Wood doors on the exterior of your house are a great natural design element, but they require maintenance to keep them at their best. This maintenance is handled most successfully when scheduled reguarly as part of your annual spring cleaning or your fall winterizing project. These tips will help you keep your wood doors at their best.
Protect the Wood
Since they are exposed to the elements, exterior wood doors are vulnerable to damage if unprotected. Excessive water can cause the wood to warp or rot while excessive sunlight or heat can cause dry rot. The best defense against the elements is to treat the door with a weatherproof sealer or paint and annual applications will help you get many years of service from your wood door. If your wood door is natural, untreated wood, linseed oil will provide adequate protection while preserving the look of the wood.
Maintain door hardware
Hardware that is rusting, deteriorating or coming loose poses a threat to the wood. Hardware includes hinges, door handles, locks, knockers along with the screws and mechanisms that hold them in place. Check for screws that are too tight or loose, or a bracket that is rubbing, which can cause the wood to wear, leading to splintering and cracking. Clean the hardware, keeping it free of dust and debris, and make sure it isn't rusting or separating from the wood.
If you have to replace hardware, minimize your use of a drill as much as possible. Hand tightening the screws will ensure that you won’t over tighten the fastenings. When adding new hardware that requires a power drill, use a sharp bit and drill the hole quickly, which decreases the chances of splintering the wood.
Check the door frame, jambs and weather stripping
A door that is closing too tightly against the frame increases the risk of splintering. You may want to remove the door and check the molding around the frame, the frame itself, jambs and weather stripping replacing parts as necessary. The fit around the door when it is closed should be snug with a good seal without rubbing or friction.
Treat current splinters
Existing splinters in a wood door will likely lead to more splintering later. Always address splinters as soon as they occur. This simple repair job requires wood putty and sandpaper. First, remove the splinter from the damaged area. Then sand down the edges and apply wood putty. After the putty has dried sand it down to match the grain of the door. Then just apply paint or stain to get an even look.
Most of the time splinters are an easy fix, but if you fail to address them the door could become damaged beyond repair, leaving you with the expense of buying and installing a new door.
These simple maintenance tips will add years of life to your wood doors.