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How To Protect Your Door
Wooden doors should be maintained on a regular basis. The goal is to keep most of the sun’s damage confined to the outermost layer of finish where some preventative precautions can be applied and thereby limit the damage done to the inner layers. The trick is to do maintenance BEFORE significant damage has occurred. Simple recommendations include:

At least once a month, wipe the exterior side of your door with a soft, damp cloth. This removes dirt, which creates mud when wet. Water stays on your door much longer when there is mud present than when there is not. Plus your door looks much better when clean.

You will benefit by wiping your door after a heavy rain, even if you only use your hand. A thin layer of water evaporates much faster than drops of water. A quicker evaporation time means less time for the rain to work its way into any available cracks in the finish.

Set up a maintenance program. Periodically, the door should be wiped down with a soft damp cloth, lightly sanded, wiped with mineral spirits to remove sanding dust and any oily contaminates and a new coat of finish applied. This maintenance will seal any developing cracks in the exterior layer of finish and renew the outer layer’s ability to filter UV radiation.

Maintenance does not repair damage to the inner finish layers or to a faded stain layer, but it does help maintain the status quo. Most importantly, when performed before any significant damage has occurred to the lower layers of finish, a maintenance program should double the life expectancy of your doors finish. But even with a good maintenance schedule, eventually the innermost layers do break down and the door will need a refinishing.

The Door Refinishing Company highly recommends a maintenance program and provides that service if you choose not to do the finish work yourself.

While there are many factors that affect the interval between surface maintenances, the general rule on determining the service interval is as follows. This is based on a fully exposed door to sun and weather.

This timing will provide for repair of the top layer of the finish before its ability to filter UV rays has been entirely destroyed and before the lower layers begin to take the bulk of the damage. Ideally, a surface maintenance should be performed before all the UV inhibitors are used up in the outer layer of finish. Remembering that when the UV inhibitors are used up micro-cracks occur and the surface feels dry.

A factor that affects the interval is a protecting roof. A door deep in an alcove will last longer than a door exposed to direct sun. But do remember, that even the door in the alcove is exposed to reflected UV. So damage occurs to the door in the alcove, but at a much slower rate than the door exposed to full sun.

One of the better protections for a doors finish is having tall trees. With tall trees near your door, UV rays are absorbed or reflected much higher up and never reach your door.

Examples of factors that shorten the life of a finish are: exposure to sprinkler systems or reflection of UV from large expanses of concrete such as a circular driveway. It is advisable to make certain that the water sprinklers do not contact or come within two feet of the door.


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