Wood Front Door Maintenance Secrets: Longevity For Your Front Door

Front doors are arguably one of the most important parts of your home’s front exterior appearance. Many would argue that it’s extremely crucial that every home has a front door, made of high-quality materials, that is properly installed and maintained–this should allow your home’s entrance to remain welcoming and safe for your guests and family alike. 

Investing in a quality wood door is a fantastic way to accomplish these important objectives, and maintaining that wood door is an important part of maximizing the potential of that investment. A good wood exterior door will offer durability, sophistication, and aesthetics to your entryway. 

Wood Front Door Maintenance

Skillfully crafted wooden doors have the ability to last generations, but this will require adequate maintenance. Our friends at ETO Doors, who manufacture wood doors in mahogany, knotty pine, douglas fir, are experts at door maintenance. According to Tal Hassid,  “Many factors can negatively affect the longevity of the door, such as fluctuations in humidity, temperature, and exposure to UV radiation. Preventing deleterious exposure to these factors is the primary objective coupled with adequate wood door maintenance.”

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1. Routinely Clean Your Door

At the very least, you should take care of your wood door investment by cleaning it regularly. Even if it’s in great shape, and you’ve only had it for a few months to a year, give it a nice cleaning. Doing this can help you keep a better eye on its condition and also keep potentially harmful substances off of the surface. The longer they stay on the door’s surface, the harder they are to remove in the long term.

Wipe the door down with a non-abrasive cloth that is dry and clean. Remove surface debris gently. Sometimes, a damp or wet cloth can affect the integrity of the door’s finish, so remember to only use a damp cloth to clean your door if you are sure the finish is not water-soluble. Habitually keeping it clean also allows you to maximize the great aesthetic benefits that wood doors offer. 

2. Inspect Your Door At Least Twice A Year

A crucial aspect of wood door maintenance, especially for exterior wood doors, is to regularly look them over for any evidence of damage or deterioration. Do this ideally twice a year, during the Fall and Spring, so that you can catch any problems before and after the year’s harshest seasons. If you can’t commit to the biannual route, try to look it over at least once a year. This frequency of inspection can help prevent irreversible damage to the door. 

Make sure the door’s protective coatings, such as paint or lacquer, are intact and not penetrated by scratches, chips, or holes. These break the seal that the coatings provide, allowing moisture and environmental fluctuations to get inside the door and affect the wood it’s made of. Protecting the wood from UV rays and moisture should be your priority while maintaining your wood door. 

During your inspections, make sure the surface is even and free of irregularities. Feel it with your hand as this can actually tell you more than your eyes. Watch out for fading, discoloration, or warming–these are clues that the door may need some extra tender love and care. 

Another important aspect of the door inspection is to inspect the area around the door, as well. The door frame and door opening is a common area where moisture can infiltrate the house, and the frame, itself, can sometimes rot and fail to secure the door when it’s closed. Use the opportunity of inspecting the door to also inspect all weatherstripping around it. 

3. Inspect The Door’s Hardware

When most people think about a wooden door, they think of the elegant and attractive grain across its surface. Even though it’s very important to maintain the condition of a door’s beautiful surface, it’s all too easy to forget about the hardware that the door’s functionality depends on. 

Of course, door hinges and handles often last for years and years on very little maintenance, but it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on them as they get older and older. If anything sort of snags, drags, or squeaks, then it’s time to take a look at the hinges and make sure they are well set and not in need of lubrication. The door should swing open smoothly without any inconsistencies. Properly installing the door is a big part of making sure hardware performs as it should, so make sure you hire an experienced professional to install the front door of your home, because it’s the most important door you have. 

4. Refinish The Door As Needed

All wooden doors need protective finishes to secure their surface against the many detrimental elements they may keep out of your home. Many wooden doors are finished with paint, but one of the main drawbacks of doing so means that the beautiful grain the door possesses is permanently hidden from being seen. 

A non-opaque coating around your door, whether it’s oil, polyurethane or another finish, will allow the beauty of the door to shine while also keeping it safe from harm. Humidity, sunlight, and blunt damage. 

Most door finishes are categorized between penetrating finishes and surface finishes. Finishes that are “penetrating” are the easiest to apply. They are less shiny and help to bring out the natural appearance of raw rood grain. Some examples of penetrating finishes are linseed oil and Danish oil. They don’t provide the strongest protection or seal, but they are much better than no finish at all, and they can be absolutely gorgeous to look at. 

Surface finishes, on the other hand, offer a more durable seal as they essentially solidify into a protective shell around the door’s surface (rather than saturating the outside of the door, as oils do). Surface finishes, as this protective coating, solidify into a glossy, shiny surface that can easily scuff and sometimes fade. They are more difficult to apply, compared to penetrative finishes, so both types offer different pros and cons. Common examples of surface finishes include varnish and polyurethane. 

So, now you know what it takes…

…To maintain a high-quality, and beautiful, wood front door. Investing in a solid wood exterior front door is one of the best ways to invigorate the curb appeal and appearance of your home. Keeping it completely functional, secure, and maintained is an important part of ensuring such an investment will be worth your while.

A new wood door has so much potential as a focal point that loved ones and visitors will appreciate as they enter your abode. Door maintenance may, at first, sound arbitrary, but the reality is that wood is an increasingly precious material as its sustainability becomes a higher concern. Reflect the inherent value of the trees that grew for years and provided the wood for the door–take care of it.

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