Chris' Corner: Ontario: Bolton

A Good Wood Door Will Not Stay "Good" Unless It Is Finished Professionally

Jay Markanich, a home inspector from Bristow VA, active rain blogger, and a great source of a  wealth of information about issues concerning most homeowners, posted this article which outlines the need to "finish" wood properly, and outlines the steps to do so,,,

Nothing is more important to the longevity of any wood product than its finish.  These are true words - a good wood door will not stay "good" unless it is finished properly.

This is just one portion of a front door on a house I inspected for a one-year warranty.

This is an expensive house and that is a good wood door. 

AND THAT IS A JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL FINISH JOB.  My eighth grade shop teacher would give me a D for that work.

  • The job was done with a small brush. 
  • Brush strokes are seen everywhere.
  • The single coat is VERY thin.
  • The finish product does not seem like an exterior-grade product.
  • The finish has dried bubbles all over which indicate that a SANDING SEALER was not used first.  A professional knows to use it first.
  • Wood has six sides!  All six must be equally treated or the wood will be compromised.
  • This finish product is already peeling, splitting, thinning out and ugly.

This is how the top of the door looks!

If it is this poorly finished, what does the bottom look like?  I would not trust it.

The front doors at Monticello and Mount Vernon have been there for centuries.  Why?

How long will this door last before it has problems?

What will happen to this door in time?

It will swell and split, especially at joints.  The finish will continue to deteriorate.  It will warp.  It will no longer seal the opening.

IT WILL BE A MESS!  In a short time these folks will want to have their guests enter through the garage door!

This door has been there less than 11 months.  It is protected from the sun by a front porch surround and roof! 


It needs to be completely stripped and completely refinished. The finish product should be a good, exterior-grade, long-lasting finish.  Spraying is best.  I prefer a good sanding sealer and marine spar varnish, but that is just me.

 The door might need to be replaced.  I may already be compromised.

This builder and/or subcontractor should be ashamed.

And here is the kicker.  My client thought it was normal and that a new finish needed to be reapplied every couple of years!

My recommendation:  get a one-year inspection on your house!  Buyers often assume that because something is new it was done properly, professionally and what they get is normal.  Sometimes those things are not true!  And hire someone who knows that he's looking at.  That will make all the difference!



Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia

Chris Smith CSSBB
          Sales Representative

Interested in Buying or Selling Real Estate?

  ph: 1.866.936.3500

Chay Realty Inc.,

Comment balloon 0 commentsChris Smith • July 27 2011 09:45AM
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