, as well as the mullion trim.

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The photo above illustrates how water will move laterally, damaging the wood that cannot dry out because it is covered by siding.

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In photo above, we can see that the damage was several feet to both sides of the door unit.

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Header over basement window and doubled perimeter band joist installed
Pressure treated 2x10 sill with sloped nose and drip groove underneath. Water will run off onto the ground.
Pressure treated 2×10 sill with sloped nose and drip groove underneath. Water will run off onto the ground. Subfloor plywood has been installed.
The rotted wood in the sidelights and the door (not shown) replaced with wood and epoxy resin.
The rotted wood in the sidelights and the door (not shown) replaced with wood and epoxy resin.
New jambs. Repaired door and sidelights rehung. Sill with nose flashing installed. Deck re-attached. Trim installed.
New jambs. Repaired door and sidelights rehung. Sill with nose flashing installed. Deck re-attached. Trim installed.
A closeup showing nose flashing under the threshold, behind the trim boards, like feathers on a duck, allowing water to run off.
A closeup showing nose flashing under the threshold, behind the trim boards, like feathers on a duck, allowing water to run off.

This is a drawing of the flashing I made on site, with the top edge turned up so that blown rain will not get under the threshold. That turned up edge is behind the fluted pilaster. The flashing and the drip groove both prevent water from running back under the door unit. Double protection.

Hand-drawn rough sketch of aluminum threshold and installed flashing, and then a side profile under that of the flashing alone, showing how the top edge is turned up 3/8".
Hand-drawn rough sketch of aluminum threshold and installed flashing, and then a side profile under that of the flashing alone, showing how the top edge is turned up 3/8″.

There are many details involved in building a door system that sheds water. As someone who has built houses and room additions, I know what they are, so repairing these things is something I do well. In fact, because of my training and my experience, I’m an expert not only at door repair, but home repair in general. Of course, I’m also expert at remodeling.

Call me to discuss your project.

Patrick 207-577-9765

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