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How to Prevent Water Intrusion with Sliding Glass Doors

Posted by Jimmy Hawley on Feb 10, 2021 7:30:00 AM

If you’ve ever spent a summer in southwest Florida, you know a thunderstorm can pour down inches of rain in just a matter of minutes. 

Even though you never want to sacrifice the picturesque views provided by your sliding glass doors, heavy rainfall and strong winds can pose serious water intrusion problems. 

Are you reading this because you have water trapped in your sliding track? Or has leakage from the corners caused moisture damage to your hardwood floors? 

Sliding DoorHow to Prevent Water Intrusion with Sliding Glass Doors

If the damage is already done, our hope is to help you prevent further water intrusion during the next big storm. If you’re seeing mild moisture build-up now, implement the following solutions to prevent costly water damage from a poorly sealed sliding glass door.

1. Identify the Issue

Before the rain starts to fall, take a few minutes to understand the mechanics of your sliding glass door. 

Since sliding glass doors and sliding impact windows are heavy, they move along metal tracks fitted to the bottom and top of their frame. To slide the heavy doors along the metal frames, the doors use metal or plastic rollers. 

Check to see which door moves and which one is stationary. If you have a problem with water leaking, it will usually be on the bottom track threshold of the non-stationary door. Look to see where exactly the water is coming from and if you can identify the cause.

2. Troubleshoot the Fix

After gaining a general understanding of your door’s mechanics, the easiest way to prevent future leaks is to thoroughly inspect your door.

Clean Your Roller Threshold Track

Debris can build up in your sliding door track and prevent it from achieving a tight seal. If the tracks are dirty, the doors can become misaligned and water can easily seep into your home. 

That’s why it’s so important to keep your tracks free of debris and your plastic or metal rollers clean. To clean your sliding track and rollers, attach a thin crevice tool to your vacuum and suck up any major debris. After vacuuming, take a wet paper towel and wipe away any leftover dirt or muck around the wheels or trapped in corners.

Replace Your Slider’s Threshold Track

Sometimes your sliding track needs more than a clean. If it’s worn down from years of opening and closing, rusted, or broken, this could cause your door to stick or be susceptible to water intrusion.

When this happens, you must remove both your stationary and sliding doors completely and lift up the worn threshold to replace it with a brand new one. The good news is, modern thresholds often give you better temperature control too, preventing less air leakage in addition to moisture intrusion prevention.

Adjust Your Wheels/Rollers

If your sliding door’s wheels are off-balance, you may notice that your door requires more tension to slide open and close. This could also be causing jamming and leaving gaps for water to enter. 

Open your door a crack and look at the gap between the door and the frame. Is the gap at the top of your door wider or skinnier than the gap at the bottom? If so, you can easily balance it by using a handheld screwdriver to adjust the roller adjustment screw. To raise the door, turn the screws clockwise. To lower the door, turn the screws counterclockwise. You should not only notice that your door will move more smoothly along the track, but it’ll also shut more tightly. 

Other Common Issues that Cause Water Intrusion through Sliding Doors

While we touched upon a few issues with your tracks or rollers here, we wrote another blog post all about common problems with sliding glass doors to help you further troubleshoot.

Here are a few other reasons you may have moisture entering your sliding doors:

  • A bent track, which could be hammered out (if aluminum) or replaced (if plastic or un-savable metal)
  • Broken glass, which can be sealed or replaced depending on the extent of the damage
  • Worn flashing or caulking around the door, which are located both on top and on the bottom of the door
  • A poor/ no water runoff setup, which can cause an abundance of water to pool around the base or drip down your door

Check out the linked article above for tips on how to prevent or fix these types of water intrusion. 

3. Finish with Weather Stripping

How to Prevent Water Intrusion with Sliding Glass Doors - weather stripping example

Even though well-maintained sliding glass doors usually don’t have water intrusion problems, consider installing an extra precautionary layer of weather stripping to prevent the leaks caused by driving rain. 

When installing weather stripping, be sure to seal the entire door jamb with one continuous strip. After installation, verify the seal by checking to see if the material compresses when the door or window closes.

Still Experiencing Water Intrusion? We’re Here to Help!

Due to Florida hurricane codes, sliding doors must have a 1.5 - 3.5 inch water threshold dam. With such rigorous requirements, if you are still finding water intrusion after general maintenance and a weatherstripping installation, your sliding glass doors or impact windows may not be properly installed. 

If the door was installed directly on the concrete slab, water could be seeping under the doorframe. If the door is installed at the edge of the roof overhang, water could be leaking from the top of the sliding glass doors.

As you can see, there are many reasons you may be experiencing water leakage from your sliding glass door. Sometimes, the best thing to do is have your doors inspected by a professional, who can spot the problem quickly and get you the long-term fix you need for moisture prevention. While sometimes repairs are quite effective, in other instances, it might be time for a full door replacement.

If you’re struggling to manage your water intrusion problems in the southwest Florida home, contact the experts at Storm Solution for a professional in-home consultation and estimate.



Topics: Impact Doors, Sliding Glass Doors