External Door Care
All of our exterior doors are made from timber, which has the benefit of being a natural and sustainable material, however, this does mean that, to ensure longevity, they need to be protected from the elements.
External wooden doors can become vulnerable if they are not properly protected from changes in temperature and humidity, without suitable treatment. If they aren’t protected effectively, it could mean that, over time, your doors could swell, warp or split.
Your external door’s location
Wooden doors, particularly those made with an oak veneer, should be sheltered from the main elements. This means if it’s possible, to inset your door. However, not everyone’s home is designed that way, so if this isn’t an option, then building a small porch or canopy that extends out at least 1.5 metres to keep the elements at bay, will offer it more protection.
This type of protection is particularly important if you have a South or South Westerly facing external door as this is where your door will be at risk from the most sun damage – something that can degrade your door over time.
Treating and sealing your external doors
To ensure that our external doors remain protected for years to come, you need to ensure several things:
That you’re using the right, high quality sealant or treatment.
That you liberally apply your chosen sealant or treatment following the manufacturer’s instructions closely, taking off all of the ironmongery, locks and other additions before you do.
Follow the sealant/treatment manufacturer’s instructions and keep a copy of those instructions to ensure you have recourse if the sealant/treatment doesn’t live up to your expectations. Note: the instructions provided by manufacturers usually give you a minimum number of coats required, however, it is usually advisable to apply more coats than the minimum requirement, as long as the manufacturer doesn’t warn against it for any reason.
Be sure to select the right treatment, which will give you a complete and lasting seal to all surfaces and the elasticity to maintain the integrity between all component parts.
Preparing, hanging and installing your exterior doors
We’d always recommend using a professional joiner to fit your doors, however, often people like the challenge of fitting their exterior doors themselves. If that’s the case then we can offer you some guidance on how to complete the task as efficiently and effectively as possible. Take a look at our step by step guide to installing your external doors to find out more.
Maintenance of exterior doors
Maintenance is also important to retain the high quality finish and performance of external doors. We recommend re-coating your doors every two to three years as well as washing with washing up liquid and water as part of your regular household cleaning.
For for more information, please download our Essential Door Care & Maintenance Advice.
The British Woodworking Federation factsheet Care of Timber Doors also offers good practice guidelines.
How to Maintain Your External Doors
Maintenance is also important to retain the high-quality finish and performance of external doors. We recommend re-coating your doors every two to three years as well as washing with washing up liquid and water as part of your regular household cleaning.
To ensure the longevity of your external doors, here’s our step by step maintenance guide.
Step 1: Keep doors clean
Keeping your external doors clean is essential. It only takes a few minutes to give them a dust or wipe but this can be vital for the durability of the door.
Most external doors will benefit from the occasional wipe down but it’s also important to keep an eye on the paintwork of your door.
Look out for flaky paint/varnish on an external door as this could mean that the paint/varnish used is no longer weatherproof. Other things you should look for are any signs of wear and tear around the edges of the doors.
If you have wooden external doors try to keep them dry as much as feasibly possible. Consider a porch or canopy to deter the rain.
When cleaning your door make sure you also give the handles, backplates, locks and other accessories a good clean with a damp cloth too.
Step 2: Inspect door seals, framing and hinges
Door seals keep drafts and the elements at bay and should be wiped and dried regularly to remove dirt and moisture. Make sure you also check the join of the door frame and the architrave. This join shouldn’t show any cracks or warps. If there are any cracks present this means that moisture can penetrate, which can cause swelling and issues with fitting.
Finally, you should inspect the hinges of the door. Make sure they’re not loose and don’t be afraid to give them a dose of WD40 if the door is squeaking.
Step 3: Check the locks and handles
With an external door it’s also vital to check the locks and handles. To check a door handle in the first instance simply move it up and down as usual and watch the lock mechanism.
If the lock is sticking or squeaking, some WD40 should loosen the mechanisms. If this still happens then the lock and handle may be fitted incorrectly.
Step 4: Check for damp
Damp areas can lead external wooden doors to swell and bloat. This will not only warp the wood but it can mean doors won’t close properly. Damage by damp is irreversible and therefore, it is vital that you check for this regularly and if you notice any that this is seen to immediately.
Note: It’s less likely that you will encounter damp problems if you get your door properly treated and sealed prior to fitting.