Exterior doors can last a lifetime if properly maintained. They can also be a big problem if they are not maintained. Newer construction over the years has trended towards more narrow eaves to reduce wind damage in case of hurricanes and tornadoes. The side effect, unfortunately, is that it leaves the exterior doors more exposed to rain and snow especially on the north side of the home. Without the sun drying those doors, more maintenance will be required to keep those door frames from rotting. I see a lot of wooden door frames rotting down at the threshold. I have recently added an apartment complex as a customer and at this point the bulk of my business has been repairing door frames.
Part 1 of this post will address how to avoid rotting door frames. Part 2 addresses how to repair it them if you need to.
How to avoid rotting door frames:
- Paint: You must keep those door frames sealed from the elements. I installed new exterior doors on my own home 2 years ago and at the time painted the door frames. Recently, I painted them again. I didn’t want to paint them again. I had other more fun things I could have been doing. I painted them again though because it was time and I wanted to avoid a larger repair job in the future. You know it is time to paint when you see dark spots forming on your wood near the thresh hold. Those dark spots are indicators that mold is starting to penetrate your paint. When the mold penetrates your paint, it starts eating your wood next. That is when you have a problem. It is time to clean with bleach water and repaint.
- Replace what wood you can with PVC trim: Problem areas like the north-side of your house or a shaded side of your house due to trees, may need extra measures. Using PVC brick moulding to trim around your exterior door is a cost-effective way to shield your door frame from rot. In effect you will be replacing the wood trim with rot free PVC trim. By doing this you need to realize that the door frame is still wooden, but at least you won’t have to worry about the trim rotting and it gives the mold less of a place to start.
By far the best solution to rotting door frames, is to be proactive and to keep an eye on them. Clean the mold off and keep them sealed with a quality paint. If they do start to rot and you catch it early, you can make the repairs yourself. Part 2 of this post will address DIY repairs. This will extend the lifespan of your door beyond your own…and save you time, money and stress in the long haul.
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