Exterior wood doors are a charming feature of any home, but they require regular care and attention to maintain their lustrous look. Whether fixing up your front door or treating an entire garage door, it’s important to know how to care for exterior wood. These tips will help you keep your doors looking sophisticated and welcoming year after year.
Dust Your Entry Weekly
You should give your exterior entry space a quick once-over every week. Shake out your door mat and sweep the porch, drive, and walkways. In autumn, you may need to blow away accumulated leaves, and winter may find you shoveling back the snow. Use an extendable duster to tackle spiderwebs, dirt, and dust under the roof of your porch and around windows. Finish up by wiping down your door with a dust rag.
Though this may seem like a lot, it’ll only take a few minutes once you get into the habit of cleaning off this space and have all your tools handy. This can even make a great chore for kids. The key is creating a clean area that’s not inviting insects, rodents, or other unwelcome visitors. A routine dusting and quick clean will do just that.
Clean the Door Monthly
Give your door a more thorough cleaning about once a month. If you live in an area with a lot of pollution or near the ocean and deal with corrosive salt, you may want to increase the frequency. This routine cleaning removes the heavier buildup of dust and dirt that may accumulate over the weeks. If you have a garment cleaner, you can begin by steaming the door to soften the grime and make it easier to remove. Mix a few drops of mild dish soap in a bucket of hot water for an effective door cleaner.
Open your door for the cleaning process so you can get around the edges. You may want to place a towel or small tarp over your entryway floor to catch drips. Dip a non-abrasive brush, soft sponge, or soft lint-free cloth into the soapy water and gently scrub the door’s surface. Never use steel wool or a stiff scrubber, as this can scratch your wood door.
Wipe the door down with a dry lint-free cloth when you’re finished to remove excess moisture. Since it’s essential to dry the door as quickly as possible, you may want to place a fan on the door for an hour or so after you clean it.
Polish It Up Seasonally
Polish your exterior wood doors once every two to three months to keep them gleaming. Most wood furniture polish or furniture wax products will work for the job. If your door gets a lot of sun, a varnish polish is better than polyurethane since the latter will yellow in direct sunlight. A wax-based polish is particularly good if you want to hide some scratches on an older wood door. A lacquer polish is a quick-drying choice that’s great if you have trouble keeping little fingers or pets’ noses off the door for long.
Refinish Every Few Years
Refinish your wood door when it starts to show signs of serious wear. Depending on your climate and the amount of use your door gets, this can be an annual project, bi-annual project, or something you only tackle once every few years. To refinish the door, you’ll need to remove it from the hinges, take off the hardware, and dedicate several hours to your project. This process includes:
- Stripping the old finish off with a chemical product.
- Sanding down the wood surface.
- Removing dust with a vacuum followed by a wipe-down with a lint-free cloth.
- Applying two to three coats of exterior wood finish or paint to the edges of the door.
- Rehanging the door.
- Applying finish to the front and back of the door.
- Replacing the hardware once the door is dry.
If you don’t have time for this massive job, a professional front door or garage door restoration will deliver outstanding results with minimal effort on your part.
Care for the Hardware
Doorknobs represent one of the dirtiest parts of a home. If your wood door serves as the primary entry for your home, it may see countless hands daily. Wipe down your doorknobs and door fixtures like knockers and locks as often as possible. A disinfecting spray or wipe will help you eliminate germs and bacteria.
Mix two tablespoons of salt with half a cup of vinegar to polish brass fixtures. Dab the solution on the fixtures and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Wipe it off with a soft cloth.
Once a year, you should apply lithium grease or a silicone spray to your door hinges to keep them moving smoothly. Do this sooner if you start hearing telltale squeaks.
Keep Glass Clean
If your exterior wood door has windows, you’ll need to clean the glass as often as you wash down the door. If the glass sees a lot of sticky fingers, dirty paws, or pet noses, you may want to wipe the window more often. Fortunately, it’s quick and easy to keep this glass clean. Just spray it with a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water and wipe the glass with a dry lint-free cloth.
Check Your Weatherstripping
The weatherstripping on the door refers to the thin line of rubber or foam running along the bottom of the door. This strip should be smooth, solid, and securely fastened to the door. If the weatherstripping is cracked, peeling, or otherwise damaged, you should replace it. You can remove old weatherstripping with a sharp razor. New weatherstripping adheres easily to the door and reduces your utility bills by as much as 10% simply by keeping your heated or air-conditioned air inside where it belongs.
Routine care combined with a periodic door and home siding restoration will boost curb appeal and ensure that your home always looks great. Contact Teak Master for help with all your home restoration needs.