A common worry people have before they buy a salvaged door is that it might warp. You might think that it’s old, so that means it isn’t in good condition? Well, that is not necessarily the case. In this post Historic Doors will try to answer the question: Do reclaimed doors warp?
Age does not correspond to condition
A major misconception around reclaimed and salvaged materials is that because they are old, they are in bad condition. Wrong! Do you also think that antiques in Christie’s are in bad condition, just because they are old? Are 200-year-old muskets from the Napoleonic Wars damaged or faulty, just because of their age? Probably not, because someone has looked after them. A 200-year-old Georgian Door is the same. What matters is the care that it has been given, not its age.
In actual fact, doors made from old growth wood are more durable than modern doors, because of their denser grain structure. Growth rings of wood are made of tougher, drier and less absorbent wood. This is important when considering whether warping will be a problem because moisture is the enemy here.
Why do doors warp?
Doors warp because they get wet. This leads to the door swelling in certain places, for example on the side that is exposed to the elements. This swelling leads to the door’s shape being changed, a phenomenon that we call warping. Warping tends to be most noticeable in the spring and early summer when wood which has been wet for several months starts to dry out.
What should I do if my door is warped?
If you have a warped door, there is no need to panic. The solution isn’t particularly delicate, but it does work. Lie the offending door down, so that the warp makes the door curve like a rainbow. Two sawhorses work best for this. Then find as many heavy objects as possible and leave them on the door. It’s best to do this somewhere humid, as the moisture will stop the door from cracking. Once the warp has bent out again, you can take the weights off.
Sanding to fix warping
If the top or bottom of the door is swollen and won’t fit into the frame then you need to get a belt sander out. If you don’t have one we recommend you find a local professional to help you. Sand the top and bottom of the door until it fits better. Too little sanding is better than too much, as it is much easier to take more off. If this is an external door then we don’t recommend taking this approach and instead suggest that it is probably time for a new door.
How we fix warped doors
Here at Historic Doors, we make sure that all our doors are unwarped before sale. We try to eliminate this problem at the source and don’t procure any warped doors unless they are salvageable. This prevents headaches for both us and our customers. Warped doors can be a problem, as they can let in water from outside into your home, increasing the risk of damp and problems with electricals.