Tom Shafer

5 door jambs that resist rot

January 08, 2013

Entrance and patio doors that have wooden frames are all susceptible to water damage to the frame. In wood doors that have been drilled and nailed or screwed -- which most if not all door jambs have been -- water penetration is possible even if the holes have been sealed with caulk and painted. And when water and air combines with non-treated wood, rotting can occur, leading to a full door and frame replacement.

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But now door jambs can be made from alternative materials to wood. These synthetic wood-like materials are not harmed by water, even if submerged for a period of time. Some door manufacturers now use the rot-free material as the bottom four or six inches of the jamb, finger jointing it to the non-treated wood.

5 rot-resistant alternatives to all-wood doors

  1. PVC composite door frames have properties that make them resistant to both water damage and insects. Plastpro PF frames can be cut and shaped like wood. They can hold screws twice as well as wood.
  2. GM Wood Products makes several rot-free frames. One is a natural wood product, Alaskan yellow cypress. It is finger jointed to a regular wood frame. This is one rot-free material that is not treated with chemicals. Glues, stains, and paints adhere very well.
  3. Another frame made by GM Wood Products combines a rigid PVC film bonded to the wooden frame. The frame also has a finger-jointed section of Alaskan yellow cypress. It is strong like wood and can be painted but does not need to be. PVC, like the PVC used in windows, is treated to be resistant to UV fading.
  4. A composite frame made of a poly-fiber substance (sawdust, wood fibers, and resin) is also offered by GM Products. It is rot-resistant through the entire frame, has no finger-jointed sections and can be painted or stained.
  5. Endura offers a FrameSaver. FrameSaver is a composite material, also finger-jointed to door jambs that are guaranteed for the life of the door. This material is also available for astragals (the piece that covers the seam between double doors, holding them together when locked), sills and brick mold profiles.

If you are replacing your door because of rot, first find and stop the source of the water that's causing it. Keep in mind rot-resistant jambs are not a standard feature on most doors. Make sure your replacement door has them.

About the Author

Tom Shafer has decades of experience in window sales, marketing and product development. He's worked closely with window design engineers in testing, design, and building code interpretation. Past employers include United Windows and Doors and Norandex, MI Windows. He currently works at a home improvement retailer.

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