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Wooden Front Door

Wooden Front Door

August 11, 2014

If you currently own or have decided to install a wooden front door, congratulations on your choice! Wooden doors are often prized for their warmth, sturdiness, and myriad of design options. However, as you are probably aware, while this type of door gives a charming, traditional touch to your home, they do require a bit of maintenance to preserve their beauty over the years. More noticeable issues, such as warping, are no longer common because most wooden doors are currently made of a mixture of materials instead of a solid wood plank.

Regarding the most decorative aspects of the door, polishing it is a great way to improve wooden doors and it can be done when you notice the finish is looking dull. You can do this by first removing dirt from the door with an special cleaner (the one that is used for hardwood floors could work, for example) and then applying high-quality polish for furniture with a rag – you’ll notice the difference as soon as it dries. It’s also important to pay attention to the status of the finish due to its protective function. If, for example, the wood grain is raised and the door has a dry, rough texture, it is a sign that the finish must be restored; the same goes for visible cracks in said finish.

Another personal choice of each homeowner is whether to paint the door or to leave the wood with a clear coat of glaze; if yours is or will be painted, it is recommended that you choose a color that doesn’t fade easily (due to their physical properties, light colors tend to last more than dark colors, which absorb slightly more heat) and, if possible, try to find paint with UV protection if the door receives direct sunlight. You will also need to check every once in a while for peeling or fading paint, in which case the best course of action would be to repaint it, by first applying a good-quality exterior primer on all its sides and then recoating the door with exterior-grade paint. Keep in mind, though, that it isn’t recommendable to repaint too often; usually, a few years between each transition is more gentle on the door.

Environmental factors, such as moisture, dust, or an excessive exposure to sun can be harmful to the finish of wood doors, which is what protects the actual wood from damage. Luckily, these problems can be prevented or fixed early (as long as the door receives a small inspection at least once a year). It’s important to take into account, however, that those doors which are not protected by a porch, or at least a small overhang, will weather more quickly than their counterparts, therefore needing more frequent inspections.

In the case of rain, snow and moisture, these can cause swelling and shrinking of the wood, fading of the sealant, and even rotting (if left unchecked). Dark streaks that crawl up from the bottom of the door are a sign that moisture is being excessively absorbed by the wood, which requires professional repair, while a white glaze in the finish is another indication that moisture is affecting the door; in the case of sunlight, it can also make the sealant fade away. Of course, the best way to prevent this is to protect the door itself from the elements as much as possible, and to use a high-quality sealant every year or year and a half (you may want to request advice from your door manufacturer on this).

If your wooden door happens to require extensive repair, it’s advisable to remove the door from its frames, set apart the knobs, hinges and locksets in a safe place, and locate the door across a supporting structure so that all the six sides of the door can be easily worked on. These should be cleaned thoroughly and then stripped of the old finish with finish stripper, after which the door should be carefully sanded using a sandpaper of at least 120 grit. Softly wipe away the sawdust with a damp cloth and allow it to dry completely; then, to remove any remains of sealant, wipe the door with paint thinner. Afterwards, apply a medium layer of sealant, and allow 24 hours to pass before applying the second one. Hiring a specialist do this is also a valid option.

If this sounds like a lot of work, don’t fret; while there are many details to keep in check when you own a wooden door, those that are made to high-quality standards have lasting elements that won’t require continuous, regular maintenance, meaning that more than often a yearly check-up will suffice. In exchange, you will have a welcoming, ageless focal point for the entrance of your house.

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