Tips for Preventing Water from Entering Sliding Glass Doors
Aug 18, 2021
Disclaimer: Panda Windows & Doors offers products that are designed to be weather resistant in exterior applications when installed and adjusted properly, however, because of certain conditions and applications over which we have no control, including but not limited to frame assembly and field adjustment, we do not warrant that our products are impervious to water or water intrusion and air infiltration.
Sliding glass doors are a beautiful addition to any property, but they can raise some practical concerns for owners. With expenses from flooding damage totaling more than $17 billion annually and rising, building owners are looking for ways to help reduce the risks of flood waters from gaining access into their properties through their patio doors in the first place.
Protect Your Investment from Costly Water Damage
While it is impossible to promise complete flood damage protection from water intrusion, with the right building design and materials, patio door selection, installation, and proper care and maintenance some of the potential risks and damage from flooding can be mitigated.
If you’re wondering how to help protect your property from the risks of water damage, mold, and general headaches caused by flooding – we’ll take a look at what you can do to let the light in while keeping the water out.
Are Sliding Glass Doors Water-Resistant?
Property owners in flood-prone locations might dismiss sliding glass doors outright. They may think that the glass or frame won’t be able to hold up to the pressures of water infiltration.
While no product can claim to be completely impervious to water intrusion, water infiltration can be mitigated by properly installing a sliding door that is designed with weather-resistant properties. In both testing and real-world use cases, properly installed Panda Lift and Slide doors have proven to remain weather resistant in some of the harshest environments.
Let’s take a closer look at how properly installed weather-resistant sliding glass doors can help offer flood protection properties.
Panda Lift & Slide Doors Can Help Protect Your Investment
Panda Lift & Slide Doors can be relied on to perform as designed and help protect the building (and the owner’s interior finishes and possessions) during an actual flooding event with driving rainfall.
The lesson here is that glass doors don’t have to endanger your home or office. When you choose the right products and expert professional installers, you will be well on your way to combatting terrestrial high tides from floods.
Why Do So Many Sliding Doors Leak?
The most common answer to this question is that somewhere along the way corners were cut in the name of expediency or cutting costs.
The Right Door, Correctly Installed Can Help Prevent Flood Water Intrusion
In some instances of water intrusion, you’ll find the installation itself wasn’t done properly. If the opening isn’t properly prepared or the caulking isn’t airtight, flood water will be able to find a way in. For this very reason, we always recommend a professional sliding glass door installer.
Unfortunately, even expert caulking won’t be a permanent solution in most cases. More often than not, the wrong door and/or track was simply chosen for the climate. Areas that are flood-prone require products that are uniquely designed to withstand the elements.
Which Sliding Glass Door is Best for Flood Prone Areas?
Panda Windows & Doors Lift & Slide glass door systems are the perfect choice when demand for optimal weather resistance and maximized security is crucial.
How to Create a Water-Resistant Seal at Your Sliding Glass Door
Panda’s Lift & Slide glass door includes a proprietary system of levers and wheels that allows individual panels to drop securely into the bottom track and double v-gaskets located at the top, bottom, and sides of the sleek glass panels create an airtight and watertight seal that is remarkably weather-proof against flooding and maximally secure.
The Panda Lift & Slide in Action
Let’s take a look at the Lift & Slide Glass door system in operation with a fully pocketed installation.
As you can see, opening the Lift and Slide begins with a simple rotation of the handle, which lifts the entire door, releasing the sealed gaskets and ensuring smooth operation.
When closing, rotating the handle back to the closed position drops the door panel to the bottom track and engages the gaskets for a weathertight seal.
This proprietary system fits perfectly with the bottom track and panels of the doors, forming an elegant glass wall that property owners can count on a flood or driving rain.
When The View Matters
While entirely optional, this illustration also demonstrates the advantage of pocketing the door panels away for a 100% clear opening. The result is a seamless transition to the open outdoor space beyond.
Having a weather-resistant choice offers building owners options when building in flood-prone areas. There is no need to sacrifice the view when elegant glass walls can also offer durable weather resistance.
The Right Patio Doors Can Help but Building Construction Matters Too
At Panda, we always recommend that a professional waterproofing consultant be used to properly integrate our product into the weather barrier of the wall structure. While it is an extra step, in areas with flood damage risks, it is an important process that can help lend added protection.
Some construction components such as handicap sills or structures not allowing for proper management or drainage of moisture, for example, synthetic stucco without engineered drainage systems, can actually increase a building’s risk for flood damage.
Raising the building elevation, adding sills, sealants, and waterproof veneers, and even constructing permanent barriers and adding sump pumps may all be necessary steps to help further protect a building from floods. Designing flood resilience into a building is a complex task that requires engaging a building professional with regional experience.
How Building Construction Can Affect a Sliding Door Warranty
Before installation, it is important to understand the details and restrictions of each product warranty.
Although Panda systems are designed to be weather resistant, water or water intrusion or air infiltration can be caused by factors other than a manufacturing defect. Some examples include the design of an inappropriate flashing system, failure to provide an adequate overhang and to prevent the effects of sheeting water from above, or doors with ADA compliant, guide channel or zero-step sills, inswing, zero post corner, and curved systems.
Further examples include installation in a structure that does not allow for proper drainage of moisture, exposure to weather conditions beyond testing performed, removal of seals, and product installed in high moister environments or in structures that fail to allow for the proper management of drainage or moisture.
How to Deter Water Intrusion at Sliding Glass Doors
As we’ve seen, preventing water intrusion at your patio door starts with having the right sliding glass door for the job, along with an expert installer. But limiting the amount of water your door is exposed to can also help.
This is why drainage is so important. In addition to a proper fit and installation, incorporating a track that offers drainage properties can help add an extra layer of protection.
Forced water from strong or even moderate winds can also increase the odds of intrusion. If water does encroach on the home though, it will usually only reach the doors if the drainage mechanisms have failed.
For this reason, we encourage building owners in areas at-risk to flood damage to protect their investments with Lift & Slide door system technology along with recessed drainage tracks.
How Can I Get a Better Drainage System to Improve Flood Resilience?
The best thing to do is talk to a verified expert. At Panda, we’ve seen firsthand how major flooding events have only increased, even in locations that have never experienced that kind of flooding risk before.
We’ve relied on this experience to design our proprietary weather-resistant systems. Engineered with flood protection details in mind and made in the USA, they’re an excellent choice for anyone who wants to take steps to help safeguard their investment from flooding damage.
In the above diagram we can see what is going on under the floor, where the optional recessed drainage track provides an added line of defense. Drain channels and drain tubes carry water away and prevent pooling of water near the sliding glass door.
This added recessed detail not only looks great once the floor is finished, it is also a critical detail that helps prevent water from pooling and causing flood damage.
Impact-Rated Sliding Glass Doors for Hurricanes
In hurricane-prone areas, weather resistance alone isn’t enough as sliding glass doors must be designed to resist everything a hurricane can hurl at your home or business. To be effective, your impact-rated sliding glass doors should be engineered to withstand impact from large debris, tropical storms, high winds, driving rain, and even Category 5 hurricanes.
Ideally, these would be oversized panels that provide the stability and strength needed to endure the elements that are present during a hurricane without sacrificing the natural views that hurricane-prone areas are known for.
Potential Insurance Savings
Panda Windows & Doors Lift & Slide Doors may even reduce homeowner’s insurance premiums. Because many insurance providers recognize that weather-resistant improvements could help protect your home or business, they may even offer a discount.
Weather Resistant Glass Door Systems for Every Residential and Commercial Application
From ADA compliant, recessed, to barefoot-friendly styles, learn which tracks are available with each Lift & Slide door system by exploring the individual product pages below.
LIFT & SLIDE DOOR SYSTEMS
EXTREME WEATHER (Thermally Broken)
HURRICANE RATED (Impact)
WOOD (Solid & Clad)
Water Resistant Sliding Doors in Nearly any Style and Profile
Today’s technology makes it possible to install water-resistant doors in nearly any design. Whether you want wide frames or thin profiles, powder-coated aluminum in a custom color, or wood-clad doors.
The Panda Lift & Slide shown above was engineered with a 90-Degree zero corner post, creating a dramatic opening for the home that won’t let water indoors when closed.
The panels are enhanced with a dark bronze powder-coat finish, one of many options available, and installed with energy-efficient clear Low-E glass. Low-E glass has become a popular option for any homeowner who wants to cut back on utility bills while protecting the planet.
The recessed drainage track shown is not only an additional layer of security, it’s also barefoot-friendly. Guests won’t have to watch their step going in and out, which is a valuable feature when hosting outdoor parties.
In this example, the Lift and Slide system also protects the home from the elements when enclosed, including moisture, excess heat from the sun, vandalism, and forced entry.
Maintaining Your Sliding Door Tracks for Optimal Weather Resistance
As we know, even the most minimal sliding door tracks can eventually gather debris such as dust and leaves. This can prevent your sliding door from achieving a tight seal.
For this reason, we encourage our customers to perform regular cleaning and maintenance of their sliding doors, tracks, and rollers. A quick vacuum and wipe with a cloth is often all that’s needed, however, you’ll also want to perform a semi-regular inspection of the flashing and caulking around the door, resealing as needed.
This high level of maintenance should also extend to the building. Seals, waterproofing, land berms, pumps, and all manner of mitigation efforts should be inspected and serviced regularly. The last thing you want is to have these flood protection features in less than ideal conditions when the waters begin to rise.
Protecting What’s Important to You
Protecting a building from flooding is about more than just the cost of damages. Keeping water at bay can mean the difference between a family having to relocate from their home, a retail business having to close for repairs, or irreplaceable mementos, photos, and one-of-a-kind items being lost forever.
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