To have a wooden front door in the Arizona desert is to make a huge commitment to maintaining the finish, which can chip, peel and flake from the beating it takes from the sun.
My friends in Phoenix install thousands of entry doors a year, and like me, they love the look of beautiful, solid wood.
Still, they warn folks whose entryways face south, southwest or southeast to buy a fiberglass door instead.
I do, too, unless you’re willing to keep up a rigid schedule of maintenance that involves cleaning, sanding and refinishing your door every single year.
Wood by its nature is porous, so it absorbs water. Sure, we get very little rain around here. But, as you know, when it rains in Arizona, it usually pours.
That’s when the water seeps into your south-facing wood door. Then the sun dries it out and beats, beats, beats.
It beats the protective urethane-based finish right off of your door. You need to replace it every year. A tip: On the first 100-degree day of the summer, schedule a day to refinish that door.
It’s a job you can do yourself. If just the top coat of the finish has started to break down, you’ll just need to do some light sanding and brush on more top coats. If the stain underneath the protective top coat has faded, you’ll have to re-stain the door as well.
If you don’t keep up with the maintenance and you let the protective top coat on your front door break down, you run the risk that your wood door will warp, splinter or crack.
If that happens and you want to replace it, consider investing in a wood look-alike fiberglass door.
Still, with diligent maintenance, your wood door can last for decades. It’s up to you: Are you willing to make a commitment to natural wood?