If you’ve ever visited Chicago, you know how quickly a rainstorm can dump inches of rain in a couple of minutes.
Even if you never want to give up the beautiful vistas your sliding glass doors afford, heavy rain and high winds can cause major water intrusion issues.
Do you need to read this because water has gotten stuck in your slide track? Or has moisture damage to your hardwood flooring been caused by seeping from the corners?
If the damage has already been done, we hope to be able to assist you in preventing additional water incursion during the next major storm. If you’re experiencing mild moisture build-up now, take the steps below to avoid costly water damage caused by a poorly sealed sliding glass door.
Determine the problem
Take a few minutes before the rain starts to pour to learn how your sliding glass door works.
Because sliding glass doors and impact windows are heavy, they are moved along metal tracks that are attached to the bottom and top of the frame. Metal or plastic rollers are used to slide the hefty doors along the metal frames.
Check to see which door is moving and which is not. If you have a water leak, it will most likely be on the non-stationary door’s bottom track threshold. Look to see where the water is coming from and if you can figure out what’s causing it.
Investigate the Fix
The simplest strategy to prevent future leaks is to thoroughly inspect your door after acquiring a general understanding of its functioning.
Clean Your Threshold Roller Track
Debris might accumulate in your sliding door track, preventing it from sealing properly. The doors might become misaligned, and water can readily enter your home if the tracks are unclean.
That’s why it’s critical to keep your tracks and plastic or metal rollers free of trash. Attach a narrow crevice tool to your vacuum and suck up any large debris to clean your sliding track and rollers. After vacuuming, wipe away any remaining debris or muck around the wheels or trapped in corners with a moist paper towel.
The Threshold Track on Your Slider Should Be Replaced
Cleaning your slide track isn’t always enough. It could cause your door to stick or be vulnerable to water penetration if it’s worn down from years of opening and closing, rusty, or broken.
When this happens, you’ll need to totally remove both your stationary and sliding doors, as well as the worn threshold, and replace it with a new one. The good news is that, in addition to avoiding moisture entry, newer thresholds frequently provide superior temperature control.
Your Wheels/Rollers Should Be Adjusted
If the wheels on your sliding door are out of balance, you may find that it takes more effort to open and close the door. It’s also possible that this is causing jamming and allowing water to get in.
Examine the gap between the door and the frame by opening the door a crack. Is the space between the top and bottom of your door bigger or narrower? If this is the case, you may easily balance it by adjusting the roller adjustment screw using a portable screwdriver. Turn the screws clockwise to raise the door. Turn the screws counterclockwise to lower the door. Your door should not only glide more smoothly along the track, but it should also close more tightly.
Water Infiltration Through Sliding Doors Caused by Other Issues
While we discussed a few difficulties with your tracks or rollers here, we also created a blog post about typical sliding glass door problems to help you troubleshoot further.
There are a few other reasons why moisture may be leaking into your sliding doors:
- A bent track that can be pounded out (if made of aluminum) or replaced (if plastic or un-savable metal).
- Worn flashing or caulking around the door, which can be found on both the top and bottom of the door and can be sealed or replaced depending on the amount of the damage.
- Inadequate/no water discharge, which can result in a lot of water pooling around the base or dripping down your door.
For more on how to avoid or repair certain types of water infiltration, see the article linked above.
Apply Weather Stripping to complete the project.
Even though well-maintained sliding glass doors rarely experience water infiltration issues, consider adding an extra layer of weather stripping to avoid leaks caused by heavy rain.
When applying weather stripping, make sure to use one continuous strip to seal the whole door jamb. Check the seal after installation to see if the material contracts when the door or window closes.