How to Inspect and Maintain Wood Garage Doors

© 2007 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Fall 2007
Author: Tom Wadsworth
Page 58

How to Inspect and Maintain Wood Garage Doors

Since steel garage doors have dominated the industry for the last quarter century, many door dealers are unaware of key maintenance issues for wood garage doors. The “maintenance-free” aspect of steel doors may have lulled us into forgetting the special requirements of wood doors.

Beautiful new wood door designs have enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in the last five years. To ensure that our customers remain satisfied with these products for the long term, we need to know how to properly inspect and maintain the finish of a wood garage door.

Start With the Finish
To maintain the aesthetic appearance and overall integrity of the door, the effects of moisture and sunlight must be controlled. A key issue affecting the durability of the finish is how the door was originally prepared for the prime and finish coats.

The door should always be finished before installation so that all six sides get covered. If a door is finished after installation, the manufacturer’s warranty may be voided. DASMA Technical Data Sheet (TDS) 162 is a helpful one-page summary of the proper guidelines for finishing a wood garage door.

Check It Out
Wood doors should generally be inspected, maintained, and cleaned every 12 to 18 months, or as often as specified in the manufacturer’s instructions. Frequency depends on many factors including type of wood, sun exposure, elevation (ultraviolet rays), and the original finish. Here’s what to inspect.

1. Topcoat Condition
Look for fading, peeling, chipping, or any residual buildup. If the door looks or feels dry, it’s probably time to refinish. Clean areas where the finish appears thin. Use cleaning and finishing products that are compatible with the original finish manufacturer’s guidelines.

2. Shrinkage and Expansion
If the surface shows the effects of shrinkage or expansion, treat the area by filling, caulking, sanding, and applying another topcoat of finish.

3. Surface Smoothness
To restore a smooth surface, you can lightly sand the entire face of the door before reapplying any paint or stain.

4. Integrity of the Wood
Visually inspect the wood at all hardware attachment points. If any hardware appears to be loose, a trained door systems technician should inspect for a safe attachment at all points.

Be sure to check the integrity of the top and bottom sections. The bottom section can wick up water and typically receives the most moisture. A solid top section helps ensure the secure attachment of the operator arm bracket and the top roller brackets.

5. Operational Hardware
See TDS 167 for a more complete inspection list for the springs, hinges, track, and cable. As always, all doors should be maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

These inspection and maintenance tips are found in DASMA’s new TDS 179, Wood Garage Door Inspection and Maintenance Guidelines, just released in August. The document, approved by DASMA’s Commercial & Residential Garage Door Technical Committee, is available 24/7 at