Composite doors have gained popularity over the years, thanks to their durability, energy efficiency, and low maintenance requirements. Crafted from a blend of materials including uPVC, timber, and glass-reinforced plastic (GRP), these doors are engineered to offer the best features of their components.
However, like any other type of door, composite doors can also encounter problems. This article will explore the most common issues with composite doors, their causes, and effective solutions to ensure your door remains in excellent condition for years to come.
Common Composite Door Issues and Troubleshooting
Composite doors can experience a range of issues, including:
- Warping and Bowing: These issues occur when the door’s materials expand and contract due to temperature fluctuations, leading to a distorted shape. A warped or bowed door may not close or lock properly, causing drafts and security concerns.
- Discoloration and Fading: While composite doors are often praised for their aesthetic appeal, they may experience discoloration and fading over time due to exposure to sunlight and harsh weather conditions.
- Expansion and Contraction: Temperature changes can cause composite doors to expand and contract, resulting in gaps around the door, drafts, and difficulty in opening and closing the door.
- Insulation Issues: Despite being designed for energy efficiency, composite doors may sometimes suffer from insulation issues due to gaps around the door or poor-quality materials.
- Cracking: Exposure to extreme temperatures can lead to cracks in the door panel, compromising the door’s strength and security.
- Sticking and Misalignment: These issues can be caused by misalignment or warping of the door panel, making it difficult to open or close the door.
- Locking Issues: Over time, composite doors can experience locking issues due to misalignment or warping of the door panel.
- Glass Damage: Composite doors with glass panels can become damaged due to impact or extreme temperatures.
- Water Leakage: Improper installation can lead to water leakage, causing water damage and potential health hazards.
- Noise: Poor insulation or gaps between the door panel and the frame can allow noise to enter the home.
Now, let’s delve into these common composite door problems and how to fix them.
The Composite Door is Not Closing Properly
If your composite door is not closing properly, it could be due to one or more of the following issues:
- Frame and Door Check: The frame should fit snugly against the opening, with no gaps between it and the door. If gaps are present, they can cause the door not to close properly.
- Debris Check: Inspect both sides of your composite door for dust buildup or debris. If there’s a lot of dust or debris on one side but not on the other, insects entering your home through cracks in the woodwork around your windows or doors may be causing your problem.
- Frame Damage or Wear Check: If you have a large opening like an entryway, ensure there aren’t any cracks in the wall around where the lock sets into place. This could cause your lock to pop out when you close your door.
- Hinge Check: Ensure all hinges are intact and secure on both sides of each joint. Also, look for missing screws and worn-out felt pads on each hinge joint to prevent squeaking when opening or closing your door.
- Alignment Check: Measure from the outer edge against the centerline mark on each side to check alignment between frames. If not perfect, adjust accordingly using shims underneath before reattaching panel sections together using the screws provided.
- Frame Flushness Check: The gap between the frame and the wall should be less than 3mm (0.12 inches). If there is a gap, it must be filled in with filler before proceeding with any other work on your composite door installation.
Composite Door Catching on the Frame
If your composite door is catching on the frame, it’s likely that the bottom hinge has been set too high. This can often be fixed by adjusting the height of this hinge to sit lower in its housing. Also, ensure the hinge pins and screws holding your door in place are secure. If they are loose, this could be the cause of your problem. You may need to tighten or replace them depending on their condition. If this does not work, check for any other obstructions, such as dirt or debris, that may be causing your door to catch on its track.
Composite Door Slam Lock Problems
Slam locks, often made of aluminum and other metals, require regular oiling to prevent them from becoming stiff. This may also cause the latch mechanism for your door not to align correctly, resulting in an inability to close properly. If your slam lock is stuck, it could be due to a lack of lubrication; try oiling the latch mechanism with some WD-40 or similar spray.
Composite Door Leaking at the Bottom
When a composite door leaks at the bottom, it’s likely that dirt is blocking drainage holes and preventing water from getting out of your home. This can be caused by the door not being level or plumb, hinge pins needing replacement, or improper installation. If you think your door has been installed correctly but still has water leakage problems, check for any gaps between the frame and the door itself, as this will cause moisture ingress into your home through those gaps.
The Composite Door is Not Locking
If your composite door is not locking, it could be due to a broken lock mechanism or locking cylinder, jams in your lock, or loose or damaged hinges. In these cases, it’s best to contact a professional to have it replaced or repaired for you.
Composite Door Warping
Warping is a common problem with composite doors but can be avoided with proper installation and care. The most common cause of warping is humidity, which causes the wood to swell and expand. To prevent this from happening, you must install your door in an area that has good ventilation. Another cause of warping is exposure to direct sunlight.
Composite Door Draughtiness
If your composite door is draughty, it’s more likely that the problem is poor installation and adjustment. You can use a draught excluder at the bottom of your door or seal around the frame with weatherstripping or silicon sealant to stop drafts from getting in through cracks between panels and frames.
Composite Door Cracking
A composite door will likely be damaged if subjected to extreme weather conditions. The hot and cold temperatures of the weather can cause the composite doors to crack. To prevent this from happening, ensure your composite doors are properly maintained by cleaning them regularly and ensuring that your new door is installed properly.
Composite Door Not Sealing
If your composite door is not sealing properly, it can cause several problems. The most obvious issue with an unsealed door is that it will allow drafts and heat to get into your home. To fix this problem, check for squareness between posts, jambs, and hinges, make sure that the frame is square and level, look at the edge of your door to see if it’s warped or bowed outwards, and inspect all seals around where they meet together.
Composite Door Swelling
If you have a composite door that has started to swell, it could be that your door is oversized. As the sun shines on your doors, they will swell and expand. This is because composite doors are made from wood and plastic, which expands and contracts with theweather. To fix this problem, you will need a new door fitted by an expert who can correctly measure what size replacement they need before ordering one from their supplier.
Composite Door Sticky Locks
Sticky locks are a common problem with composite doors. This can happen if the locking mechanism on your door is not aligned properly or has become loose over time. To fix this problem, check if the locks are aligned properly, ensure nothing is blocking or interfering with any part of your locking mechanism, and spray WD-40 or oil into their locks once every month to prevent sticking.
Composite Doors in Direct Sunlight: Swelling and Fading
If you have a composite door, it’s normal for them to swell in direct sunlight. To prevent this problem and ensure that your door maintains its shape and color over time, we recommend using window film on the exterior side of your composite door. This will stop fading without affecting how well light passes through your home.
Composite Door Locking Mechanism Problems
If you are experiencing problems with your composite door locking mechanism, there is likely an issue with either the lock or its assembly. The following are some of the most common issues:
- Hard to Lock: The locking mechanism may be sticking. If the door is difficult to lock and unlock, lubricate it with WD-40 or another suitable lubricant.
- Lock not Opening: If your composite door doesn’t open even though it seems unlocked, the problem might be the strike plate. To check this out, remove one of your locks and see if there’s any damage or corrosion on its surface–if there is, replace it!
- Lock not Closing: Sometimes a faulty latch will cause this issue where doors won’t automatically close after opening them manually.
- Lock not Engaging/Unlocking: If you have trouble engaging or unlocking your composite door lockset, ensure you use the right key. If this doesn’t solve your problem, try lubricating the keyhole with WD-40 or a similar lubricant and see if that helps.
- Lock not Disengaging: If you can’t release an engaged deadbolt on your composite entryway by turning its knob or lever, there’s probably something wrong with its internal components or wiring connections.
How to Fix Composite Door Problems?
Most of the common issues with composite doors can be fixed by replacing the affected part of the door or the entire panel, applying a coat of paint or stain to fix fading, adjusting the door’s hinges or replacing them altogether, sealing gaps between the door panel and the frame using weather stripping or caulking, and adjusting the door’s lock or latch or replacing them altogether.
How to Maintain a Composite Door?
Maintaining a composite door involves performing basic care tasks to keep it looking good, functioning properly, and ensuring longevity. This includes cleaning the door surface periodically, checking the door’s hardware, inspecting the door’s weatherstripping and seals, making necessary adjustments, taking care of the glass, and checking and cleaning accessories.
Composite doors offer numerous advantages, such as improved security, energy efficiency, and low maintenance. While they occasionally encounter problems such as warping, discoloration, or hardware issues, understanding the causes and taking appropriate preventative measures can help keep your door in optimal condition. If you experience any of these issues, it’s crucial to address them promptly to prevent further damage and maintain the integrity of your composite door. With the right knowledge and care, your composite door will continue to serve you well, providing a stylish and secure entrance to your home.