Aftercare: How to Look After Your Solid Oak Door
What Can I Expect From a Solid Oak Door?
Most of our doors and products are hand crafted from kiln dried, natural oak. Oak is not only a beautiful timber, but it is also very strong, characterful and high quality. This means, however, we must provide them with adequate care in order for the natural timber to thrive and perform it’s intended purpose.
- High quality timber
- Gives flexibility when trimming down
- Amazing for cottages, barn conversions when supplied in rustic grade
- Add value to properties and make the décor look more expensive
- Prime timber looks beautiful in modern properties
- Prone to movement – natural timber takes in water and expands as it does
- Movement can cause bowing/buckling/warping
- Can be quite expensive
- Not resistant to heat and water unless treated properly
The good news is, here at Heritage, we are pleased to offer the best tips and tricks to keep your door from failing externally. Following these easy steps, you will have a door that will last a lifetime.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
Internal Doors: Expansion Gaps
With internal doors, especially ledged doors, expansion gaps between the boards are vital for the door’s structure.
All doors must be treated before being fitted. For internal, we factory finish using a 2-3 coat system in our state of the art spray booth. If supplied unfinished, we recommend coating your door with at least 2 coats of a wax based oil. Treatex oil is a good option as it is very easy to apply and dries quite quickly.
A fully treated and finished door can still take on moisture from its surroundings. This is where the expansion gaps come in. As the natural oak timber takes on moisture from the air, the timber will begin to expand slightly. As it expands, the gaps between the boards allow the door with ample room to expand and contract without causing the door to outgrow it’s horizontal ledges (this usually results in bowing).
With expansion gaps of around 2-5mm, your door can continue being a charming and warm feature in your home with no problems.
External Doors: How To Properly Finish
We cannot recommend factory finishing enough. Solid oak timber is extremely temperamental when it comes to heat and moisture, which means using the doors externally can be problematic if not done correctly
At Heritage, we use a multi stage finishing system with end grain sealer. Between the expansion gaps, our joiners insert a foam sealant which makes the door weather resistant. We use a Teknos external system which is personalised specifically for us and the products we produce. This means, you can rest easy knowing you have a ready-to-hang door with easy to follow fitting instructions. The strong construction of our timber doors means your front door is perfect for keeping you and your family safe and sound.
Can I finish the door myself?
Yes! However, we cannot recommend our factory finish enough due to the nature of the materials. If you would like to finish yourself, you must follow our care instructions down to the letter.
The closest system to ours available on the market is from Sikkens‘ Cetol Range. Please use the below as a guide:
- Base stain coat of Cetol HLS Plus. Various colours but Light oak is the lightest they do which covers the UV protection element.
- End grain sealer, (widely available, Impra and Teknos sell it for example). If you are on the phone, stress this step. Its crucial to the door not failing.
- 3 top coats of Cetol Filter 7 Plus. We put on 2 top coats but the spray system we use allows us to put a thicker coat on each time.
What Happens if My Door Isn't Finished Properly?
Unfortunately, there is little that can be done if your door takes on moisture. If the door takes in too much water, the door will expand and bow as it has no where else to go. This can cause damage to the frame holding the external door. Therefore, it is imperative that no mistakes are made.
- Not using an end grain sealer – this is the most important bit as end grain within a door soaks up moisture like a sponge. Several coatings on end sealer gives the door the best protection against moisture.
- Missing the edges of the door. Every part of the door MUST be sealed. Even the ends, top and bottom as moisture can get into any point of the door.
- Finishing AFTER hinges have been fitted. For the best protection, we recommend fitting the hinges and hardware, removing them, and then applying the finish. Once all areas of the door has been sealed with 3 coats, the hardware can then be reinstalled.
- Using internal finish or an external finish not suitable for solid oak. We recommend either using the Sikkens’ or our own factory finish.
How bad will my door be if exposed to too much moisture?
Following all of our instructions above, or choosing a factory finish, will mean you will not have to worry about problems with your door. Once treated properly, having a solid oak door as a home feature is worth the time and cost. Solid oak exudes a sense of style and uniqueness and is guaranteed to create a warm, inviting look to your property.