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The Door House

Should I replace My Old Wood Garage Door?

Have you ever found yourself looking at your wooden garage door wondering if it’s worth applying another coat of paint/stain or if it would be better to replace it?  There are several factors that should be considered when making such a decision.

Painting or Staining

Generally, wood garage doors require a lot more maintenance than steel doors and can deteriorate very quickly if not maintained properly.  The most important maintenance is to be sure to keep the door sections properly sealed with paint/stain so water doesn’t begin to get into the wood.  UV rays from the sun are very hard on wood surfaces and the only thing protecting it is your paint or stain.  The more direct sun your door gets the more often you will need to refinish it.  While a south-facing door will likely require refinishing every year or two, a north-facing door may be fine for 5-7 years.  The key to watch for is if you see any bare wood or “dry” looking areas which means the wood is no longer properly sealed.  Once water and UV can directly impact the wood deterioration can be quite rapid.  If you catch it in time maintenance is as simple as applying another coat of finish.  If, however, you have left it too long and the old finish is flaking or peeling off you will likely need to sand down the entire surface and re-apply 2-3 coats for a proper seal.

Rot or Mold

Water and prolonged exposure to the elements can wreak havoc on an under-maintained garage door. Rot can be difficult to spot, but often the wood will either have a darker (or lighter) appearance than normal. Take a screwdriver or a similar pointed instrument and poke along the trim and bottom of the door. If your screwdriver cuts through the wood, then your wood garage door has rotted and action needs to be taken. Rot is not repairable, and it might be hard to track down the particular garage door manufacturer to replace sections, especially in the case of older doors. In such cases, an entire door replacement is usually more cost-effective.

Cracks or Warping and Sagging

Most older wood garage doors with rails and panels were made from short pieces of wood (often as short as 18” long) which were then finger-joined together to form the long rails that make up a garage door.  If the door was not kept properly sealed (see Painting/Staining) the door will dry out and the glue holding these finger joints together will start to pull apart.  This is considered a structural failure of the door and it should be replaced. These types of doors also tend to develop a bad sag over time (lower in the middle than on the ends).  Not only does this look bad, its also a sign the door is losing its structural integrity and should be replaced.

In many of the above cases, a garage door replacement would be necessary for practical reasons.  We find homeowners often replace wood doors simply because they are tired of painting the old door and want the benefits modern steel doors provide. Replacement is often much less expensive than people expect, and most new doors come with lifetime finish warranties.  Often people choose to replace their old garage door simply for aesthetic reasons. A new garage door is an easy way to quickly boost your home’s value, so replacing your old wood garage door is definitely something to keep in mind if you’re thinking of selling soon.

If you’re still unsure about whether to replace your old wood garage door or not, get in touch with The Door House today and find out how our decades of experience serving the Calgary area can help you make the right decision.