How do exterior wood doors hold up to the Florida Sun?

May 1, 2020 -- Posted by : ron.rooker

When we had our home built on Sanibel, we wanted wood doors.  We love the look of a wood stained front doors. Now that we have lived in the home for a about 7 years, we have discovered it is exceedingly difficult to keep our doors clean, and the finish on the doors is not holding up.  The varnish on the bottom of the doors is wearing off due to western sun exposure.  The doors are not separating yet, what can we do to save our doors, so we do not have to replace them?  No one told us this would happen when we built our home.

There are several problems with wood doors in Florida.  If the doors get any sun exposure at all, it is just a mater of time before the finish will start to break down and do damage to the wood doors.  It does not make a difference how many times you sand and apply a new coat of varnish to the doors it just will not last.  The problem is the oil-based stain and oil-based varnish that is applied to the doors has no UV protection from the sun’s rays. The sun will continue to break down the finish until the varnish starts to separate, and the wood will start to separate. As you can see in the below picture, how the finish is wearing down and how there is bare wood exposure on the bottom of the lower panels from where the stain and varnish have broken down and come off.


Now for the good news.  The doors can be saved.  What we do at Ron’s Painting, is we wash down the doors with a bleach and water solution removing the mold, and then rinse with a clean rag.  We then sand the doors, and clean with a tack rag to remove all dust.  We then apply a coat of Cover Stain oil-based bonding primer to the exterior side of the doors.

After the primer has cured overnight, we then caulk and the wood joints that my separate in the future with Sherwin Williams Max-Flex elastomeric caulk and allow the caulking to cure overnight.

Once the caulking has cured, we then sand the doors again, and clean off dust with a tack rag then apply the base coat of paint that is being used for the faux finish.  The base coat of paint usually takes 2-3 coats of paint, depending on the base coat color.  The below picture shows the status of these doors after this process has been done and we are just starting to put the base coat of paint the doors.

Please watch for the following blog as to how we faux finished these wood doors to look like wood.



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