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12 Tips To Extend The Life Of Your Entry Doors

When you invest in beautiful, energy-efficiency, and high-performance entry doors you want them to last as long as possible. 

Right?

And last they can, as long as you maintain them. While modern manufacturing has performed miracles in comparison to the entry doors of yesteryear, time and weather still take their toll. 

If your home is like most others, the doors are being used throughout each and every single day! So durability is a serious concern. 

Let’s look at 12 tips to extend the life of your entry doors, split up between steps you can take Before & After installation. 

Enjoy!

Entry Door Maintenance Tips Before Installation

Tip #1: Upgrade Your Shabby Entry Door!

Okay, first thing’s first. Listen, if right now you’re online trying to figure out how to make that busted-up old entry door of yours continue on well past its prime…you might consider finally taking the leap and upgrading!

In the long run, you’re going to dramatically lower your maintenance requirements and cost and save money on energy efficiency. Cheap outdated and incredibly weathered doors are hard to extend too far beyond their service lifetime.

If you’re in the Orange County, CA area, call Today’s Entry Doors, and one of our consultants will guide you to the perfect match for your home and budget.

Tip #2: Consider The Direction Your Entry Door Faces

A core reason to work with professionals like Today’s Entry Doors is… that’s ALL we do. Nothing else. We don’t install doors… AND… siding, roofing, windows, etc.

Just doors.

So we’re going to ensure you make the perfect choice based on your situation. One example is choosing the right doors for the right directions:

  • Orange County (OC) entry doors that face north and south get little to no sun, so they typically weather at a much slower rate.
  • Entry doors that face east or west, on the other hand, will be exposed to much harsher conditions.  

While the sun’s lovely rays can damage your entry door’s finish and colors, luckily some models absorb less than others.

Speaking of colors…

Tip #3: Consider The Impacts Of Entry Door Color

When we’re replacing entry doors facing west or south, we lean towards lighter colors to help limit the amount of heat gain. This is another way to extend the life of your doors and slow the weathering process. 

Thankfully, when you work with manufacturers like THERMA-TRU® and opt for modern fiberglass entry doors, their paints can be stripped and refinished.

Entry Door Maintenance Tips After Installation

Tip #4: Perform Normal Regular Inspections

Below we’re going to get into specific components and how often to inspect them. However, as a rule of thumb, here in Orange County, California, you want to inspect exterior doors once a month.

In areas of the country which don’t have near as much saltwater in the air, less often is perfectly fine — annual checkups.

Tip #5: Clean Your Entry Doors Twice A Year

Want to keep that ‘like new’ look? Then get into the habit of cleaning your entry doors at least twice a year — Spring & Fall are ideal. Any more than that and people might get the idea you’re obsessed.

High-caliber entry doors should be approached carefully, like you would a classic car, fine jewelry, or antique furniture. So consult your manufacturer guidelines before applying any cleaning products. Or, simply call and talk to your installer.

  • Note: Generally, you’ll want to stick with mild soap and water. And don’t use the hose to avoid water streaking, but a gentle set of wet and dry cloth towels.
Tip #6: Maintain All Entry Door Glass

If your entry door’s glass is in bad shape, your home’s energy efficiency goes down the tubes. You want to make sure to replace cracked glass and repair obvious sealing issues. Also, quickly address any crooked panels or mullions.

If your door has insulated or multi-pane glass, look for fogging and moisture between the panels. Here again, you’ll need to check and see which seals are failing. When in doubt, ring your installer.

Tip #7: Maintain & Lubricate Hardware Annually

Is the doorknob wiggling a little? Is one of the hinges looking loose? Does that handle suddenly have some give? How are the faceplates? It only takes a minute to check your entry door’s hardware ready to polish, tighten, and lubricate.

While you’re at it, you can check the locking system to see if it’s in perfect working order. If it’s stiff, just add a smidgen of lubricant.

Tip #8: Maintain/Check Joints & Seals Annually

We adore installing JELD-WEN® entry doors for our Orange County customers.

Here’s a quick, helpful quote straight from the manufacturer:

“A proper seal of the joints in the door system, between the door system and the exterior surface of the structure, will provide a barrier against the elements and will keep water and/or air from leaking into the house.”

You’re looking for signs of wear and tear: cracking, unsightly voids, gaps, overt deterioration, and loss of adhesion. In cases like these, we recommend calling your installer or local professionals.

For DIY’ers, here are three more big tips to keep in mind:

  • Pure silicone sealants are the most durable, but you won’t be able to paint them.
  • For painted doors, use a pure polyurethane sealant. 
  • Always follow the sealant manufacturer’s instructions for proper application.
Tip #9: Maintain/Check Weatherstripping Once A Year

Simply take your hands and run them along the seams of your entry doors – sides, as well as top and bottom. If you feel a draft, that’s an issue. It means your weatherstripping is faulty and needs to be repaired or replaced.

Signs of wear and tear include: gaps, missing or torn pieces, areas becoming brittle, discoloring, gummy areas, and a lack of firmness.

When replacing, remember these general precautions:

  • Solvents or petroleum-based products may damage or dissolve weatherstripping.
  • Alcohol should always be tested on a small area first.
  • No solvents or silicone should touch surfaces around the weatherstrip.
  • No abrasives, sanders, or anything sharp near the weatherstrip.
Tip #10: Keep Up On Your Gutter & Overhang Maintenance

When the gutters system breaks down, it can have disastrous consequences on not just your roof, but entry doors (and windows) as well! Their one and only job is to keep water from getting to the home — so, be sure those downspouts transport water at least 10 feet away.

Once they’re overwhelmed, they can crack, sag, and bow, and the trouble begins. Help keep your gorgeous entry doors in great shape by helping your gutters do their jobs. Clean them every year, or as necessary.

Tip #11: Annually Inspect Your Entry Door’s Slab & Frame

In Orange County and along the coasts, it’s widely recommended to inspect your door slab and frame once a month; annually for the rest of the county away from the ocean air.

Over the years, this is going to not just maintain the look of the door, but extend its life by maintaining the protective layer keeping it shielded from the elements.

Tip #12: Consider Applying New Finish Every 3-5 Years

When appropriate, it’s generally recommended to apply a fresh coat of finish to your entry doors every 3-to-5 years. Remember, even the most high-end entry doors with outstanding factory finishes will wear over time.

For example, we install Therma-Tru doors, and the finishes on some of their top lines are still going to deteriorate over time. Although, many people feel light entry door maintenance is part of the joy of being a homeowner.

Final Tip: Contact Today’s Entry Doors

And there you have it, twelve simple tips you can use as a checklist to extend the life of your entry doors. When you work with the best manufacturers and have them installed by professionals, minimal maintenance goes a LONG way. Thanks for your time today.