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Antoinette's picture

:confused:We need to replace a front and kitchen door on our home. However, I really don't like what I see at the big box stores, but don't know where else to turn. If you have any suggestions about where else we could purchase some cool doors like I see in decorating magazines, I would really appreciate it.
(They would be black-unfortunately no room for sidelights or a transom-we are in the Kitchener Waterloo area)

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ethanpaul's picture

The Window Gang are specialize in installation, replacement, repair and renovations of Windows, Doors, Jeld WenDoors in Calgary and surrounding areas.

Nestor_Kelebay's picture

People should be aware that wood is not a great insulator.

The R value of wood varies from about 0.7 per inch for hardwoods to about 1.4 per inch for most softwoods.

Compare that to 3.5 per inch for fiberglass or 5 per inch for extruded polystyrene foam like RoofMate, which is what's typically in a metal or fiberglass door. Obviously, a door with extruded polystyrene or polyurethane insulation in it is going to loose less heat than a solid wood door.

It's that lower insulating quality of wood as opposed to fiberglass insulation that results in "lines" of dirt forming on the exterior walls of homes where people smoke or burn lots of candles. The wall surface is coldest over the studs, so that's where tiny particles of dirt floating in the air lose the most energy, so that's the surface they land on. And, since the spots directly over drywall screws or nails is colder still, enough dirt will accumulate over those spots that you can find the drywall screw locations just by looking at the walls (and ceilings).

And, if you don't believe me, Google "Brownian Motion".

Nestor_Kelebay's picture

A door that is made from properly dried lumber SHOULD NOT warp if it's properly primed and painted with an exterior alkyd paint.

Latex paints are permeable to humidity in the air. So, if you paint an exterior door with a latex primer (or breathable exterior alkyd primer) and latex paint, the door WILL be able to absorb moisture through the paint (and the primer) and could swell or shrink (and thus warp) as a result.

Exterior alkyd paints are much less permeable to moisture in the air, and will prevent the wood in the door from absorbing moisture from the air, and that would prevent it from swelling and shrinking with seasonal changes in atmospheric humidity.

A word about "exterior alkyd primers":
There are two kinds of exterior alkyd primers; breathable and non-breathable. Breathable exterior alkyd primers contain extender pigments that are so large that as the primer dries and shrinks, air channels open up in the exterior primer, and these allow any moisture in the wood the primer is painted over to escape. Such "breathable" exterior alkyd primers will also allow changes in seasonal humidity to change the moisture content of the wood in the door, causing it to swell and shrink with those seasonal changes in humidity.

Non-breathable primers will have smaller extender pigments. So, as such an alkyd primer dries, air channels DON'T open up in the primer as it dries, and that results in the primer being impermeable to humidity in the air..

The alkyd primer you use depends on what you intend to top-coat with. If you intend to top-coat with a latex paint, then use the breathable exterior alkyd primer. If you intend to top coat with an alkyd paint, then use a non-breathable exterior alkyd primer since the top-coat alkyd paint won't breathe anyway.

So, if you were to paint a wood door with a non-breathable alkyd primer, and top coat with any alkyd paint, it shouldn't absorb moisture from the air, and shouldn't swell or shrink with seasonal changes in humidity (and therefore not warp).

But, about the only way of being certain a door won't warp (and rub against the frame when opened or closed) is to install a metal or plastic (PVC or fiberglass) door. A properly maintained coat of ALKYD paint on a wood door SHOULD work, but the trick is to maintain that coat of ALKYD paint to ensure that the wood doesn't absorb moisture from the air. (That means repainting any areas where the paint has rubbed off on the door frame.)

Antoinette's picture

Good idea to check out the yellow pages and box store catalogues. Our home is about 120 years old, so we get a lot of drafts. Would a wood door work, or would it warp from the elements? Metal ones don't really have much character from what I can see.

Nestor_Kelebay's picture

Home centres strive for high volume sales. They won't stock anything that doesn't sell fast enough to justify the floor space that it occupies. But, you should be able to order higher end doors from your home center. You should see if the manufacturers they carry have catalogues showing all the doors they make. If so, you should be able to order a higher end door from the home center.

Also, open your Yellow Pages phone directory to "Doors" , "Windows" and/or "Windows & Doors". Most companies that make and install windows, make and install doors too. You should find some high end doors being made locally.

Doors come in standard heights and standard widths. Measure your existing door to ensure that whatever you like comes in, or can be made in (or cut down to) that size.

You should also find out if your existing doors are pre-hung or not. If you have pre-hung doors, it'd probably be best to look for a pre-hung door you like.

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