Maintaining your hardwood door
Effort spent maintaining your wood door will pay dividends

There’s an old adage – you only get out what you put in – and it’s certainly true for wood doors. Your door might look a million dollars when it is first installed, but it won’t stay looking its best forever without a little maintenance.

A good quality, properly installed hardwood door doesn’t need a great deal of looking after, but you will occasionally need to give it some T.L.C. to keep it looking as good as the day you bought it. It takes a little effort, but I promise you that you will not be disappointed with the reward.

The best time for door maintenance is when the weather is dry. In the English summertime this isn’t always very predictable, but if the forecast for the weekend looks fine it is as good a time as any to get stuck in.

What you will need:

  • Colour of your choice
  • Two good quality brushes
  • A 4 inch rad roller
  • Sponge
  • Light grade sandpaper
  • Methylated spirit or White spirit

1. Clean all dirt and debris from the area in which you’re working – you don’t want to get dirt into your new colour. Vacuum if possible.

2. Examine your door and study the way the grain is running. Sand in the direction of the grain rather than across it, or you will ruin your hard work on final appearance.

3. Give the door a good clean after you’ve rubbed it down, once again you will want to remove all debris – clean, clean, clean is the order of the day. The preparation and thorough cleaning is what gives you the desired great finish. Take your time and be methodical, and delicate rather than aggressive.

4. Wipe the door down with a clean rag and methylated spirit and let it dry (white spirit is also ok, but I prefer using methylated). Do not have a cigarette when doing this part of the job!

5. You are now good to go with your product. If you are concerned about the colour it will come out as I would suggest applying a tester on the back hinge side – then if you don’t like it, it won’t be visible.

If you’re happy with the colour it’s time to go for the front. Apply the stain using a brush very evenly and lightly – be mean with the application, but thorough. If you lay it on too heavy you will get curtain runs and the door will look terrible.

Once you’ve covered the door, if you think it’s looking a little patchy then use the rad roller to apply an even coat of stain over the full surface of the door. Again, do not overload the roller. Follow the direction of the grain with the roller – I’m sure you will be happy with the result.

6. If the product colour is good for you then don’t clear coat when dry. Follow the same process on both sides, top and bottom. You will find the rad roller comes into its own when doing the edges. It will also give you great access to the bottom of the door – this is without hesitation the most important part of the job – if not properly sealed then water ingress can be very problematic, swelling and warping the door.

7. Once you have done, leave it for a good week and then the following weekend you can spend 10 minutes de-nibbing the door (removing any little pieces of trapped dust in the finish – hopefully you will have very few, but it can be almost unavoidable). Any little unwanted minute lumps can be knocked off using a kitchen scourer and a little Mr Sheen. Job done!

I will be giving my own front door a fresh look this weekend; we have an oak frame and an oak contemporary front door, and I will be taking some pictures as we are having a colour change. I have always been adamant not to colour an oak frame, but it is a very vogue look at the moment and she who rules the roost has spoken (ok, that’s not strictly true – I’ve seen the colour scheme elsewhere and have to admit it looks really cool). We will be going with a grey frame and a fresh coat of Johnson’s light oak finished with 2 clear coats.

Just as a note, if you are of a mind to go for a painted frame for your oak door then you can save some money on the frame – while we would usually recommend a bespoke oak frame, if you are painting it a sapelli frame will be more than adequate and is virtually half the price of the bespoke oak frame.

I hope the above is helpful – for any further advice please feel free to give me a call on 01702 421199.