Water damaged doors are a frequent consequence of heavy rain and/or outdoor flooding. However, damaging water may also originate from less dramatic issues such as chronic splashing due to roof runoff or leaky gutters.
Water damaged doors don’t necessarily mean water damage inside the house. Worn weatherstripping around an exterior door may allow water to repeatedly penetrate just far enough to soak into the bottom of the door, triggering wood rot in the door and door frame.
How Deep Is the Damage?
Checking for water damaged doors can be as easy as a simple inspection. Examine the bottom corners of exterior doors, where wood rot due to water exposure usually shows up first. Then, look across the lower edge of each door for signs of deterioration.
Use a finger to push against the door at the corners and along the bottom edge for wood that feels softened. This is a giveaway of wood rot inside water damaged doors. Unfortunately, once internal rotting has begun, in most cases, the cost-effective solution is to replace the door.
A less serious sign of water damaged doors is a superficial deterioration of the outer finish that does not yet extend into the core of the door. Refinishing the damaged portion with sealant is typically enough to stop the process. Here’s a simple procedure to restore a waterproof finish and prevent water damaged doors.
- Clean the affected area of the door thoroughly with a household cleaner and allow it to dry.
- Very lightly sand the affected portion of the door with medium-grit sandpaper to take off superficial water damage without removing the coat of paint. This also makes a sealant adhere better to the surface.
- Paint the area with a thin coat of clear multi-purpose wood sealant. Observe the manufacturer’s instructions for drying time, which will usually be two to four hours.
- After it’s dry, very lightly sand the area again and apply a second coat of clear wood sealant. Leave the second coat un-sanded to form a tough seal against water.
- Install new weatherstripping around the door frame and door sill.