Composite doors are easy to maintain and secure by design, offering style and energy efficiency. There are however some common composite door problems that every homeowner should be aware of.
If you purchase a door from a reputable supplier and installer you will be covered by a 10-year warranty so you won’t have a thing to worry about. Genuine suppliers will offer an insurance backed guarantee which covers the product and the labour. Be wary of one-man bands that offer a cheap door, just remember that you get what you pay for.
As an experienced service engineer, I have witnessed first hand some of the shocking composite door problems homeowners are left with after employing ‘Paul from down the road’ to install a door on the cheap. If you have fallen foul to the local lad installing a door cheap for cash, check our top tips – they could help you fix the problem yourself.
Warped bowed or swollen door slab
On completion of an installation, the installer should walk you through the operation of your home improvement(s). We all know how to open and close a door right? But did you know that to prevent warping you should always fully engage the locking mechanism when closing the door? This is known as throwing the handle, the action you perform just before locking the door.
Always throw the handle every time you close the door to prevent the leaf from warping.
If you do not fully engage the locking mechanism the door will be closed just on the latch, this holds the middle of the door in place but allows the top and bottom of the leaf to warp in the heat which is one of the common composite door problems.
The simple action of engaging the full locking mechanism can save you money long term whilst also increasing security and stability.
A sticking lock is not only inconvenient, it could be a security issue, it is important that your doors lock functions properly 100% of the time. You can increase the lifespan of your locks and ensure maximum protection for your home with some simple maintenance, avoiding common composite door problems.
A lot of homeowners spray WD-40 or oil into their locks to prevent a lock from sticking, this actually does more harm than good, a graphite powder is the best lubrication for locks, this maintenance should be performed once every six months to keep locks operating properly.
Dropped or poorly adjusted hinges
Your door should have self-lubricating bearings which are good news for you as this type of hinge requires minimal maintenance. You can ensure a continued smooth operation by spraying the central barrel with a lithium-based lubricant every few months.
Even with continued maintenance on the hinges constant use will eventually cause your hinges to drop, your door may start to snag on the weather brush and need some minor adjustment. This is perfectly normal and the adjustment can be performed by the homeowner with the correct tools:
How to adjust a composite door hinge
If your door has started to drag a little when opening and closing you will need to adjust the hinge by adjusting the screws on the hinges or it may be a case of adjusting the locking keeps.
What you will need:
- Phillips screwdriver
- Flathead screwdriver
- Allen key (depends on hinge type)
Worn weather seals or gaskets
The weather seals prevent water ingress from the outside if your door is suffering from water leaking into the home then the first port of call is to check that the weather-seals are securely positioned in the door track. Over time the seals can become dislodged, to remedy this is simply a case of pushing the seal firmly back into the groove in the track.
The frame of your new door will have a built-in drainage system, slots in the bottom of the threshold allow any excess rain water to escape the door track keeping your home nice and dry. These holes can often become blocked, water then fills the threshold and overflows into the home, this is however one of the easiest common composite door problems to resolve.
It is important to keep the drainage slots clean from dirt and debris to ensure that the system drains effectively.
Every six months or so, give the door threshold a good clean paying particular attention to the drainage slots, flush them with to ensure they are working properly, if not then a thin screwdriver can be used to gently clean out the holes.
- Graphite lock powder
- Warm soapy water
- Lint-free cloth
- Phillips head screwdriver
- Flat head screwdriver
- Allen Key set
- Fill a bucket with warm soapy water.
- Gently but thoroughly clean the door and the frame inside and out to remove dirt and grime.
- Allow the door to dry.
Prevent or repair faded door:
- Once the door is clean and dry you can apply Polytrol with either a paintbrush or a lint-free cloth.
- Apply Polytrol evenly and allow to dry for 10-20 minutes.
- Clean brush or cloth out in white spirits.
Maintaining composite door locks:
- Take your graphite lock powder and pump it into the door lock.
- Place a small amount of graphite lock powder on the key and slide it in and out of the lock.
Repair or maintain door hinges:
- If the hinges are working well, every 6-12 months lightly oil the hinges.
- If the door is dragging adjust the hinges with your Phillips screwdriver or fallen keys. This may require the help of a second person to gently lift the door whilst the hinge screws are adjusted.
Fix door leaks:
- A door can leak through 3 places, the weather gaskets, glazing cassettes and the frame due to blocked drainage. The first job is to work out where the water is coming in from, this can be done with a hosepipe and tracking the leak down.
- If gaskets have come loose and allowing water ingress, it is simply a case of pushing them back into the groove in the door track.
- Glazing cassettes can be removed and sealed, however, the method of removing cassettes differ from supplier to supplier. Always check first if your door is covered by a warranty before attempting a home repair.
- Always clean the door threshold, this area gets a lot of traffic and dirt can quickly build up and block the drainage slots. Clean the slots once every six months.
Routine maintenance will keep preventing common composite door problems from occurring, however, before attempting any alterations yourself you should always check with your supplier first if your door has a warranty.
Why does my composite door swell up?
Composite doors swell, just like doors made from uPVC and Wood, this is known as expansion and contraction & is completely normal. Usually, expansion shouldn’t cause problems if your door is sticking and unusable the door slab may be too big, contact your supplier to have it inspected. Other causes of a sticking door could be due to hinges dropping or poor installation.
Can a composite door be repaired?
It depends, there are many common composite door problems that can easily be fixed by the homeowner, however, some issues will need a professional installer to correct them. is More often than not, problems are caused by poor installation, so if a composite door has not been installed correctly then adjusting the door is not going to work, the entire thing would need to be taken out and reinstalled properly.
Can the glass be changed in a composite door?
All manufacturers have their own method of securing the glass pane(s) in the door panel, they are removable and can be changed. If your glass unit becomes misty, or it has broken you can easily change the glass without replacing the whole door.
Do composite doors swell up in heat?
All doors swell in the heat and shrink in the cold, as doors get hot the materials expand and when it cools they contract. Doors that swell in the heat will crack and creak. This is nothing to worry about unless you are frequently not able to open or close your door, in which case the slab could be too big or poorly adjusted or installed.
Why does my door make cracking and creaking noises?
If your door keeps you awake at night because it makes cracking and creaking noises, you are not alone and this is perfectly normal! Due to the way composite doors are manufactured, they tend to crack and creak when they heat up or get cold.