A whole different set of garage door repair priorities apply to wooden garage doors. This is because wood can rot and deteriorate in ways that the metal or laminate doors on most garage doors cannot. Thus the following are some maintenance and repair tips that deal with wooden garage doors.
Painting your Garage Door
Sealing and painting your wooden garage door is necessary to protect it against the elements. When painting your garage door, start by applying a good sturdy exterior primer. Then apply exterior paint in a few different coats. This will insure that your door is well coated and protected against rain, snow, sleet, hail, wind, and so on.
Your garage door may also need repainting. If the paint is flaking, bubbling, or peeling, or even if it has just been a number of years since it was last painted and the paint looks old and worn, garage door should be repainted. The beginning steps to this job are to scrape or sand off the old or peeling paint. How in depth you want to get with this is up to you, but make sure you get as much of the flaking paint off as possible before repainting. A rigid metal putty knife works well to scrape off paint. You can also try turning your hose up to its highest pressure and spraying off the paint.
Sealing your Garage Door
If you elected to leave the original wood grain on a wooden garage door, most likely the wood is stained and has some kind of moisture resistant topcoat. This sealant coat should be reapplied periodically once or twice a year to maintain maximum moisture resistance. This is usually fairly hassle free – many weather sealants can be sprayed on out of a can or electrical or mechanical pump sprayer. Make sure to observe all safety precautions as sometimes these substances can be dangerous to breathe or contact with skin and eyes.
Repairing Wood Rot and Damage
Somewhat more challenging than these preventative maintenance type measures are things like rotten wood, sections where holes or breakages have formed due to rot, and cracks. Wood does deteriorate when exposed to weather over time. Good painting and sealing maintenance will help prevent this, but it is something that commonly occurs with wooden garage doors.
The best option for rotten or broken wood on the garage door is to replace it. Ideally it should be easy enough to cut out some regular section of the door and replace it with wood of the same type and thickness. If the garage door is indeed solid wood you can indeed do this. After cutting out a regular section of the door with a circular saw or jigsaw, measure a piece of new wood to fit this and simply glue or screw it in place. If the replacement piece is being added on the bottom or side of the door you can drill pilot holes in the new piece and attach it to the old door with long screws, strengthening the repair as well with wood glue. If the replacement is being made somewhere within the door, screws can be toe nailed in at an angle. As long as they are well countersunk you can cover the holes with wood putty so that it has a smooth finish.
You may however encounter some problems with replacing wood since often wooden garage doors are insulated internally. This means they may consist of thin wood paneling over some kind of framework or ribbing. The cells are then filled with some kind of insulation. This does not offer much to screw the piece of replacement wood into. You may be able to slip appropriately sized pieces into these holes and screw them in place with short screws (screwing through the wood surfacing or paneling) to provide something to screw the new wood into. This can be a bit more involved but may work reasonably well.
If you can find the actual wooden panels that compose a door, for instance from the door manufacturer, then this is about the best possible fix. You can replace the whole panel, simply removing the old one and bolting the new one in place.
Often the base of a garage door, making contact with the concrete on the inside and outside of the door, gets more moisture than other parts of the door and may rot more quickly. So often the repair challenge is to fix this bottom edge of the door. Sometimes the door will not even fully close and make a seal, allowing air and the elements into the garage. This is obviously not a great situation.
Replacement of the actual wood can be tricky here. Often the whole base or several portions of it are rotten to some degree and it can be hard to patch this. One possible solutions is that rubber belt or tubing can be screwed to the base of the door so that it forms a seal and at least for some time prevents further deterioration. Though this may work for the time being, you should probably consider door replacement in the longer run.
Caring for and repairing a wooden door just means taking into account the way wood behaves and acting accordingly. The repairs can be either a hassle or somewhat open to improvisation depending on how you view working with wood. But if you’re handy and do enjoy that type of work, wooden garage door repair projects can even be fun and instructive.