Caring for your wooden front door begins with installation. Like any material, wood has limitations and the kinds of stress it endures will be based upon the kind of protection you give it at the beginning of its life and refresh it with throughout its life.
Contractors should store doors horizontally on a completely flat surface and away from direct exposure to the elements. Wood that is exposed to the elements prematurely may later have problems, especially if only one side of the wood was exposed. Improper stacking causes most warping, and exposure to elements increases the possibility of layer problems and additional warping.
Once the door is installed for fit, remove it from the hinges and prepare it to be stained. Good 220-grit sandpaper used in the direction of the grain of the wood will help smooth any nicks or splinters, or remove dirt and oils that may accumulate during shipping and installation. Clean the door with a cloth to remove any debris.
Choose the paint or stain you wish to use on your wooden door. Oil-based products are best because they last long and provide good protection. The coating you choose will protect the wood from moisture and sun. Discuss the kind of paint or stain you intend to use with your contractor or paint supply store. Ensure it will protect against harmful UV rays, which can diminish the protection of the coating and expose the wood to the elements.
Be sure to follow the manufacturer`s instructions for the paint or stain and to cover all six sides of the door, including around the hinges. If you use a polyurethane varnish, use three coats at a minimum to seal the wood. If you have wood and glass joints, you may seal them with a clear caulk material to provide a further layer of protection.
Once you install your door, be sure to inspect it regularly for deterioration and repair it as soon as possible if you find any issues. The same goes for buying a home with an existing wooden front door you will want to follow these instructions to be sure that your door is protected and seals out the elements as much it looks good and fits your home`s design.
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