Rot-Proof Your Patio Doors: Three Simple Things You Can Do To Protect Your Home From Damage

Patio doors provide easy access to back yards, decks and porches. However, a patio door can be weak point in your home's defense against one of nature's more "sneaky" foes: wood rot. That is why it is important that you properly prepare your doors and surrounding areas to keep wood rot from destroying your dream home. Fortunately, prevention is not difficult; here are three things you can do to prevent wood rot.

Caulk your door

Though it may be difficult to tell by looking, your patio door is installed on a base of wood. Persistent moisture will create the right conditions for wood rot; therefore, it is vital that you prevent moisture from penetrating the gap between the door and base. The simplest way to keep water out is caulking the bottom of the door threshold. You should choose a clear silicone caulk; it dries quickly, and it also is resistant to both hot and cold weather.

To prepare for caulking, remove any existing caulk with a putty knife. Clean the areas on both sides of the sill thoroughly using warm water, and allow them to dry completely. Use your caulk gun to lay a one-quarter inch bead down the sides of the sill. Run your finger along the bead of caulk to gently push the it into the joint between sill and floor. Wipe away any excess caulk with a dry cloth. Be careful not to step on the sill for at least 12 hours to avoid dislodging the caulk.

Be sure to apply according to the type of door you have. Click here for info on French patio doors and caulking.

Spray an antifungal solution

Since wood rot is caused by fungi, you can slow down the growth of this wood-decaying microorganism by treating your wood with a topical antifungal solution. Antifungal solutions are commercially available, but you can easily and inexpensively make your own with automobile antifreeze and borax. Both of these chemicals are easily found at retail stores.

To make the solution, heat one gallon of glycol-based antifreeze in a large pot, and slowly stir in three pounds of borax until it dissolves. Heat the solution until it reaches a temperature of 260 degrees Fahrenheit; you can use a candy thermometer to check the temperature. Remove the pot from the heat, then allow the solution to cool. Store the solution in a tightly-sealed container until you are ready to use it.

The easiest way to apply the antifungal solution is to use a garden pump sprayer. Liberally apply it to the areas around your door frame with most coverage going to the sill area. If you have a wooden deck that abuts your house, be sure to spray it into the crevices where the two are connected. Wood rot is a silent, insidious threat that can spread between wood components, and a moist deck can ultimately ruin the wood around your patio door.

Install gutters

A common source of water that brings destruction to your patio door threshold, and the rest of your home, if left unchecked, is the runoff from your roof. Splashing water from rain and melting snow will bathe your doorway, and it won't be long before the dampness has settled into the wood beneath. Therefore, you need to keep water flow away from your door sill during rain and other precipitation events.

The best way to prevent water intrusion is to divert it by using gutters and appropriately placed downspouts. Even if you don't have a full house gutter system in place, you can still install a gutter on the roof eaves above your door and use a downspout for diversion. Be sure to aim the downspout flow of water away from your doorway; attach a hose extension to the end of the downspout, if necessary, to keep the splashing to a bare minimum.