Water Damage: Do I Need to Replace My Front Door?
Monday, March 8, 2021

Water damage can be catastrophic. Costing billions of dollars a year, water damage is fast becoming the leading reason for insurance claims in the US.

You probably know the tell-tale signs of water damage in ceilings and walls, but have you considered your doors? If you suspect you may have water damage to your door, we've got all the info you'll need on how to fix it, and when it's time to replace your damaged door.

Causes of Water Damaged Doors

Water damage can usually be attributed to one of three situations.... (A) extreme weather and flooding,  (B) improper installation and flashing methods, or (C) lack of routine maintenance and painting.   If you live in an area that gets a lot of rain and you have a wood or steel clad door with a wood jamb, you should be checking your doors regularly for water damage and maintaining the paint or stain.

This is especially true for front doors, which get a lot of use and foot traffic. Heavy use of the protective elements of the door such as rubber weather seals, can lead to those features wearing down faster, leaving your door more at risk for damage to the wood or your interior floors and trim.

If you have recently experienced extreme weather or flooding in your area, make sure you don't leave your door off the water damage checklist.

How Do I Know If My Door Is Water Damaged?

The first place your door will begin to show signs of water damage is in its bottom corners. Look closely for signs of rot or "Water Damage" around the edges of the frame. If you see the wood crumbling and it feels damp, this could be a sign that your door is water damaged.    Insurance rarely covers "rot" which is a natural process which occurs over a period of time.   You are more likely to have a covered claim if you have "water damage" that occurred suddenly during a specific event.  So don't neglect your maintenance. 

Often, signs of water damage are not visible but can be felt. Press your hand against different parts of your door frame. If the wood gives way or feels soft, this is a sure sign of damage.  Inspectors may use a screw driver to put pin-pointed pressure on the wood, to see if it drives through easily.

Another way to determine whether your door is suffering water damaged can be to visit your basement... Try to find the place where your door is located above you.  If you see water stains on the underside of the subfloor above, or to the floor joists there, or to the wall under the door, it's likely you have a problem. Just make sure the water damage you see is coming from the door and not the basement itself.

Water Damage: When Should I Replace My Door?

If the signs are all there, it's time to consider whether you should replace your door, or simply patch the damage.
-- does it latch and seal well?
-- is there "slop" in the door allowing it to move when closed?
-- how deep is the wood damage?
-- is the flooring or trim damaged inside?
-- how likely is it that the rim joist, subfloor, or other structural framing is damaged?
-- is the door or the frame swelling?
-- have you had similar problems with other doors in your home?
-- how much patience do you have, to deal with this issue again in 2 years?

The answers to the above questions will determine whether simply replacing the weather stripping, applying some wood filler and paint, and adjusting the strike will fix or door, or whether you need to replace it.

The fix could be as simple as replacing the weather seals to keep the water out of the nooks and crannies depending on the nature of the damage. A quick on-site consultation with a member of our team will clear things up in no time.

If the rot around your doorway is extensive, or your door frame is soft when you push it, it's time for a replacement. When it comes to replacing your door entirely you're going to need help from professionals.  We want to ensure that we supply and install a quality fiberglass door with full composite jamb to prevent future problems.  We also need to repair the hidden water damage to the jambs or subfloor before putting in the new door.  Learn more about replacing your entry doors in this detailed video from a recent project we completed in West Grove, PA.

Closing the Door on Water Damage

When it comes to water damage, you don't want to mess around. There are potential flashing issues, structural issues, and potential hidden damage.  Calling in a professional construction and renovation service will save you time, money, and water damage-induced headache in the long run.

If you suspect you may have water damage, or your home needs a good fixing up in general, check out our services and this YouTube Playlist on doors and then get in touch with us!