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Archive for September 2012

Refinishing a Wood Front Door? Sometime, it is too late!

Rotting Wood Front Door – Outside

Rotting Wood Front Door – Inside

As house painting contractors, we get several calls a week to refinish wood front doors and wood garage doors, from all over the Chicago area. Wood doors are very vulnerable to the elements. UV rays attack the finish and cause it to fade and sometime get milky. Changes in temperature play havoc on the door surfaces, stress the joints and cause the coating to crack. Moisture is the next villain. It looks for any entry point, like a break in the coating, or a crack in the joints to infiltrate the door components.

The demise of a wood door is sometimes caused by something less evident: the bottom edge of the door is often left unsealed at installation time, thereby allowing moisture to get trapped between the weather stripping and the raw wood. When that occurs, the moisture quickly causes the wood to rot away. Let’s look at an example of this problem.

On a recent visit to a potential new client, I was asked to inspect the wood front door. The door had a Southern exposure and showed extensive coating failure, even though the door was only six years old. On the bottom right corner of the door, I noticed that the wood had shrunk and had developed a twelve-inch vertical crack. Upon that visual inspection and touching the surfaces, I concluded that the wood had dry-rotted. On the inside of the door, even though the finish looked intact, the wood in that same corner had begun to grow mushrooms from the decay. Regrettably, I had to inform the client that the door was damaged beyond repair and had to be replaced.

I told the client to make sure the bottom edge of the new is properly sealed before installation. I also told him that I would contact him in two years to inspect the door and do any necessary maintenance. On wood doors, periodic maintenance is essential to preserve the wood and its good looks