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Exploding Doors

Postby chrisbenson » Fri Dec 02, 2011 2:10 pm

Exploding Doors
Looking for some professional advice regarding a dispute with a joiner.
We have had some softwood doors (doors with half round top) made by a joiner (he measured up then had them made at a local joinery) for an outside building. When they arrived with frames he had to change both the frames and the doors as they did not fit the curve. He finished and when I inspected them they were quite tight and difficult to open, had quite a few screws missing for the hinges and he had not sealed the frames at all. I asked him to come back and re-work which he did, in-between this I used a stain recommended for outside softwood doors to protect them as the weather was very poor, however, due to this poor weather I only covered the outside of the door and edges. He returned re-worked the door and left. I inspected them that weekend to find they were completely jammed shut. So, much so that they wouldn’t open at all. I asked him to come back and discuss the problem, which he did and we tried to open the doors without success. They were so tight he had to actually destroy them to gain access. We concluded the doors had expanded over 1” min width and had suffered a seriously amount of warp. The frames however, had not moved.
We argued over the reason for this and he basically blamed the movement on the fact that only the outside of the door had been stained. I appreciate that this might have some impact; however, the degree of warp and expansion was incredible.
I need an experienced view on if his view is reasonable before I take further action.

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Postby welsh brickie » Sat Dec 03, 2011 9:24 am

for external doors it really needs to be hardwood,soft wood fibres absorb more moisture so need to well sealed against the elements,also unless they are sealed properly they will expand and warp with the sun,as you have experienced.
If you had employed him just to fit the doors,he has fullfilled his contract,But if sealing the doors and frame was up to the customer then he cannot be responsible for it.He should have stated you stain them immeadiatly after installation.
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Postby aronsearle » Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:03 pm

Some softwoods are smaller movement than some hardwood, I am assuming it was a redwood/white wood softwood door, which is a medium movement timber.

You should take a moisture content reading of the doors, get a timber moisture meter, without this you are all pissing in the wind as to whose fault it is.

It's possible the doors were simply to dry, they should be at approx 16% moisture content at this time of year.

Not staining them on the inside shouldn't matter to much if the finish on the external face is breathable, if not then it can cause moisture moving from inside/out through the timber to condensate behind the surface finish and increase the moisture content.
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