Why Wood Doors Swell and Expand

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Why Wood Doors Swell and Expand


Does your wood door become difficult to open and close during certain times of the year? That’s because wood doors have a tendency to swell and expand. In this blog, roofing and siding contractor Custom Installations shares a look at why this happens and what you can do to prevent or reduce it.

Heat and Humidity

Variations in heat and humidity levels cause wood expansion and contraction. Natural wood is inherently porous. Without waterproofing, wood will absorb as much moisture as it can and eventually swell and expand. When set in a warm and humid environment, wooden doors tend to push against the frames, resulting in stuck or difficult-to-open doors. Depending on the kind of wood, the swelling may become less as the moisture evaporates from the wood.

There are, however, certain instances where the wood doesn’t shrink back. If this is the case the solution is to sand or plane the door sash. You need to take care not to take off too much, otherwise it would introduce gaps that could affect the door’s energy efficiency.

Regular Maintenance

Even low-maintenance house components like metal roofing need maintenance. Wood components in your home require more maintenance, as it needs to be treated for protection from heat and humidity. Wood doors need to be scraped and inspected before it can be primed for painting. If properly done, heat and moisture shouldn’t be problems at all.

If you choose to keep the natural wood look and use wood stain, check the door for “bald spots” in the waterproofing. Try splashing water on the door. If it forms droplets or beads on the surface, the waterproofing is still good. Otherwise the wood will absorb some of the moisture. If this happens, the door needs to be restained.

Non-Wood Options

If you are looking into getting a new entry door, non-wood options such as steel or composite are suitable replacements, indistinguishable from natural wood. They are also durable options and won’t be as susceptible to expansion and contraction caused by heat and moisture.

Custom Installations is your leading provider of entry door installation and roofing services. Give us a call at (847) 979-5522 or fill out our contact form. We serve customers in Northbrook, IL, and surrounding areas.

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