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Have you finally taken a good hard look at your front door? Have you convinced yourself and everyone else in your family that replacing that old, rotting entry door will be the best thing to do and add value to your home? Are you finally so frustrated over the door not functioning properly, the draft you feel on a cold day, the constant fading and the lock not working properly? I can understand your frustration with an exterior door that is old and worn out. That exterior glass door with the foggy glass that is constantly getting on your nerves worsens your frustrations. You are now faced with either a door repair, refinishing your door or a replacement entry unit. Do you repair, fix, replace or refinish that ole entry door? We need to take several things into consideration before venturing into the replacement, repair or refinishing of your door unit. Ask yourself why the door needs repair or replacement and what may have caused it (other than age) to look so old and worn out? If your front entry door is made of wood, is stained and is fading, be sure to review what the sun exposure the unit has. A stained door with a polyurethane finish, which has faded, may have sun exposure that is in excess of industry standards. Only about 15 years ago the polyurethane on exterior doors was allot different than what is available today and not too environmentally friendly. Because of the environmental laws in place today the UV protection in the polyurethane does not do a very good job of standing up the vicious rays of the sun. In general, the poly is not nearly as good as it was about 15- 20 years ago. In addition, if your door happens to have had a red tone color stain, such as a cherry or red mahogany, that red pigment is always the first color pulled out by the rays of the sun, changing the tone of the door to something with a browner tone in just a few months. Do not get me wrong; chances are the door still looks good and wonderful, but that red pigment will definitely get "bleached out" by the UV rays. More importantly is the polyurethane protection that is no longer doing what it is meant to do, protect the species of wood, but that is not obvious to your eyes at first glance. Small cracks develop in the poly allowing moisture penetration and the swelling, cracking and splitting of the lumber. Makes no difference what the lumber is, it could be oak, mahogany, cherry or cedar, a door that is stained that has polyurethane failure will have door/wood failure if not maintained. Constant, perhaps 2 or 3 times a year, maintenance is needed on a stained mahogany door with sun exposure or any species of a wood door. Even if your door happens to be a painted door that you have painted over and over again, you will still have failure in the form of rotting. Once again sun exposure is relative and most likely the cause. Sure expansion, contraction, rain and snow will destroy the wood over time, but it is the sun that is always the root of the problem. A nice paint job will always spiff the door up and look new again but that is really a way of putting a band-aid over a bleeding cut. The door unit with that type of exposure will continue to deteriorate as water will find a way to penetrate the hairline cracks which by the way are not visible to your eye. The sun has created a condition in whatever finish there may be; painted or stained that allows moisture to be consumed by the lumber, sort of like a sponge. This moisture penetration will cause severe rotting, panel failure and split stiles over
time and eventually you will have a door unit with complete failure. The need for maintenance still exists for a painted door as there is with a stained door with sun exposure. New fresh topcoats of paint for a painted door and a new topcoat of polyurethane for a stained door are required. Another option for a stained door is a marine wax. Each change of seasons, the door unit should be waxed to protect the finish, sort of like waxing a car. It is important to avoid any prolonged development of those cracks not seen by the eye. When you can see those cracks with a quick glance, you know they have been there for a while and you better move quickly. Continuing our discussion about sun exposure is important so you as a homeowner have a clear understanding. Sun will create chaos to anything that is exposed for a lengthy period of time. Just think about leaving your dining room table on you back deck in the sun and what it will look like in just a few short weeks. Unless of course you are growing tomatoes, grass, flower or corn, the sun is not a good ingredient for a door. Wood exposed for a long period of time to the sun and the UV rays will require maintenance, constant maintenance. So how can you determine if your door unit is exposed excessively to sun, and exceeds exposure to industry standards? Let us begin with the direction your door is facing. Stand by your door and take notice to where the sun rises and sets. We all know the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, so you should be able to determine this without the aid of a compass. If this problem door is facing south, west or southwest...you have an exposure problem, which will need to be addressed. The sun is at its hottest, strongest most damaging time in the late afternoon. So a southern exposure or a southwest exposure is the most critical. Your door, if facing in either of those directions will take a beating. Most all, if not every door manufacturer today require an overhang equal in size from the bottom of your door to the bottom of you overhang, or "X" needs to equal "Y". If "X" is your 7-foot door unit and to the bottom of your overhang is an additional 3 feet, then "X" will equal 7 + 3, or 10 feet. Now "Y" will need to be 10 feet as well to be with-in manufacturers warranty standards. Manufacturers do not take this requirement standard lightly, so be sure you have an accurate understanding of the warranty and accurate measurements of "X" and "Y" to protect yourself. Know your warranty and know your exposure, it can save you thousands. Now a door unit-facing north or east will have a different set of rules. While "X" remains as "X" and "Y" remains "Y", the difference is now "Y" only has to be 1/2 of "X". So in our example above the overhang will only need to be 5 feet, instead of 10 feet that is required for a south/southwest exposure. Although it may seem a bit confusing and manufacturers are "strict" in the enforcement of the warranty, it really is for your own protection so you can make the appropriate decisions when it comes time to your exterior door. Repair that exterior glass door, fix that foggy piece of glass, refinish that fading door or replace that old entry door with confidence knowing what your exposure is and avoiding failure in the future again. Make sure you have the manufacturer's warranty, in writing, in your hand and all parties understand it what is covered and not covered. Most, if not all warranties for an exterior door will not cover any labor to replace it and will not cover anything if you have too much sun exposure. So you decide, repair, replace or refinish that old exterior door.
The author of this article is Peter Sicoli. Peter owns and operates Somerset Hills Doors and
Architectural Millwork a successful service company to residential homeowners and commercial buildings.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Peter_Sicoli
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