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Ext. door panels8/11
We are going through an upscale development and replacing wood door panels that have cracked and shrunk from the sun and weather. Routing out the sticking, remove bad panel and dropping in a new one, then add stop that matches original sticking. Discussion about using wood panels for exterior aside (wealthy people who want their rustic wood doors) the superintendent is asking us to caulk around the panels before stopping. My concern is would silicone or caulk allow sufficient panel movement? Would it give and stretch or would it restrict the movement like glue would? Thoughts please.
Silicone will remain flexible but probably won't adhere very well. Plus there is the issue of silicone and finishing.....a bad combination.
Some caulks will remain rubberized but you'll have to research which one to use. Years ago Polyseamseal was great for this but then the company was sold and the caulk was never the same.
Your primary problem area is the bottom sticking where water can flow down the panel and in behind the moulding. Instead of caulk why not try and come up with a small horizontal flashing that slips into a fine groove cut in the panel and then just wraps over the top of the stop. I've used this method to flash things like mouldings over windows when the sheathing is the siding (T-111 for example).
Panel doors in high exposure areas are never good, but we all end up doing them. There is not a good answer to this question. We just built a large mahogany door window unit with panels in the bottom for a south facing exposure, 10,000 foot elevation and no roof overhang. The unit it replaced had only been in a few years and was totally trashed. Time will tell if we do any better. I usually go back and look things over every 3 to 5 years for a maintenance coat if needed. This one is on the 1 year plan.
In Europe door panels on exposed doors are installed like glass. Blocked with room for expansion and caulked in. We build a lot of doors with glass in the top and panels at the bottom and we do them the same way. This works pretty well till you get to large panels. The Euro system has the advantage water channels in the rails and weep slots to drain water out.
I have seen failure on doors shipped in from Europe with panels cupping and busting loose of the stop, cracking and leaking. We both have the advantage of working the local market and knowing weather and humidity conditions and hopefully this will make the panels last longer.
Here is how we set these type panels. Fully finish the panels, set in a bed of silicone, (your existing doors probably do not have the caulking notch like the drawing shows but that makes it better), block it in like glass only with room for expansion. Another place water gets in is through the stile and rail cope joint. This should be caulked - see pictures. Most door and window finishes have acrylic. Silicone with acrylic is compatible with these finishes and can even be applied between coats.
Double panels are usually better for cracking but not sure how that works in your moist climate. Single well finished one piece might be better.
The best test is to do one door and hit it with a hose. This will show any problems in a hurry.
Hope this helps,
Bernie mentioned a flashing. Here is a similar idea. We use these edge protecters on windows to save the finish on bottom rails. You get a double caulk joint with this. Might not look good on a nice entry door though.
We have to do this sometimes on our doors where the 'South facing' and 'overhang' parts of the warranty are ignored.
We route the sticking out on the inside surface and replace the panel by bedding it in latex silicone like we would glass. Then a good solid infill of sealant around the perimeter of the panel, filling the expansion gap, then the interior stops go on. I like to see squeeze out on the exterior, especially at the lower panel/rail joint. We have tried some urethane sealant, but this takes a week or more to set up/clean up, but is supposed to be more flexible over time.
90% of what we do is Honduras Mahogany, so panels above 14" are the only ones where we see any movement, and then it is minor.
We also seal the end grain of the panels with epoxy to limit water absorption. We won't warranty those 30" wide panels, unless we make what we call a "stable panel." Narrow panels are better for reducing movement issues.
A stable panel has a man made core, thick veneers two sides, and a rim of solid wood for the raised profile. These are more costly to make of course, but can be glued in place if you like.
Some of this will be hard to explain without visual aids but I'll give it a go. First, BH why would you say silicone wouldn't adhere well? I've found it sticks to most porous and some non-porous things fairly well. We are going to prefinish panels and mouldings so finish won't be an issue. I wasn't very clear but the silicone would be used around the panel BEFORE sticking is applied so it is completely hidden and covered.
All I can say on the silicone adhesion issue is that my first hand experience is that it adheres poorly to most any surface. After curing I've found it can usually be pulled off. Don't misunderstand......I still keep it around and use it sometimes.
It's interesting that your experience is somewhat opposite of mine.
I am aware that there are now silicone products referred to as "paintable" as mentioned above. I don't believe that I've ever used them though.
Since you are committed to this now I would rout a caulk notch into the stop before you apply it. Attached is a drawing showing a couple methods for this. Sometimes they slope the inside sash at the bottom but this would be difficult to do on a retrofit. In Europe they have developed a metal piece to replace the bottom stop to counter the rotting problem.
The original post was made by another Joe Doherty not the Joe Doherty in New Orleans that you call Big Joe.
Big Joe in New Orleans
I should have had a clue with the omission of your trademark signature.
That's kind of funny, I was wondering why Mr. Calhoon was addressing me as if we've dialogued before!
Good luck with your panels!!
Just another Joe
I'm in the PNW , N Idaho.
We have used LifeCaulk. It is also sold as 3M 101. They are both polysulfide adhesive/sealants. They remain flexible, sandable, and paintable with no contamination issues.
They are the marine grade product that can be taken apart as opposed to 3M 5200 polyurethane.
I agree with BH on the Polyseamseal problems.