How to Store, Handle, Finish, Install and Maintain Wood Doors
Storage And Handling
Store doors flat on a level surface in a dry, well-ventilated building. Doors should not come in contact with water. Doors should be kept at least 3-1/2" off the floor and should have protective coverings under the bottom door and over the top. Covering should protect doors from dirt, water and abuse but allow for air circulation under and around the stack.
Avoid exposure of interior doors to direct sunlight. Certain species (e.g., cherry, mahogany, walnut, teak) in an unfinished state are more susceptible to discoloration if exposed to sunlight or some forms of artificial light. To protect doors from light damage after delivery, opaque wrapping of individual doors may be specified.
Do not subject interior doors to extremes of heat and/or humidity. Do not allow doors to come in contact with water. Prolonged exposure may cause damage. Buildings where humidity and temperature are controlled provide the best storage facilities (recommended conditions 25%-55% RH and 50°(F) to 90°(F).
Do not install doors in buildings that have wet plaster or cement unless they have been properly finished. Do not store doors in buildings with excessive moisture content - HVAC systems should be operating and balanced.
Doors should always be handled with clean hands or while wearing clean gloves.
Doors should be lifted and carried when being moved, not dragged across one another.
Wood is hygroscopic and dimensionally influenced by changes in moisture content caused by changes within its surrounding environment. To assure uniform moisture exposure and dimensional control, all surfaces must be finished equally.
Doors should not be considered ready for finishing when initially received. Before finishing, remove all handling marks, raised grain, scuffs, burnishes and other undesirable blemishes by block sanding all surfaces in a horizontal position with a 120, 150 or 180 grit sandpaper. Solid core flush doors due to their weight naturally compress the face veneer grain while in the stack. Therefore, sanding of the overall surface will be required to open the veneer grain to receive a field applied finish evenly. To avoid cross grain scratches, sand with the grain.
Certain species of wood, particularly oak, may contain extractives which react unfavorably with foreign materials in the finishing system. Eliminate the use of steel wood on bare wood, rusty containers or other contaminates in the finishing system.
A thinned coat of sanding sealer may be applied prior to staining to promote a uniform finish and avoid sharp contrasts in color or a blotchy appearance. Door manufacturers are not responsible for the final appearance of field finished doors. It is expected that the painting contractor will make adjustments as needed to achieve desired results.
All exposed wood surfaces must be sealed including top and bottom rails. Cutouts for hardware in exterior doors must be sealed prior to installation of hardware and exposure to weather.
Dark colored finishes should be avoided on all surfaces if the door is exposed to direct sunlight, in order to reduce the chance of warping or veneer checking.
Water-based coatings on unfinished wood may cause veneer splits, highlight joints and raise wood grain. If used on exterior doors, the coating should be an exterior grade products. When installed in exterior applications, doors must be properly sealed and adequately protected from the elements. Please follow the manufacturer's finish recommendations regarding the correct application and use of these products.
Be sure the door surface being finished is satisfactory in both smoothness and color after each coat. Allow adequate drying time between coats. Desired results are best achieved by following the finish manufacturer's recommendations. Do not finish doors until a sample of the finish has been approved.
Certain wood fire doors have fire retardant salts impregnated into various wood components that make the components more hygroscopic than normal wood. When exposed to high moisture conditions, these salts will concentrate on exposed surfaces and interfere with the finish. Before finishing the treated wood, reduce moisture content below 11% and remove the salt crystals with a damp cloth followed by drying and light sanding. For further information on fire doors, see the NWWDA publication regarding Installing, Handling & Finishing Fire Doors.