All makes sense. Thanks a lot.
Assuming the answer was something like what you said, I had thought
about using some kind of 1/16" strips as shims. Running lengthwise
under the sill. This would limit the gap the for the caulk has to
fill to 1/16th inch.
Having not done this before, what's the chance I can remove (without
damage), seal and replace the existing doors? As I look at them, it
looks like they will have to come out as an entire unit. That is I
can't just remove the sill and vertical/jam pieces.
In the living room I want to replace the door with a better looking
one, but I'd like to just stop the other 3 from leaking.
On Sun, 07 Aug 2005 15:31:39 GMT, Robert Allison
I do that all the time. Removing the door is fairly easy.
Just reverse the installation process. One thing that you may
run into is that often, expanding foam insulation will have
been used on the sides and top of the door. This glues the
door into place and you have to cut the foam to release the
door. It is easy to cut with a sawzall blade and, in
addition, will help you to find any screws or nails that you
When the sides and top are loose, you may find that the sill
is glued to the concrete and if you just try to pull it up, it
will bend and become junk. Be careful at this point to cut or
pry gently under the sill until it comes loose. This is where
the sawzall will come in handy again. If you can get a long
blade under the sill, you can cut the adhesive loose and the
door will rotate out of the opening (make sure you have
someone holding the door).
Clean all the old foam, caulk, or adhesive off of the floor
and the door, then reinstall correctly.
I have done four of these exact jobs in a day with just a helper.
The FHB article was cover story in issue No 169 (March '05)--it was the
picture on the cover that is the reason I recalled it.
The author there says in a paragraph subtitled "A level sill is
"For a subsill that's more than 1/2 in. out of level, cut two continuous
wedges (one placed toward the inside and the other placed toward the
outside) running the length of the opening. If the subsill is less than
1/2 in. out of level, use opposing wedge-shaped shims, bedded in
polyurethane caulk, every 10 to 12 in. to provide continuous support for
A couple of weeks ago when I posted my original message, the consensus
was that the installers had failed to seal the bottom of my sliding
doors and it was not necessary to notch the floor. That removing the
door and liberally caulking under them to seal between the sill and
the concrete would solve the problem. I have now found a cutaway view
of my doors --
As you can see there are channels on the bottom of the sill plate
(threshold?). This design doesn't look like it was intended to use a
bead of caulk under it to seal it to the slab.
Oh yes it is! Like I said before, you should place a bead of
stiff adhesive sealant (not caulk) under this threshold. You
can make sure that you hit the area you want the sealant to
seal by measuring and snapping a line. Your sealant should
stand up at least 3/8 to 1/2" and will seal against the bottom
of the metal. You can also put a bead of sealant on the
widest rib on the bottom of the door just before you stand it
up into the opening. Then, to be sure, put more sealant on
the outer lip of the threshold and seal it to the concrete
floor after the door is installed.
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