I have a 240 square foot tiny home that I've been living in for over a year now. I'm super happy with my home accept for the doors. French doors from jacks new and used were installed on my tiny home and they don't keep out the weather. Its parked facing south east and gets hit with rain and wind in the winter. I'm looking to replace my doors and I want to know the best weather resistant door that I could go with. Details on how it could be installed properly would be appreciated. Any options or advice you could give me will be much appreciated.
Could it be that your flashing is not installed right, or the weather stripping? Or that you need an improvement or upgrade of how they were installed. Making sure that right at the bottom sill the water can run away instead of pool can make a big difference, as well as appropriate weather stripping.
Another thing that is quick and easy (I did this in college when I had the bed next to the huge single pane plate glass window and -40f would draft all that cold air right onto me) is to use those film insulation kits. You still get most of the light and the change in cold air drafting is enormous. Roomie didn't want me to cover whole window so I set it up for bottom two feet to make a small pocket to catch the cold air as it dropped along the window and hold it-my daybed back hid it-and it made a WORLD of difference in sleeping next to the window.
Another thing to try is making 'warm window' type curtains that fit tightly, maybe even with magnetic strips to attach as airtight to the door frame. At night or seriously storming, just put the cover over the inner door side.
Outside might take a windbreak rigged to deflect a lot of the cold winter winds. It will make a big improvement in how warm your place feels. Or plant some fast growing dense bushy conifers to give that windbreak...
If the doors are single pane glass, upgrading to doublepane, will make a difference.
If you're not on too tight a budget, go to Lowe's or Home Depot. They can custom make you any door in any size. They'll tell/show you how to install and weather proof. A "porch" roof or awning over the door will help with rain.
P.S. I have learned over many years of building lots of buildings, that there are certain things that are better bought new. I used to strip water lines and electrical wire out of abandoned houses. That was a very false economy, and really dangerous to use again. Water leaks and electrical fires are not optimal. 40 years ago I put used windows and doors in my house. We burned a lot of extra wood keeping the house warm. I finally replaced all with new. Incredible difference. Less wood, more warmth, less drafts. If you can replace your door with new, it will make a big difference.
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I think Deb is on the right track — it seems like you don't have weather stripping properly installed, or have a bit too much reveal around the jamb. Water should never come in through a door, and a properly weather-stripped door shouldn't even let in a breeze. I can also attest to the film kits, we have a giant glass front door here that sucks out all the warmth in the winter. We put on one of those film kits and hung a curtain over the glass and it sure felt like 10x or more of a difference in keeping the heat in.
That being said french doors are always going to let a ton of heat out, especially in a smaller space. If you're looking at replacing them, you might consider dropping down to a single door and buying a pre-hung door from the hardware store. The pre-hung doors already have a pre-fitted jamb and weather stripping built in. They are very easy to install, even if you don't have much experience with them.
I was thinking the same things as Kyle and Deb. The French door is generally a fair weather type of item, in my opinion, and not very practical; they are best kept for summer patio entrances and going between kitchens and solariums, et cetera.
You are way better off getting a regular sized door, and framing in a small wall to fill the gap.
Since it's south, you might want to get an insulated exterior door with a window (double paned) in it, and put a window in your wall.
Not a huge project, but one that will require some thinking and doing for sure. If you are unsure about doing that sort of work, it's a relatively small and quick project for an experienced builder to do, if contracted out- like a few hours, after assessment and getting the materials.
Apart from that, getting better seals in place might help a bit. Though French doors are much harder to get a good long lasting seal every time you close it unless they are very high quality.
I would definitely go with a regular sized house door, especially in a tiny house that you want to keep warm. The ratio of space to loose heat from in a tiny house, in relation to the gaps that could exist in a French door, make the French door a poor match.
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