Important: Finishing of your entry system must be completed approximately 1 to 2 days after installation. Never permit any moisture to infiltrate your raw wood before finishing your door.
General Builders Supply's entry systems have been sanded after being built by our master craftsmen. However, due to variances in temperature and humidity while in transit to jobsite, the wood fibers on the surface have most likely been raised. All wood surfaces on the entry system will need additional sanding to prepare for proper finishing. Coating manufacturers suggest that our customers utilize a progressive approach by sanding with 100 grit papers, 120 grit papers, and then completing the sanding process with 150 grit papers. All wood components should be sanded equally in order to attain the most consistent color from your stain.
There is no finish on the market today that will offer 100% lasting protection from moisture penetration and breakdown by the effects of the sun. General Builders Supply advises finishing all wood components with 1 coat of oil-based stain and 2 coats of sealer followed by a minimum of 3 coats exterior marine grade spar varnish or high quality exterior polyurethane. In either instance, ultraviolet light inhibitors should be added to your varnish or polyurethane to improve its ability to resist the damaging effects of the sun. Applying three coats of finish is imperative to a durable entry system. Research has shown that the first coat of finish often provides little more than 10% protection against moisture penetration; the second coat can increase this between 30-80%; and the third coat will result in protection above 90%. Always apply the finish in accordance with the manufacturer's directions on the label, as bonding to the wood surface and bonding between coats is critical to adequate protection for your entry system.
If you would prefer to paint your entry system, we suggest an oil-based premium quality exterior paint. Three primer coats followed by three final coats should be sufficient.
When finishing the entry system, all six sides of the door must be finished. The top and bottom end grains are like sponges and will absorb moisture continually if not sealed properly. Remember to finish behind the hinges on the door and jamb. Also, don't forget to finish behind the weatherstripping. All hardware should be removed during the finishing process to guarantee complete protection of the wood.
Once the finish is completely dry and cured, General Builders Supply suggests applying a small bead of clear caulk around the inside of any exterior moulding that touches either glass or wood. This caulk will still permit the panel to move, yet continue to provide an excellent weather seal between the various door components.
Ongoing maintenance of your GBS entry system depends on its exposure to the sun, wind, rain, and the condition of the protective finish. More exposure to the sun will increase the chances of oxidation and breakdown of the protective finish. The greater the exposure to the sun from any direction will add to the additional coats of protective finish the door will require.
All wood products with clear finishes, stained or varnished, will necessitate periodic maintenance to guarantee proper performance and a long life.
There is no set maintenance schedule for your entry system as it is entirely dependent on many variables unique to each home. A standard rule is to add additional coats to the exterior surfaces as soon as they start to feel rough at all compared to the interior surfaces of the door. Inspect your door often and act immediately to add a protective finish.