What Makes Wood Doors Swell?

What Makes Wood Doors Swell?

Jul 18, 2019


Does your wood door look like it got bigger? Chances are, it probably it. Wood doors have a tendency to become swollen depending on the time of the year. In this blog, home window repair contractor Quality Home Exteriors shares a closer look at why wood doors swell, and what you can do to stop it.

Heat and Humidity

Wood fibers expand when exposed to heat and humidity. Wood is naturally porous, and when left untreated, it readily absorbs moisture. When this happens, the wood swells. Heat also affects wood fibers through thermal expansion. This is why untreated or poorly-maintained wood doors tend to swell, enough to make the sashes push against the frames, resulting in stuck or hard-to-open doors. The recommended solution is to sand or plane the door sash. However, one has to be careful not to take off too much, otherwise it may end up leaving a large gap between the frame and sash.

Home window replacement contractors like us recommend regular maintenance to make sure the wood door is protected from heat and humidity. If you have a painted wood door, inspect it for blisters, cracks and peeling paint–signs of moisture intrusion. You will need to scrape, prime and repaint the wood door to make sure there is no entry point for moisture.

Stained wood may likewise have “bald” spots where the protective coating has worn off. Try splashing water on it: if the water forms beads or just floats down, the coating is still good. Otherwise, you’ll readily see the spots where the wood absorbed the moisture.

Non-Wood Options

If your entry door is up for replacement, consider non-wood options. Options like steel and composite doors are certainly not lacking in terms of aesthetics and performance. Steel doors are known for being extremely durable. If you’re still thinking about steel doors as the kind used in emergency exits, you’d be surprised to know that there are many steel door options that mimics real wood grain. And the best part is, it does not swell from exposure to moisture. Composite doors are another option you should consider. Composites such as fiberglass have superior moisture resistance and low maintenance requirements. It also expands and contracts evenly when exposed to temperature extremes, which prevents warping.

Quality Home Exteriors is your leading provider of entry door and window installation services. Give us a call at (402) 401-4505 or fill out our contact form. We serve customers in Lincoln, NE, and Kansas City, MO.


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