If You Keep Up With These Maintenance Habits, Your Fiberglass Entry Doors Should Last A Very Long Time.
A sparrow may have perched on your shoulder once and told you,
“Psst, fiberglass entry doors are Maintenance Free, I promise” but, it was fibbing.
As one of America’s leading fiberglass entry door experts, Today’s Entry Doors consultants will be the first to tell you there’s definitely some maintenance involved.
Are the elbow grease requirements in the same league as a natural wooden door; like maybe a thick & rosey Douglas Fir craftsman? No way. Not even close.
Whether you’ve already purchased fiberglass entry doors for your home, or you’re considering the investment and researching to see what it’s like to be an owner, we’ll begin this micro-lesson with anatomy.
Basic Fiberglass Door On Composite Frame
Please take that image with a grain of salt. The point is just to show you the most common parts of the door system. We typically install fiberglass doors on composite frames here in the Orange County, CA area.
These might not apply in every case, but we thought it prudent to add basic precautions. According to fiberglass door manufacturers, the following substances may damage their protective finishes.
Do not use:
- Vinegar-based cleaners (use on glass only)
- Citrus-based cleaners (lemon, etc.)
- Paint removers
- Window cleaners
- Brick/siding washes
- Any other industrial or abrasive cleaners
Important Parts To Occasionally Inspect
Your installer will be there to ensure the brand new entry doors are without superficial defects and fit perfectly like a glove for an air-tight seal. They’ll inspect all the original hardware and components in the beginning, then over time it’s your responsibility to occasionally inspect and maintain them.
- Bottom Door Seal ‘Sweep’: Throughout usage, this often rubber-based product should be checked to ensure it’s holding up. Look for damage, dropping or sagging, bunching and overlapping, and overall loss of effectiveness. Is it cracking or getting brittle?
- Sealant Joint: If or when the time comes that a sealant joint needs to be repaired, the 100% silicone sealants are the most durable options, but the downside is you can’t paint them. Go with polyurethane if the sealant joint is painted, and always follow sealant manufacturer instructions.
- Corner Seal Pads: These are located right there at the seal jam joint. As long as they’ve been properly installed, they should last. Over time, be attentive to the short line of caulking at the bottom and keep it in great condition.
- Bottom Sweep: If your door has a bottom sweep, like the weatherstipping, just keep it in good condition as the door is opened and closed hundreds and thousands of times throughout the seasons.
Other Entry Door Components to Watch
- Overall Appearance: Nothing in existence is 100% impervious to breaking down, and water over time carves through mountains. Fiberglass is incredibly resistant, but occasionally inspect your doors for any deterioration/discoloration at the bottom corners, or softness.
- Hinges: Hinges take a beating. Keep them lubricated and clean any rust that shows up, pitting, or corrosion. They’re really easy to replace as well.
- Coastal Doors: If you live by the sea, you should check your fiberglass door twice as often (like most of our coastal customers) as someone inland. Salt water and ocean air are especially hard on building materials.
Cleaning Your Fiberglass Doors
Ironically, the NUMBER ONE thing we tell our customers when it comes to maintaining their fiberglass entry doors is,
“Don’t wash it down with your garden hose, or any hose for that matter!”
They really do, they look as sturdy as rock, but you can’t just casually squirt them down while washing the porch or walkway off and call it a day. Despite your fiberglass door not having joints or the weaknesses of wood, it’s not a good idea. You don’t want those almost-impossible-to-remove spots and streaks water can leave once dried (especially when dried in direct sunlight).
The Best Way to Clean the door is using the same delicate approach you would with any piece of fine furniture. Wipe it down with a soft non-abrasive cloth using a little light soap and water. Be careful when using any kind of chemicals, and check manufacturer guidelines.
Pay Attention to Replaceable ‘Q-Lon’ Weatherstripping
Aside from the more common ‘Bottom Door Seal’ weather strip, what we’re referring to here is this special flexible door seal around the top and both sides that can be accidentally torn. They also wear out over time.
It’s IMPERATIVE that you replace this to keep your door functioning properly.
Most premium models of fiberglass entry doors feature a convincingly-textured ‘skin’ that helps save energy and provides insulation. Together with the molding, glass, and hardware, our manufacturers give these skins a real life. But, they need to be inspected and cared for.
Don’t Neglect General Lubrication
The third big tip we help our customers put emphasis on in terms of maintenance is lubrication – probably one of the most common means of door maintenance homeowners unintentionally neglect.
- We recommend Silicone Spray for the moving parts of newly-installed door systems less than 6 months to a year old. This includes the hinges (3-in-One or equivalent), door patches, knobs, and deadbolts.
- They come factory lubricated, but need a little extra from time to time.
Keep An Eye on The Finish
A good portion of our customers have fiberglass entry doors exposed to the elements for a good part of the day, like the afternoon sun. And while our factory-finish warranties are the best in the industry, they cannot include ‘fading’ for obvious reasons.
At some point the finish of your fiberglass door will fade due specifically to sun (vs. some other kind of damage), and when this happens just apply another ‘top coat’ as soon as possible. For painted doors, the same applies. The only crucial thing to remember is to read your door manufacturer guidelines and use only those products that fall within them.
Wrapping Up – Quick Rehash
Alright, well done, you’ve now given yourself a min-education in maintaining your entry doors. We covered the framework of your door, the basics on inspecting and maintaining these fine products over time (outside major emergencies or signs of defect), and cleaning 101. If you’re in our area and in the market for gorgeous new entry doors, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask as many questions as your heart desires – we specialize in nothing else. We’re here to help. Thanks for your time today.