Q: We live in a condo with several sliding patio doors. Each door has a fixed outer sash and an inner sash that slides on an inside track. When there is a powerful storm, the wind blows a lot of rainwater from the sill outside the sliding sash into the half of the track inside the fixed sash and then onto the floor of the room.
A window expert has looked at our doors and says the vinyl seals are in place and nothing further can be done, except to tape or seal the bottoms of the sashes when a storm occurs.
This is a poor solution because it isn’t permanent and must be done before each storm.
Are you aware of any other measure we can employ to stop the water from coming in?
A: By your description, your window expert looked at the glazing and the vinyl stops holding the windows in the frame. It may be that the problem in your leaky doors lies elsewhere. And the good news is that if we are right, it’s an easy fix.
This is quite likely a weather stripping problem.
Patio doors are usually weather-stripped on the bottom, top and side that meet the jamb, and at the gap where the fixed panel and the sliding panel meet when the door is closed. The weather-stripping where the two panels meet is often a piece of rubber about 1 inch wide running the height of the door.
First, check where the two doors meet to see if this rubber strip is in good shape. Pay special attention to the bottom where the weather strip meets the sill.
The bottoms of the doors usually have a piece of weather strip near the rollers/wheels. It’s set into the bottom of the door and looks like a bristle brush.
Take the door out of the opening by lifting it up to release it from the bottom track. Turn the door on its side and take a look at the bottom to see if you have worn or missing weather stripping. Also take a look at the rollers.
Both of these parts wear out with time and use.
Weather stripping on the jamb side of the door often is the same brush-like material that is on the bottom but can be either on the door or the jamb itself.
Your local hardware store should carry the types of rollers and weather stripping you need to keep the deluge outside.
And when you have the sliding door out of the track, give the sill and channel a good cleaning. That will give your new weather stripping a much longer life.
Bill and Kevin Burnett will attempt to answer your questions although the volume of e-mail sometimes makes this impossible. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.