Care & Maintenance Of Internal Doors

Saad Iqbal | 🗓️Modified: December 3, 2018 | ⏳Read Time: 6 min | 👁Post Views: 45

Interior wooden doors don’t have it easy. They have to put up with shoe scuffs, bumps, knocks, dirt from passing pets, greasy hand prints, and more, every day of the year, but are still expected to keep looking their best. If you have just bought a beautiful set of interior wooden doors, or plan to renovate your existing doors, the following tips should help you bring out the best in them to ensure that they keep looking great as well as preserving and protecting them for much longer.

How to Choose the Right Interior Wood and Interior Wooden Door Treatment

If you don’t already know, you will be pleasantly surprised by the number of door styles, sizes, and construction types. There are 2, 4, 6, and 8 panel doors made of Cherry, Walnut, Pine, and Oak, to name just a few featuring either hollow construction or solid wood and they come either unfinished or finished i.e. varnished, waxed, or pre-oiled… or simply left natural. Making the right choice can be quite the challenge, as you can imagine, and most people typically base their final decision on the cost and appearance.

 About Pre-Finished Interior Doors

If you select pre-finished doors, you can check the paperwork provided by the manufacturer to find out which stain, if any, and varnish, wax, or oil finish that has been used to treat them. If not, you should ask the seller if not the manufacturer. It is a good idea to find out whether the seller or manufacturer can supply the wood stain and finishing products used on the doors or whether they know someone that can. It is advisable to have some handy, in case the door ever gets damaged.

 About Unfinished Interior Doors

Besides the style of door itself, unfinished doors come with a world of possibilities. The final finish options are virtually countless, everything from traditional natural Oak with a soft satin or matte sheen to something unusual, if not unique. You will also find a wide variety of wood finishing products that you can use on your interior doors, both colored and clear, including wood stains, waxes, oils, and varnishes.

What You Need to be Aware of When You Finish Internal Doors

One common issue that people that have veneered wooden interior doors encounter is finding out that the door label advises against using certain wood finishes. Sometimes they warn against using certain specific products. Other times, the warnings from the manufacturer cover a variety of products that include waxes, varnishes, and oils. Does it mean that you aren’t allowed to use the products and do you risk damaging the wood if so? This is one interesting point that’s worth covering.

 What’s a Veneer?

Veneered wooden doors are typically made from a solid or hollow wooden core. The core is usually medium density fiberboard (MDF) or particle board. Powerful bonding agents and glues are used to attach a layer of high-quality veneer to the door’s core. The quality of modern veneered doors often comes down to the type of wood, they type of core, and the veneer’s thickness.

 About 20th Century Mass Production

Wood veneers have been used to produce high quality finishes for centuries. However, mass production saw quality take a nosedive in the mid to late 20th century as the drive for thinner, cheaper veneers and glues started taking hold. It sometimes led to the de-lamination of veneers, i.e. peeling off the internal doors when certain products were used or in extreme heat. It is the reason why so many manufacturers today have disclaimers on their products discouraging the use of products that they believe may have an effect on the veneer. It is something historic.

Why Do Today’s Manufacturers Still Warn Against the Use of Wood Finishes on Veneered Doors?

Today, over 90 percent of veneered doors come from the Far East. It is highly likely that all the Far East manufacturers took the lead from one large original producer, providing warnings about wood finishes without checking whether or not the risk is actually genuine. We are well placed to talk about wood finishes, unlike the manufacturers since it is our area of expertise. We supply a wide variety of products from multiple manufacturers who all concur that waxes, oils, paints, varnishes, and so on actually don’t penetrate deeper than 1mm into a veneer.
Why is the thickness of the veneer important? In reality, today’s veneers are rarely ever less than a millimeter thick and since today’s finishes hardly ever penetrate more than a millimeter into the wood’s surface, it is highly unlikely that they can interact with the glue that bonds the veneer to the door’s core. Simply put, unless the veneer is very badly worn, modern wood finishes cannot penetrate deeply enough to make the veneer peel off.

Modern Wood Finishes Designed for Veneers

You are unlikely to come across anyone today that has used wood varnish, wax, or oil that has made the veneer peel off a door. It simply doesn’t happen. In fact, some companies produce door oils and other finishes designed specifically for veneered and solid interior doors.
Still, there’s one common sense thing you need to bear in mind: while you can say with confidence that the products we sell are okay to use on interior doors, using them against the advice provided by the manufacturer will invalidate the warranty that comes with the door.

 Perform a Patch Test First

The best advice is that if you wish to varnish, wax, oil, or stain a door of any type, is to do a small area first, preferably on the door bottom or edge where the wood can be sanded or cleaned in case the product fails to deliver the expected finish.
Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer on the packaging, take all the time you need to do an excellent job, and you will definitely never go far wrong. After all, since the internal doors in your home are used numerous times every single day, it is important to be happy with the results you end up with.

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