It’s the perfect time of year to give your entry door some TLC. Your door protects you from the elements, but it needs protecting, too. Wondering how to weather-proof a front door? We know it can seem daunting, but the good news is that it’s simpler than you think. Follow these six front door maintenance tips to prevent weather damage.
Install your front door with care
You can prevent weathering and water damage right from the beginning, with proper installation. Make sure you use high quality silicone, and make sure your door threshold fits perfectly in the sub-floor. The more precisely your door unit fits in the opening, the better it will be for the longevity of your door. Our front doors feature a sloped white oak threshold, which helps water naturally roll away from the bottom of the door itself.
Always include an overhang for your entry door
Protecting your wood door from the elements requires some kind of overhang—an awning, portico, or other covering that shelters the door from direct exposure. If your front door faces south, then it’s even more important to protect it because of sun exposure. No one wants their doors to get bleached by the sun! A proper overhang should extend out from the wall by about 30% of the height of the door itself.
Reapply finish annually
Depending on what your door has been finished with, you’ll periodically need to refresh it. Painted doors can go the longest, but if you start to see peeling or flaking paint, it’s time for a fresh coat. The same goes for varnish. Hardwax oil hybrids, like the Osmo finish that we use, doesn’t have to be sanded to be reapplied like varnish does. But you will need to refresh the hardwax oil more frequently than other types of finishes. Reapply hardwax oil to your exterior doors at least once a year. You may need more applications if you live in a rainy, humid climate.
Clean your door consistently
Basic, simple cleaning prevents problems like mildew and mold. You can use any gentle soap diluted in water—don't use bleach or any abrasive powders, as they damage wood finishes. Brush off any loose dirt or debris with a bristle brush. Then clean the door with your diluted soap and soft cloth or rag. Dry it off with a separate cloth. Clean your front door once a month, or more often if you live in an environment with rain and snow.
And while you're at it, don't forget the door hardware--it needs maintenance, too. We recommend that you lubricate the hinges and keyhole locks once a year. If you can see daylight around your door frame from the inside? It's time to replace the weatherstripping.
Understand the demands of your specific climate and weather events.
The climate where you live significantly impacts how vigilant you need to be when it comes to preventing weathering. If you live somewhere with dramatic seasonal shifts in temperature or humidity, or somewhere with a lot of rain or snow, you’ll need to keep on top of door maintenance much more. This includes extreme or unusual weather events that may be more common in El Nino years on the west coast, for instance.
Don’t pressure wash your door or subject it to excess moisture.
We understand the temptation to pressure wash your door—it's so fast, right? But this isn’t a good idea. You want to minimize exposure to moisture, using only as much water to clean your door as necessary. Also, be sure to clear away any snow from your doorway.
Here's a handy checklist for your front door maintenance.