One of the most noticeable parts of your home’s exterior is its front door. A high-quality, attractive front door is the most important part of any welcoming entryway. What better way to create a warm, unique foundation for your home’s entryway than to invest in quality wooden front doors. These kinds of doors are sturdy, elegant, and always in style. A wood front door crafted skillfully with rugged materials can last for generations, but only if it is adequately cared for. Humidity, temperature fluctuation, UV radiation from sunlight, and other elements can negatively affect your wooden door–that’s why a little maintenance can go a long way in extending the lifetime of your door for decades to come.
After investing in a quality door from a reputable door company, such as ETO Doors, be sure to consider the following tips when maintaining it.
Keep an Eye Out! Inspect Your Door on a Regular Basis
At least once a year, it is always a good idea to give your door a good look-over to make sure that it is in good condition. Any previously applied protective coatings, finishes, and surfaces should be intact and free of significant damage, scuffs, and markings.
These finishes help seal the door away from moisture and UV radiation, which are two things that can negatively affect the door and lead to warping, cracking, and swelling. Remedying small knicks in your door can prevent larger problems down the line. This kind of attention will, in turn, allow your door to function as intended for years to come.
The wood grain, color, and surface texture of your door should appear smooth, uniform, and consistent. Look out for any raised areas of wood grain, discoloration, or fading on the door’s surface; these can all be signs of needed restoration and/or refinishing.
Wipe It Down, Commit to Routine Cleaning
One of the easiest ways to keep your wooden door in good shape is to keep it clean. Regardless of its present condition, the first step for maintaining your door should always be wiping it down with a clean, dry cloth to remove it of any surface debris.
A damp or wet cloth might negatively react with certain surface stains and finishes, so only wipe with a damp cloth if you are certain it is safe to use on your finish. Keeping your door’s surface clean will help you keep an eye out for any areas that may need extra attention. Besides that, it never hurts to keep it looking as clean as possible.
Refinish with Protective Wood Finishes and Coatings
If there is one thing that every wooden door will need, it is a protective finish. . This can be something as simple as paint, but one of the downfalls of paint is the fact that it will conceal the unique, timeless characteristics of a natural wooden door.
Refinishing your door to reapply the protective outer layer will protect it from moisture, sunlight, and every-day wear and tear. In addition to significantly extending your door’s durability, finishes also amplify the appearance of the natural wood grain. These products are what your door needs to prevent unwanted surface stains, deterioration, and cracking.
Penetrating vs. Surface Finishes
Excluding paints, wood finishes are mostly classified as penetrating finishes or surface finishes; each type has its own benefits.
Penetrating finishes typically offer more of a low-sheen, natural appearance and are easier to apply. Examples of penetrating finishes are linseed oil, tung oil (recommended for exterior doors), and Danish oil. These oils are ideally used on doors that will not be highly exposed to the elements. Surface finishes are usually more durable than penetrative finishes due to the fact that they form a distinct layered coat on top of the wood, which can help buffer things like scratches and knicks.
They also create a more thorough shell keeping moisture and radiation away from the wood, itself. However, surface finishes usually add increased sheen to the wood’s appearance, thus making the finish more noticeable at a glance. They also take more time and effort to apply. Examples of surface finishes are varnish (for exterior doors), shellac, polyurethane, and lacquer.
Aside from the general differences between surface and penetrating finishes, it is important to note that there are countless kinds of finishes to choose from, and they all have their own perks and drawbacks. Therefore, it is important to determine what kind of look you prefer (color, sheen, texture, etc.) and how much maintenance you would like to perform.
Balancing your preferences in these areas is what will provide you with the best wood finish for your needs. Fortunately, many door companies, such as ETO Doors, sell doors that are ready to stain and finish, giving you the opportunity to fashion your door exactly as you prefer.
Some General Tips for the Refinishing with Clear Finishes
- Removing the door from its hinges can make paint/finish application easier, but also presents some risks associated with re-installation. If you are not confident in messing with the door’s hinges, leave it hung and paint around them. Take your time, prepare your work area, and use all necessary tools, methods, and equipment.
- Clean, then sand the door twice, then clean it again before applying your finish.
- Do all application of finishes in a well-ventilated, well-lit area free of dust, dirt, obstructions, and hazards.
- Apply multiple coats of finishes to extend their lifetime and increase durability.
- Allow coats to fully dry in between applications.
- Carefully read the instructions on the label of your chosen finish; they can vary greatly between products, so be sure to follow them closely to avoid any slip-ups.
Repainting Your Door
After extended periods of time, painted doors will need repainting. Painted surfaces are uniform, which makes any visual inconsistencies stand out more. Just like refinishing, repainting should occur in a ventilated area away from any dirt, obstructions, or hazards.
The surface of the door should be cleaned, sanded, and cleaned again before the application of new coats of primer and paint. You must add a coat of primer before applying paint. The door should be inspected for any cracks or chips at this time. You would ultimately paint over any wood filler or putty you might use for small repairs.
Maintain Your Door’s Hardware
Even though the woodgrain of your door is probably its most noticeable feature, it can only function as effectively as its hardware and installation. Hinges and handles usually function for years without any maintenance at all, however, there is a chance that your door’s hardware may need some special attention after extended periods of use.
Ensure that hinges that drag or squeak are appropriately lubricated and fastened. Pay attention to any abnormal resistance in the door’s swing as you open and close it, as well as any other inconsistencies in its functionality. Proper door installation is more challenging than you might assume, so don’t hesitate to contact a professional if necessary.
There is no better way to revitalize the front appearance of your home than by cleaning, refinishing, repainting, or purchasing a high-quality wooden door. Regardless of your home’s color, trim, or theme, a new wooden door can stand out remarkably as a focal point for onlookers, as well as a warm, welcoming entrance for guests and family.
Maintaining a door may seem somewhat trivial, but it is important to remember that wood is a precious material that takes years to grow. Quality wooden pieces are increasingly uncommon these days, so the value of a well-maintained door is always apparent.