I have an exterior door that leaks water into the house when rain is blown against it. The floor on the inside of the house is unfinished, meaning it is just the raw subfloor. I don't want to put the finish floor down until the leak is addressed.

The few things I have done thus far have not improved the situation but has also not made it worse.

Here is what I have done:

  • Pulled the exterior frame off and filled all the gaps with slow expanding foam.
  • I have put a roll of 4" valcor rubber strip over all the now foam filled gaps.
  • I have checked and confirmed that the door is plumb.
  • I installed a aluminum drip edge across the top molding and behind the clapboard.
  • I inspected the gasket on the bottom and it looks ok.
  • The surrounding gaskets seem ok (no cuts or overly squished look when the door is open).

I do not know the brand of door, but it is about 5 years old and has been doing this since pretty much the first storm after install.

What is the next thing I should look for OR what can I do to test and find what is failing to allow water to come in? And then, How do I fix it?

I will also say that depending on who I listen to from the DIY shows, Mike Holmes from Canada says "Use a storm door, that's why they call it a storm door". Norm Abrams from My USA says "an exterior door should keep out all the elements on its own and not require a storm door to do its job". I like and believe that an exterior door should do its job and something is wrong, broken or failing and THAT is what needs to be addressed.

  • 5
    Have you tried spraying a hose against the door to confirm that the door itself is leaking? Water could be entering higher up, finding the door and coming in there. Sep 11, 2012 at 13:58
  • 3
    Holmes would definitely not advocate covering up a problem like a leaking exterior door by putting a storm door in front. He would do anything from replacing the door to rebuilding the entire front entrance and installing a new weeping system around the whole foundation.. and then he'd put a storm door on. :)
    – gregmac
    Sep 11, 2012 at 13:59
  • That just sums up Mike Holmes beautifully. Sep 11, 2012 at 14:03
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    What kind of door is it? Wood, glass, steel? How tight is the whole house? If it is tight enough you could put a possitive presure inside the house, you could get a colored smoke kit and find the exact point where the water gets in because that is where the smoke would come out.
    – ShoeMaker
    Sep 13, 2012 at 14:01
  • 2
    If you can seal off any extra doorways and windows in that one room, you can pressurize just that room. I would use a heavy 3mil+ plastic sheathing to seal off the entries to other rooms.
    – ShoeMaker
    Sep 14, 2012 at 13:46

4 Answers 4

  1. Verify that the door is leaking and not some other place. Have a helper with you and on a dry week spray with a water hose against the door where it meets the jam see if any water leaks in from that. Give it 30 min to show up and if that doesn't work try spraying around the outside of the frame and see if it leaks in then.

  2. Follow the stains to the wall. It is entirely likely that the leak is somewhere else and the door is the first break in the seal so it leaks there. You may need to pull moulding and or wall sections around the door. Following rusty nails can do it to. I have an addition to a mobile they did not keep a solid pitch so the add-on is about 4" below the main roof. If ice starts damning it will go down under that roofing all the way across the roof and in to the outside wall 16' away before leaking out. We had a bay window dripping last winter because of that.

  • I will give the door a spray. But as i mentioned, i sealed all aound the door under the moding with both spray foam and valcore rubber strip. I will post back results of door spray.
    – Carl B
    Oct 24, 2012 at 13:42
  • you may be stuck pulling back the wall around the door. In my case that's easy as they used 1/8" board to cover the walls with. another method would be to seal the door off for the next storm from the outside and see if it leaks again. saealing a plastic cover to the siding about 4 " away from the door would prove whether it is the door that is the leak or another place the water is entering from. Since you have done all the right things to water proof that door/jamb I seriously doubt it is the source. all depends on the siding material and such.
    – Kendrick
    Oct 27, 2012 at 18:49

Do you have an adjustable threshold? If so, it's probably too low. Remove caps that cover adjustment screws and bring the threshold up until just after you can't pull a $1 bill through after it's closed.


I had a leak on an exterior door where driving rains would cause a leak under the door at the threshold. I replaced the U-channel shoe but water would still come in under the door during driving rains. I solved my issue by installing something called a leakstrip which adds a water tight compression seal at the bottom of the door. I got mine on ebay. Pretty easy to install. Good luck


Another option is to install a rain diverter above the door. These are extremely useful if the leak is from rain streaming down the wall above your door.

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