Yes, You Do Need to Clean and Maintain Your Front Door
You’ve invested a lot of time, energy and money into making sure your front and interior doors reflect your style. Because your doors, especially your entry door, create your home’s first impression, it’s important to protect your investment with the proper care and maintenance. At The Front Door Company, we have experienced staff and service techs that can help you with advice on any door maintenance or restoration you need.
The three primary materials most high-end doors are constructed of are wood, fiberglass, and wrought iron. Each has its own set of guidelines for making sure it lasts and looks beautiful for many years to come. Let’s take a look at suggested plans for making that happen.
Most people choose a wood entry door because of wood’s natural beauty and charm. Wood doors come in a wide variety of choices, from traditional mahogany and oak to a more rustic look with knotty alder or pine. Wood doors complement almost any style of architecture as well. They provide adequate durability, insulation and security, as well as reducing noise. Wood is an easy material to work with and can be customized to your specific needs.
Wood doors should be sealed before or immediately after being installed. A properly maintained wood door will increase curb appeal, as well as market value.
Your wood entryway door needs an inspection of all six sides at least annually. Wood doors that are not protected by an overhang will need more frequent inspections due to exposure to weather impacts, such as moisture, blowing dirt and sand and sunlight.
Basic cleaning of your stained wood front door includes:
- Brush off all surfaces with a dust brush or dry rag
- For stained doors, use a wood polish to bring out that beautiful glow. We recommend a product called Oz Cream Polish made by Mohawk Finishing. Do not use any acidic products such as lemon oil.
- Use a glass cleaner or mixture of vinegar and water to clean glass, being careful not to allow any to drip on the door finish.
- Clean the hardware using a cloth and warm water with diluted mild soap solution.
If while inspecting your door you find: raised wood grain, indicating the finish may be failing; discoloration that may indicate moisture is getting in; cracks in the surface; and/or peeling paint or top coat, you may be looking at some restoration work. You may need to remove the door from the frame in order to get the best results. Basic wood door restoration includes:
- Strip old finish using a chemical stripper. Make sure to follow all instructions provided by the manufacturer of the chemical stripper.
- Prep the door for staining by sanding with a 220 grit sandpaper to remove small surface imperfections and handling marks. Always sand in the direction of the grain.
- Wipe down the door surface with a tack rag to remove all dust.
- Apply stain using a brush to achieve the desired color. Allow adequate time for the stain to fully dry and cure.
- Apply three coats of a high quality exterior polyurethane or spar varnish with an ultraviolet inhibitor (following the manufacturer’s recommendations) to all six sides, sanding lightly between coats.
Remember that wood doors exposed to harsh sunlight will need to be inspected more often than doors covered by an overhang or porch. Lighter paint and stain colors generally last longer than darker colors.
Fiberglass doors have continued to grow in popularity in recent years. Fiberglass doors perform well even in extreme temperatures. They won’t warp, crack or rot like wood can and they don’t rust, scratch or corrode like steel doors can.
Fiberglass doors also have versatility. They come in a wide array of sizes, styles and finishes, making them customizable to your taste. Woodgrain fiberglass doors can be stained or painted, while smooth fiberglass doors are designed to be painted exclusively. Some fiberglass doors look so much like wood doors it can be hard for even an expert to tell that your door is not wood. They provide a classic, high-end look with durability, security and energy efficiency.
Just like with any entry door, your fiberglass entry door comes into contact with the outside world, so regular cleaning will help to alleviate any erosion or problems with the finish caused by harsh elements such as wind, rain, snow and debris. You can use a mild soap mixed with water to clean the door.
Don’t forget to clean hardware, as well, and replace hinges and weatherstripping when they become worn out.
Follow your fiberglass door care manual for instructions on the best products to use on your specific door.
Nothing beats the iconic look of wrought iron doors for introducing old-world charm, romanticism and grace to the front of your home. Whether you’ve chosen a simple design or an abundance of intricate scrolls, wrought iron adds a classic touch.
Wrought iron has very little carbon content and can be vulnerable to rusting if the paint is not protected or preserved. But taking the proper steps to care for your wrought iron door guarantees many years of beauty and durability.
Caring for your wrought iron should be done once a month. Follow this simple technique for best results:
- Combine about a teaspoon of any vegetable-based soap (such as Castile soap) with water.
- With the solution, use a low-lint cloth to gently wipe dirt and other contaminants from the door, working top to bottom.
- Wipe off any residue using a water damp cloth.
- Gently dry with another low-lint cloth to prevent water spots.
Make sure to inspect your iron door for chips and scratches in the paint and touch them up as needed. This will ensure the base metal remains protected from the elements.
At The Front Door Company, we have over 35 years of experience caring for doors in San Antonio, Austin and the surrounding areas. Our team of professional and courteous technicians can help you with a variety of services designed to keep your doors looking as beautiful and staying as secure as the day you bought them. Contact us today for any questions or to request an appointment.