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Heavy rains from Hurricane Henri happened overnight. In the morning, I noticed the bottom of the door moulding on the inside was wet. How do I prevent water coming in from the exterior of my front door?

Some ideas:

Replace weather stripping?
Replace door sweep?
Replace the piece under the door?
Replace any of the door?
Replace all of the door? Sand/Prime/Paint the exterior trim?
Caulk everywhere?
Install a storm door?

It is the same door featured in this question

Update: I followed the steps listed in MonkeyZeus’s answer as seen in this video. In addition I adjusted the doorknob lock-catch to bring the doors in tighter against the weatherstripping. I also replaced the door bottom because the previous was cracked, chipped, and missing chunks in places.

Result: After weathering a few inches of rain from the remnants of Hurricane Ida over Southern New Jersey, the inside was bone dry. Problem solved!

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

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  • 7
    I can see daylight through the door in the first picture, start with sealing that tight.
    – dandavis
    Aug 25 at 5:28
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    The corner seal is missing where daylight is visible. It is a vinyl covered foam wedge that should be on the lower jamb where you can see the residue of adhesive. I would add a nice full glass storm door to stop drafts and leaks.
    – Kris
    Aug 25 at 12:23
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    As addressed in Freeman’s answer Poor door fitting against weatherstripping can be difficult to remedy. Also you should be sure the bottom of door is sealing well against threshold. Some thresholds are adjustable.
    – Kris
    Aug 25 at 12:43
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    A storm door would help, but weatherstripping would be a better first step, much less expensive, and necessary either way.
    – FreeMan
    Aug 25 at 13:00
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    Looking at the first picture, I don't see any way the water came through the door. It would have to have somehow defied gravity as it crept around the corner and then somehow got behind the paint. I'd look above the door on the outside for leaks. If you have water coming in above a door, it will tend to run down the side(s) of the door frame and cause the exact kind of damage you see there.
    – JimmyJames
    Aug 25 at 21:18
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Those bottom corners are the only problematic locations, right?

Referring to Page #7 of these Jeld-Wen installation Instructions which I recently followed.

enter image description here

  1. You are missing the foam wedges
    • Go to the millwork desk of your local big box home improvement store and ask if they have any extra they could give you. I'm sure Amazon carries them as well.
  2. It looks like no sealant was used
    • Clean up the area nicely and apply some fresh silicone or OSI Quad Max and let it cure

After addressing these two issues you might find that the water issue has been solved. If not then replacing the weather-stripping is a good next step.

"How do I test for water infiltration?" you ask?

Well it's quite complicated but do you have a garden hose with a "shower" setting nearby? =)


If the weather-stripping doesn't solve the issue then look into high quality storm doors like an Anderson 3000 series storm door.

Albeit, I would suggest a storm door regardless.


Messing around with the jamb or threshold will quickly amass into a time-consuming, gigantic, and potentially expensive headache so I would consider this to be the "nuclear" option.

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    If you find it then make sure to inspect it well. There must have been a reason they removed it.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Aug 25 at 19:28
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    @MonkeyZeus, though that reason might have been as simple as "the hinges keep snagging on the furniture we're carrying out to the truck".
    – Mark
    Aug 26 at 0:13
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    Hey @MonkeyZeus here’s the fix: youtube.com/shorts/PfWrtFq8R8o?feature=share Aug 27 at 15:21
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    @FrancisJohn Hah, I love it! It's a bit surreal to see your post in video form. How did the water sealing work out for you? Did you use my highly technical water hose test? =)
    – MonkeyZeus
    Aug 27 at 15:26
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    @FrancisJohn Well you're not supposed to aim it full blast directly at your problem area in hopes of intentionally breaking your defense. Just a gentle shower on your entire door for 10-20 seconds should suffice. It's better to know you have an issue now rather than during the next rain storm!
    – MonkeyZeus
    Aug 27 at 15:34
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You'll need to look straight on at the gaps around the door (top and sides) - any place you see daylight (like the bottom left corner in the first picture) will need to have the weather stripping replaced. Usually, this means replacing the weather stripping along that entire side - to my knowledge, piecing it together along one side probably isn't the best bet. If you have to replace some (and you do), you may as well replace it all. It probably won't cost must more to get a kit for the whole door than it would for one piece.

If brand new weather strip still doesn't prevent light coming through, you'll need either thicker weather stripping (to span the larger gap), or you'll need to adjust the door in its mount to better center it (that would be a whole new question here, feel free to ask it if you need to).

If there is light coming through between the wooden trim and the frame (i.e. not through the door opening itself), then you will need to apply caulk. A good quality exterior grade caulk would be appropriate. You might get one in a matching color, or you might get a good paintable caulk and choose to do some touch-up painting. You'll probably want to recaulk around the entire opening because "touching up" caulk is difficult to do and get it looking good, especially right there at the front door where all your house guests will see it. You'll want to do all the appropriate prep work for caulking as well - you should be able to find several good questions about that here, if not, we certainly need one!

If you see light at the bottom between the door and the threshold, you might be able to adjust the threshold, but I don't think yours is an adjustable one. Instead, you'd want to replace the door sweep on the bottom. The temptation would be to go with a big, thick, beefy one thinking "this will fill that gap!" but if it's too thick, it'll fill the gap so well your front door won't close. You will probably need to take the door off the hinges to get at the sweep at the bottom, so choose a day when it's not raining, or at least, not blowing in the front door.

Once you fix the seals around the door, then it won't get into the house to attack the moldings. Fixing up the current water damage would be grounds for a search here for additional info and maybe even another question.

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Front porch?

Your front door seems pretty exposed. And your yard looks nice. You could put a front porch in front of your house. The porch would blunt the force of incoming weather. You could enclose it in screens, although just a roof would prevent a lot of direct assault by wind and rain.

It is kind of an expensive fix for a leaky front door. But when you are done you could sit on your front porch and take in the autumn.

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  • With enough rain and wind, even a well sealed door can leak some. Anything to reduce water from hitting the door will help. This would definitely help.
    – rtaft
    Aug 25 at 15:21
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    @willk this would be an awesome solution, but my bank account unfortunately disagrees! Aug 25 at 15:33
  • A few days later, still thinking about that porch… Aug 27 at 18:03
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One alternative is to replace the wood that could be exposed to water. They make 100% vinyl trim that will not wick water.

I tend to agree with Willk that water is driving up against your door, which is your root issue. If an awning is not an option, a cheaper alternative could be a rain diverter or limited gutters to help channel the water away from the door.

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I just saw the updated picture of the door from the outside and instead of continuing to add more comments, I see something of concern, related to water infiltration from above the door.

enter image description here

It's hard to tell for sure from that angle, but it sure looks like you have a big flat area above the door with no obvious drainage path. It could be a camera distortion but it even looks like it's concave towards the middle of the door. And if that angles backwards toward the building, that's an uh-oh in my book. I also see a little damage underneath the crown molding there.

If I were you, I'd get on a ladder and pour a little water where the arrow is pointed and see where it goes. If it just sits there or drains into the woodwork, you've got an issue.

The gap in the door needed to be addressed as well so I'm not contradicting the accepted answer. You just might have more than one issue here.

Addendum: Here's an example of something you could use to address this:

enter image description here

This is from here (pricey!) but you could find other more cost-effective options. Just make sure it's meant for outdoor applications and is sealed really well. Where I live, we have a lot of snow and rain to worry about so having any sort of flat surface like this that's exposed to the elements would require a waterproof membrane at the very least. I see some cracks that have been filled in there which suggests that there's been an issue at some point. The repairs might help but I would expect them to fail before long.

http://www.wholesalemillwork.com/moldings/pht500/mld734x12.jpg

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  • That damage is because of faulty paint work, seen in this question here: diy.stackexchange.com/questions/228986/… When they did that work, they installed an aluminum panel that covered any cracks there, caulked all around, and made sure it was angled forward. The rest of that paint job was shoddy, but I did inspect that aspect of it. As for the curvature, that could have been there for awhile. The house is about 11 years old, but I’ve only owned it for two and a half. Aug 27 at 17:55
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    @FrancisJohn Even if there's a slight angle, if you have driving rain against the house, you could still have issues there. I would expect to see a piece of metal that curves up and attaches to the vertical surface.
    – JimmyJames
    Aug 27 at 18:03
  • I just took a picture and edited the OP. It doesn’t look like water can find it’s way through, but it definitely looks like I can do a much better job up there. To be fixed next week! Aug 27 at 18:39
  • @FrancisJohn That looks pretty rough to me. I updated the answer a bit.
    – JimmyJames
    Aug 27 at 19:28
  • when I moved in there was standing by water up there, but no leaks. I’ll have to address this for sure. Aug 27 at 19:39

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