A good house has all its components in the perfect place, and well-maintained doors are synonymous with its safety and security. A door not only gives access to the inside of your household but is also the first thing one comes and notices in your apartment. Hence, doors should be given top priority in home maintenance. Whether it is a serious issue like a broken lock or a minor disturbance like a squeaky noise, nothing should be ignored and left unattended.
Here are a few common defects of doors which you should be vigilant about and which are given importance during home inspection too.
1. Wood Attacking Pests
Termites, beetles and carpenter ants attack woodwork in a house and render them porous thereby making them weak and brittle. They primarily attack wooden doors and eat away the frames. But locating these pests inside the door frames is quite tough. Sometimes before you even identify the pest attack, the wood is hollow from within and conditions are really tough to manage. Termites attack damp, organic wood and stay there and bore through the woods. They are attracted to cellulosic objects in general. They can destroy doors completely. These doors are not safe; they can just collapse or break anytime. You can detect the presence of these pests by looking at:
- Termite signs: Termite mud, cracks on door frame or corners, hollow-sounding wood, discarded wings, etc.
- Borer signs: Holes and powdered wood. Boring beetles are not visible from outside. You can only gauge their presence by knocking on the door parts having tiny holes. If dust comes out, you will know the door is infested by borers.
To know how to protect your doors from these menaces, click here.
2. Wood with Dead Knot
Timber, like any natural product, has imperfections in it. There are knots inside the timber: a. live knots which are lighter in colour and do not fall out and b. dark-coloured dead knots which eventually fall out from the timber creating holes in their place. These knots decrease the structural strength of the timber. So, sections of wood with dead knots should be avoided for making door frames. Cracks develop from the knots reducing the longevity of the door to a significant extent.
3. Buckling Of Doors
Wood has a property of seasonal expansion due to which if no gap is provided between the panel and the frame, the door tends to buckle. This is an unavoidable problem and happens in almost every house. Once a wooden door buckles, then it becomes difficult to close it in some cases. In other cases, excess pressure is needed to close the door. To avoid this problem, the seasoning of wood is highly recommended. Also, adequate gaps should be provided between the panel and the frame to allow the wooden door to expand seasonally.
4. Cracks in Door Panel/Frame
Cracks in painted wooden door frames and panels may occur due to improper seasoning of wood or substandard wood. Cracks may also occur at frame joints & panel side edges. With time these cracks can become wider. In those cases, doors become more vulnerable to attack by pests. Mildly damaged wood can be repaired by Asian Paints Knifing Paste Filler1 or similar type product as per manufacturer’s specification.
5. Peeling off Laminate
Laminate works like a protection on the wooden surface. It saves the wood from damage, wear-and-tear. It gives an attractive look and finish at the door. Peeling away from the laminate not only gives a bad and unappealing look but also exposes the wood for further damage. For example, wooden doors without laminate attract pests. Peeling off laminate occurs due to mainly two reasons – improper pasting or excess moisture presence.
6. Peeling off Paint or paint deterioration
Paint is extremely important for both the door frame and panel. Paint not only gives your door a good finish and look, but also saves it from wear and tear for a longer time period. It saves the wood from coming in direct contact with moisture and dust. Moisture will lead to further damage to wood. Paint is extremely helpful in keeping off microbial infestation in wood. Paint also prevents colonization of termites and other pests in wood.
Now the question is why paint deteriorates or peels off the doors? There can be many reasons but it occurs mainly due to either of the following problems:
- Presence of excess moisture in the wood
- Inadequate treatment of the wooden door before painting
- Non-adherence to the paint manufacturer’s specifications
7. Defects in Manufacturing
Sometimes there are manufacturing defects in the latch, lock, stopper and other fittings. These defects lead to improper functioning of the door. Proper fittings related to door installation should be purchased or else there will be future problems.
8. Improper Alignment of Frames
In case of improper alignment of door panels and frames, there could be problems in closing the doors in certain seasons. Wood, as already mentioned, has a property of seasonal expansion. It absorbs moisture during the rainy season and swells which leads to difficulty in closing the door. Further, the door becomes tilted and sometimes, may hit the floor and damage the tiles. In other words, it may cause an obstruction in panel functioning. In case of extreme improper alignment, the doors might not close throughout the year.
9. Stability and Firmness
Stable, strong and firm doors are important for your house. They protect the house from any kind of unforeseen intrusions. It is difficult to break a strong door. Therefore, it is extremely important for you to invest in good quality, strong doors. Not only the doors but also good quality fitting & materials should be purchased. Improper installation and poor quality building materials can severely affect the longevity of the doors in your house.
10. Excessive Gap under Door Panel
A good door structure has well-calculated gaps, not too less not too large. It should be enough to accommodate the expanded door under the influence of moisture in monsoons. All kinds of sound, cold air, dust, insects enter the household through the gap between the door and the floor. One should be careful while installing doors. The uniform gap of 3mm to be maintained around all sides.
11. Inadequate Fasteners at The Frame
There should be a minimum of six fasteners for attaching the door with the frame. In case of less number of fasteners, there is a need for more firmness. Fasteners used should also be of proper quality and rust-free. Doors with rusty, improper fasteners have less longevity and require early replacement.
12. Gap around Door Frame
If gaps are left around the frame while installation, it can lead to attack by pests. Termites and beetles may settle down in these gaps. Moisture and dust may also accumulate there. This stimulates microbial growth leading to damage to the property. Gaps should be essentially filled or else it might lead to loss of strength of the doors and moisture-related damage to property.
13. Separation Crack around Frame with Painted Wall
Separation between masonry walls and door frames is another major problem in households. Basically, these cracks occur due to the different co-efficient of thermal expansion2 of wood and masonry wall i.e. brick masonry. A gap occurs between them as expansion and contraction of both is different during change in temperature, which we identify as cracks.
14. Loose Fittings and Improper Lubrication
Proper lubrication is extremely important for doors or else they will not have a free movement and squeak. Lubrication keeps the hinges rust free and the door movement is without hindrance. Providing periodic lubrication to fittings can help to keep your doors function smoothly. Paying attention to tower bolts, locks and hinges, leads to noise free, smooth and easy operations. In case of tight fittings, there will be trouble in closing and opening the door and in case of loose-fitting, there will be gaps left around which will lead to unwanted stuff entering the household.
These problems mentioned above often lead to the weakening of doors in the house. They may become dysfunctional and collapse anytime. Their durability may be so much compromised that any external force of slightly bigger magnitude will be able to break them thereby putting your property’s security at stake. Hence, you need to pay the utmost attention to door problems and defects. Professional home inspection services accurately identify all these problems and suggest the best possible solutions. If you are opting for one such service, listen to their advice and fix the problems as soon as possible.