Many manufacturers are taking the wood out of their doors and frames to help prevent water damage to the most commonly exposed areas of a door. They are removing the natural wood around door glass and from lower door jambs, bottom rails, and sub-sills and replacing it with an extruded composite, an injection-molded plastic, or a cellular PVC.
"Over the last four or five years, there's been a continuing trend to take out opportunities for rot in [doors and frames]," says Chris Brown, brand manager for Peachtree Doors. According to Brown, many manufacturers have chosen to arm their doors and frames with aluminum cladding to prevent water damage. But others, like Peachtree and Therma-Tru, while still offering cladding, are now also substituting another material for wood in the parts of their door frames that are most likely to come into contact with water.
Substituting a wood composite (like Therma-Tru does in its FrameSaver frame), C-PVC, or injection-molded material in the lower jambs prevents moisture from wicking upward to the rest of the door frame, as it would if wood were used.
Door sills are also being enhanced to further prevent water intrusion past weather stripping by raising them or by adding weeps and by substituting a man-made material for wood in the sub-sill.
Peachtree, for example, uses an injection-molded polymer in place of wood in its weeped sills for in-swing doors but still uses wood in its raised sills. Therma-Tru's High Performance Adjustable Sill uses a composite material and features a 14-point dual seal that locks out air and water, says the maker.
"Entry and patio door manufacturers [are] trying to deliver more benefits for the dollar to our customers. ... If we can eliminate or reduce the opportunity for rot, then the homeowner and the builder are going to run into fewer problems, even if something is not maintained properly," says Brown.
Madawaska Doors. Available in any wood species, design, and size, Curve Top Doors are made of 100% natural solid wood. Options range from side lights, weather stripping, and transoms to oak sills, brick molding, and embossed panels. (800) 263-2358. www.madawaska-doors.com.
Integrity Windows and Doors. The Integrity Sliding French Door features a solid pine interior, Ultrex pultruded fiberglass exterior, a dual-point locking system, a top-hung screen, and low-E II glazing. An 8-foot height is available, as well as 6 foot, 5 inch and 6 foot, 8 inch heights. Doors come in Stone White or Pebble Gray and are available with divided light options. (888) 537-8263. www.integritywindows.com.
Stanley Door Systems. The Smooth Fiberglass patio door features a compression-molded smooth fiberglass skin that resists warping, cracking, and denting, says the maker. Flush glaze-light construction provides a smooth appearance, and the fiberglass surface can be finished in any color. The door is available in French or center-hinge configurations and with double-paned clear glass or glass with internal grilles. (800) 521-2752. www.stanleyworks.com.
Therma-Tru. A multi-point locking system that will keep the doors seated properly in their frames is available on the entire line of entry and patio doors, says the maker, ensuring good door alignment and consistent weather sealing. The system engages the door frame at several points and is made of 300-series stainless steel that resists corrosion, pitting, and staining. (800) 537-8827. www.therma-tru.com.
Peachtree Doors & Windows. A selection of aluminum-clad wood hinged patio doors is available in center-hinge swing, French-style swing-in, and French-style swing-out. All have pine interiors ready to stain, seal, or paint. Five prefinished exterior colors are available. (800) 732-2499. www.peachtreedoor.com.
Simpson Door. Cherry has been added to the lineup of wood species available on Shaker and traditional lines of interior wood doors. Door options include French, panel, bi-fold, and decorative French in both lines. The cherry doors are available in heights of 6 feet, 8 inches, 7 feet, and 8 feet. (800) 952-4057. www.simpsondoor.com.
American Weather-Seal. The Astoria Pro Vinyl Sliding Patio Door is a modified version of the maker's original and offers equal-sized glass panels to ensure more accurate grille alignment, according to the maker. The new model is fully reversible and features a weeped sill. Options include dust-free muntins, a foot lock, deluxe screens, handset upgrades, and more. (800) 358-2954. www.americanweatherseal.com.
Phoenix Door. The New-Tech Signature Series interior door is available in more than 90 standard designs and in sizes from 6 feet, 8 inches to 8 feet tall. The door features raised or flush molding on a solid panel for a raised-panel appearance. Made of a solid wood composite, the door will not warp or shrink, says the maker. (800) 622-0688. www.phoenixdoor.com.
Weather Shield. Alder joins the lineup of wood species in the Custom Wood Interiors Collection, which includes oak, mahogany, maple, knotty pine, pine, American fir, and cherry. The collection, available on many of the company's windows and entry and patio doors, can also be used in perimeter grilles, custom grilles, true divided lights, and simulated divided lights. (800) 222-2995. www.weathershield.com.
Pella. The Architect Series sliding patio door features the maker's Integral Light Technology, giving the appearance of true divided light, and the Rolscreen Retractable Insect Screen. (888) 847-3552. www.pella.com.
Gorell Windows and Doors. Two triple-glass systems are available on 6000 Series sliding patio doors. The Thermal Master III and Energy Master III both qualify for the Energy Star label and feature triple-insulating glass and Solarban 60 low-E coating. (800) 946-7355. www.gorell.com.
Jeld-Wen. New door widths in the Continental profile are available in the company's Interior Molded Wood Fiber Doors. Made with a 1/8-inch high-density fiberboard skin with several core and frame options, the Continental profile features a smooth surface and ovolo panel sticking. Shown is the bifold model. (800) 877-9482. www.jeld-wen.com.
Acore Door Company. Fiberglass Doors come prehung and feature stiles and rails constructed of a non-cupping, non-twisting, waterproof composite material and a high-density polyurethane core. The doors are available in wood grain or smooth panel finishes. (800) 955-8177. www.kolbe-kolbe.com.
Milgard Windows. Combining the appearance of a French door with the space-saving features of a sliding door, the French Rail Sliding Glass Door is constructed with wider stiles and rails. Made of vinyl, the frames will not rot or peel and do not require paint, says the maker. The door is available in white or almond in standard or custom sizes in two-, three-, and four-panel configurations. (800) 645-4273. www.milgard.com.