Door leaking from the top?

I need the collective brain…

Our front door is leaking…from the top. That is, we have a drip (or rivulet the past few days) of water that forms at the top center of the door and runs down into the house. It seems to form at the top of the wood frame inside the door and then drop onto the door itself and eventually either down the front of the door or the back of the door (inside).

We’ve consulted one handyman, and his diagnosis is that it’s because we don’t have an overhang above our front door (not a full awning, just a small overhang). As such the wood above our door has gotten wet for a long time (i.e., years) and is beginning to rot…and with as much rain as we’ve gotten the past few days, it’s acting like a sponge. My concern with this diagnosis is that…well, it’s not like we took the overhang off. There never was one. Why would any builder build a home without an overhang if this is the result? Wouldn’t everyone in our sub be having the same problem?

So…for the collective brain:

1) Does your front door have an overhang?
2) Have you ever heard of this problem?
3) What do you think the cause is?

3 thoughts on “Door leaking from the top?”

  1. Not that we’ve managed water issues well in our own place, but….here’s what I’ve learned from watching This Old House for years. [Just ’cause I know what to do doesn’t mean I can do it.]

    (1) Ask the neighbors, randomly. Some of them might have had the same issue. Builders tend to do things in stages and the same person does the same job in 20 houses. One short-cutter and everyone’s got a leaky door. Someone whose had the same problem might have the “quick answer” for you. Most folks don’t mind that sort of “do you have this problem” question.
    (2) Do you have a drip-strip above the door on the roof? If so, water should not be getting to the door jamb. If it is, first be sure drip-strip hasn’t come loose. Age/time/wind can lift them and if the screws/nails holding them down leak….well, water will find the ground via the easiest route.
    (3) Check the weather seal around the outer-most part of the door. Opening/closing the door brings wear/tear to that weather stripping. Cold weather esp’ly works it hard. It might simply need to be replaced.
    (4) Check the window ABOVE the door — yeah, that high one. It might have a leak that’s penetrated the wallboard over time. Window seals can come loose over time because of temp. changes.
    (5) If none of the above (obvious, homeowner-can-do things are the problem) then it’s time to ask This Old House (grin) to visit (send them an email — you might get picked) or call in a roofer to check the shingles/base just above the door.

  2. I think that it may be the drip strip that we are missing. I checked a couple of neighbors houses and one has one and another kind of has one and we did not.

  3. 1. Yup, we have an overhang. The door is covered by the porch roof.

    2. I have heard of similar problems. In fact, we had an issues like this with our gutters. Water runs off of the roof and, rather than flowing right into the gutters, some of it dribbles down onto the wood. Because of the aforementioned trees, the wood stays wet for a while and tends to rot. The chimney also got really, really rotten. We ended up having to add some flashing to deflect water away from it. Keep in mind, I am in Florida, the wood rot capital of the world. Everything rots, no matter what we do.

    3. I have no idea what the actual cause may be. Sometimes, independent of anything you do, stuff just rots. I feel like people around here just like to make up causes for the wood rot so they can charge us for something in addition to the repair. For example, the dude says the gutters rotted the fascia board. Now he wants to sell us gutter accessories or a new gutter. I think the thing was just going to rot and nothing we do will change the useful service life of those boards. Beware the illusory correlation!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *