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  • Refurbish/Develop

    How to stop expanding door? Fitter to blame?

    Hi

    About 5 months ago I had an internal door fitted. It is near the entrance of the house so will get a lot of cold air from outside.

    The door was already primed, however as the installer had to cut it to size, the edges were raw wood, left untreated.

    As the months got colder, the door kept expanding. I sanded down the door frame (not the door) about 3-4 times so the door closes smoothly, which was fine for a day or two, but would then continue to expand.

    I now realised that perhaps it was continuously expanding as the edges were not treated. I was planning on painting the door (which I would prime first), but is this the reason why the door keeps expanding? Would this be resolved by simply using a primer on the door edges?

    Secondly, if this is the case, should the installer have been responsible for either doing this or advising me of this?

    Thanks in advance

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    >As the months got colder, the door kept expanding. I sanded down the door frame (not the door) about 3-4 times so the door closes smoothly, which was fine for a day or two, but would then continue to expand.

    >I now realised that perhaps it was continuously expanding as the edges were not treated. I was planning on painting the door (which I would prime first), but is this the reason why the door keeps expanding? Would this be resolved by simply using a primer on the door edges?

    It is very unlikely to be expanding because it is cold; it is far more likely to be because it is damp or the atmosphere is too humid.

    I think you perhaps need to consider whether your house is too damp. If you are refurbishing, it may perhaps be the house drying out after all the work. I would look at damp as the cause and ventilation as the solution, and perhaps consider if dynamic conditions over the period were the actual cause. I guess that it *could* be T-lifestyle, if someone is in the property.

    Personally I never treat the edges of internal doors anwyay.>Secondly, if this is the case, should the installer have been responsible for either doing this or advising me of this?

    >I think this depends on the terms you agreed and discussed, and imo being a professional running a business I would expect it to be my lookout.

    However, YMMV, and you are the one on the spot.

    ML

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    "It is very unlikely to be expanding because it is cold; it is far more likely to be because it is damp or the atmosphere is too humid." - Yes, the cold atmosphere from the outside vs the warm atmosphere on the inside = Excess moisture, especially when it's raining. Like I said, this door is located near the entrance of the house.

    There is no dampness in the house so that rules that out. 

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    There may be no apparent dampness on walls.  But if the humidity is high in the house.....  (aka dampness....)

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    It is vital to seal all joinery properly on all edges otherwise it will invalidate  most warranty or guarantees.

    Timber is kiln dried before it is processed into joinery to regulate the moisture content and stabilise it otherwise it swells up after it's fitted if it's not sealed.

    Kr

    A

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    You seem to have two problems,

    1 - internally fitted door that has a cut/planed edge that isnt sealed/primed, this is allowing moisture ingress

    2- excess moisture in the dwelling near the entrance, (enough to cause the internal door to keep swelling).

    If you prime the internal door your still left with enough moisture in the air to swell a door ( i personally would deal with this first) . Granted without seeing the issue 1st hand its ultimately guess work

    I'm a joiner with 20+ years experience and to answer the original question about should your tradesman have sealed the door then maybe he should its something i do personally yet i know others who don't and never have problems due to the property have stable humidity

    Hope this helps

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    Kiln dried timber in an indoor environment will shrink and expand seasonally on an forever continuing basis as humidity (and therefore moisture content of timber) changes with the seasons/internal climate.  Perhaps counter-intuitively, internal woodwork can often be driest in the middle of winter when a house is heated and the exterior air is cold (cold air = reduced ability to hold moisture).  Autumn is often the time of year a sticking door will be at it's worst - wet weather and mild temps (no heating) lead to higher humidity inside a house.  If your fitter installed doors at a time when humidity in the house is low, it inevitable a little expansion will occur when humidity increase and if only a small gap to frame was left, only a tiny amount of expansion has to occur for door to stick.

    Sealing/painting exposed wood will slow down the rate at which it's moisture content  changes, but wont stop it and it's associated movement from occuring.

    The solution is to plane the door, not sand the frame.

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    http://www.smartbuild.uk.com | Consulting Structural Engineer

    From memory - when fitting new doors the rationale is that vertical gaps between door/frame should be about thickness of a 10p coin all round.

    Also check that hinge screws are all tight - and that hinges are properly rebated in to frame so as to be flush with frame

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    I have this sort of problem with my internal wooden front door at most stages of the year. Plane it down to where it can't cause a problem, then seal all edges and see how you get on? It is annoying though!

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    Also remember Pythagorus - sq on hypotenuse is biggest.

    So maybe just sand a tad off the outside front edge of the front door - thereby reducing diagonal dimension where needed - just enough to clear the inside edge of frame when opening/closing.

    May even just be paint build up on that location

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    Bare timber will expand in the slightest of damp conditions and in opposite effect will shrink in a warm climate. 

    Any appropriate application of paint or sealant applied will help reduce these effects.

    It would be helpful if the installer had advised you on this however not sure if they could or should be held responsible at later date if door operated correctly when they left.




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