Door Handling & Storage
All doors should be handled with clean gloves and equipment as dirt and oil can penetrate the wood and leave stains. When moving doors, carry them. Do not drag doors.
When storing doors on the job site, seal all surfaces including ends and edges with an oil-base sealer in order to prevent undue moisture absorption.
Doors should always be stored in a cool, dry and well-ventilated space. Do not store doors where they will be exposed to the elements or rapid changes in temperature or humidity.
All doors should be stored on a flat, level surface. Doors should be stacked with 2x4s at the top, bottom and center to avoid sagging.
If a door must be leaned against a wall, do not lean at an angle as this may cause the door to warp/bend.
Finishing A Door
Finishing a door not only highlights the natural grain of a door, it also prevents the wood from warping due to moisture absorption. A sealed coating protects exterior doors from moisture and sun exposure. Seal unfinished wood doors as soon as possible, preferably within 24 hours.
Prior to finishing, clean the door thoroughly. Remove dust, marks and labels. Doors must be dry before applying finish. Avoid finishing a door after a rain, in damp weather, or in high humidity.
To effectively seal a door, finish all 6 sides, include front & back, bottom & upper rails, behind hinges, top and bottom (under door shoe) as wells all cut surfaces with at least three coats of high quality Polyurethane. Do not finish exterior doors with a water-base top coat, lacquer, or a white wash.
Water based finishes are generally ineffective at excluding moisture. Water based sealers or primers should not be used.
For more information on finishing please visit our Finishing Guide.
Overhangs and Sun Exposure
An overhang is a protruding structure that acts as an extension of the roof. It protects your entryway from precipitation and minimizes the amount of sun exposure and damage. All exterior doors should be installed under an overhang projected out to the front & each side with sufficient protection. A door’s finish will have a longer life and will require less maintenance if it is not exposed regularly to direct sunlight. An overhang is necessary for wood doors and is recommended for fiberglass doors.
An overhang should provide enough coverage to accommodate the door both when it’s open and closed. The depth of the overhang should be half of the height of the measurement from the bottom of the door to the start of the overhang. For example: if the overhang is positioned 12 feet from the base of the doorframe, it should extend six feet.
Doors that are not protected by overhangs can suffer from performance and quality issues such as: execrated finish deterioration, wood splitting and warping, color fading, joint separation and water penetration. Over time, this can mean the need for extensive door repair, refinishing, or replacement.
If a door must be in an exposed location and an adequate overhang is not feasible consider a fiberglass door.
Other items to consider for protection from the elements are:
- Door Color - Darker color doors absorb more light and heat than lighter color doors. A darker color door may cause door’s finish to wear out prematurely.
- Door Position - The positioning of a door can greatly impact its risk for sun damage. Doors with a southern or western exposure are more susceptible to sun exposure. When a door faces south, it’s exposed to the sun from morning until night, while doors facing west are exposed during the hottest part of the day, when the sun’s rays can do the most damage.
- Climate conditions and humidity - A door installed in a wet coastal climate is susceptible to moisture and rot. Molded with joint-less, solid, non-porous surfaces, fiberglass doors are the practical choice for protection from precipitation and humidity.
Inspecting Doors for Damage
It is recommended that you refinish your exterior doors with a high quality stain or paint every one or two years to protect the wood from sun exposure and moisture. A door that is not correctly sealed or finished will absorb moisture from the bottom. Moister penetration can cause the wood to swell, making it difficult to close.
A door should be examined for damage every six-months. Inspect the entire finish surface. Use a flat mirror to inspect the underside of your exterior doors. Look for:
- Hairline cracks in the top coat of finish.
- Changes in the color of the finish.
- Peeling, flaking, scaling or blistering of the finish.
- Dullness or chalkiness in the finish.
- Bare spots where finish may have rubbed off
- Cracking or warping of the wood
Doors exhibiting finish wear should be refinished. Doors that are cracked or warped door will require replacement.
Both interior and exterior wood doors require regular maintenance and treatment to remain in good condition and appearance. A cracked or worn finish will allow moisture to enter the wood, resulting in splits, rot and/or warping in the door. The integrity of the finish must be maintained to insure continued protection of the wood.
Doors should be wiped down monthly. Cleaning all wood surfaces with a clean damp cloth removes airborne dust particles, which can scratch, damage and embed in the finish, leaving a dull and dirty appearance. Treat doors like a delicate piece of furniture and never use abrasive cleaners.
Doors installed in wet and humid climates may require more frequent maintenance.
Door Hardware also needs regular maintenance. Every six months check screws for tightness and lubricate hinges and sliding wheels.