What to Do If Your Exterior Wood Door Warps

Written by ann azbill | 13/05/2017

An exterior wood door is not only functional, but is often used to add dignity and splendour to the outside of a home. Many times, an exterior wood door with magnificent stained or bevelled glass makes a statement of the interior decor and invites the visitor to seek entrance with great anticipation. If an exterior wood door warps, it not only may cause the house to look in ill repair; a warping may also cause loss of functionality.

Causes of Warping

Many things cause a door to warp, but moisture is the main concern. When doors come from the factory, some have more moisture content than others. If the area you are hanging the door in does not match the climate the door was manufactured in, this can create warping.

Climate changes can cause a wood door to warp. Winter which brings forth the heat in a home can dry a wood door out. Then with the summer moisture, the door becomes warped.

Continuous wear and tear of opening and shutting a door can cause the door to warp over time. Slamming a wood door can compound this problem.

Ways to Prevent Warping

Before hanging a door, let it set in the place where you are going to hang it for at least 24 hours. Letting the door set in the area before hanging will acclimate the door to the new surroundings.

Put two coats of wood sealant on all six sides of the door (front, back and all edges). To apply the sealant, lay the door flat and well supported (saw horses work well for this). Sealant tends to make the door flexible and if the door is not supported as the sealant is drying, the door may warp and won't fit in the door jam.

How to Fix a Warped Door

When a wood door sticks, look at where the door is sticking and mark that area on the door and the door jam. Take the pins out of the door hinges and remove the door. If the door is of exceptional quality and fine wood, obviously, you don't want to shave off any of the edges. In that case, consider moving one of the hinges slightly on the door jam to make the door hang more evenly. On the other hand, if you are considering refinishing the door anyway, shave off some of the edge that is sticking with a planer. Re-hang the door to make sure it fits, and then remove the door to refinish.

In some cases, the door stop can be moved to allow for the door being warped. The moulding on the door frame can also be adjusted by moving forward or back. When removing the moulding, be careful not to break it. Gently hammer a wood shim in between the moulding and the doorjamb to pry it off a little at a time. If that doesn't work, slide the narrow end of a crow bar underneath it, prying it loose a little at a time, taking care not to gouge the doorjamb or the moulding.

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