How to Prevent Your Front Door from Warping

How to Prevent Your Front Door from Warping

When it comes to home-related issues, few things are more frustrating than dealing with a warped front door. A warped door can cause a slew of problems, as it allows both air and pests to get into your home.

 

What Causes Doors to Warp?

To prevent door warping, it is helpful to understand what causes it. Door warping is most often caused by:

  • Excessive Heat: Too much heat can create a moisture imbalance between the exterior and interior of your home, causing wood doors to expand.
  • Changes in Moisture: Excessive humidity makes wood swell. As the wood dries, it shrinks, which can cause changes in the door’s shape and size.
  • Improper Finishing: If all sides of a door are unfinished, or if one or all sides are finished inconsistently, the wood is left vulnerable.

What Can You Do to Prevent Warping?

While you cannot stop extreme temperatures or humidity, you can take steps to prevent your front door from warping:

  • Apply a finish or sealant to every side of the door: This is the most important step you can take when it comes to protecting your wood door. By applying the proper finish to every side, you’re giving the wood the best protection against the elements.
  • Periodically polish the door: In addition to making your front door look better over time, polishing can help ensure a custom wood door’s longevity.
  • Use a humidifier: Moisture can be problematic for your door’s life span. A dehumidifier may be a wise investment, as it will control your home’s moisture content.
  • Choose a weather-resistant wood type: Some woods offer better weather protection than others, including cedar, Douglas fir, and white oak. Quartersawn wood is less likely to warp as well.

In addition to the tips above, the technique we use at Vintage Millwork & Restoration helps to prevent warping. Our doors are engineered for added strength. We layer quarter-inch pieces of wood, strategically positioning them with the grains running in different directions, to form the core of your door. This minimizes points of weakness and the potential for warping. We can layer the same type of wood or blend different wood species for the core and the exterior. The result is a solid, durable, beautiful wood door that will last and provide better thermal insulation than standard doors.

The best way to ensure that your front door stands the test of time is to work with a trusted company that has the knowledge and experience to build high-quality doors. The experienced team at Vintage Millwork & Restoration will properly build, finish, and install your front door, and we’ll also provide the maintenance tips you need to keep it looking great over time.

To get started with your custom front door project, contact us today.

How to Choose the Best Type of Wood for Your Next Project

How to Choose the Best Type of Wood for Your Next Project

You have the perfect vision for your wood project — a new front door to welcome you home, a cupola to top off your party barn, or a gate to create the perfect picture entryway. Enthusiastically, you’ve had plans drawn up, but what is the next step? You’ll probably ask yourself, “What type of wood should I use for my project?”

Before you choose, let’s take a step back and learn a little bit more about the different types of wood available. Although we work with many different wood species here at Vintage Millwork and Restoration, we’ll focus on a few of our most popular: sapele mahogany, white oak, western red cedar, and knotty pine.

Hardwood versus Softwood

Wood is broken down into two main categories, hardwood and softwood. The main difference? According to Penn State Extension, hardwood trees lose their leaves annually whereas softwood trees retain their foliage year-round. We use both types of wood depending on the project.

Hardwood

Most of the hardwood we use grows in the eastern part of the United States and thrives in broad-leaved, temperate forests. It is commonly recognized by its distinguished annual rings, density, and gorgeous grain patterns. Hardwood takes time to grow and flourish to the size needed before harvesting and in the end, generally costs more. The sparsity of these wood species makes them even more desirable to use in projects.

Popular hardwood species are sapele mahogany, oak, maple, cherry, walnut, and teak. While there are a few ways to build with hardwood, we commonly use this wood for doors, stairs, and tack room accessory projects.

Two popular types of hardwood we mainly use in projects are sapele mahogany and white oak.

What Is Sapele Mahogany Wood?

The sapele mahogany is a large hardwood tree commonly found in Central Africa. Tall and wide, its trunk can exceed six feet in diameter! Because the sapele mahogany tends to have few to no branches below eighty feet, it yields lumber that is wide and long with a very straight grain, giving it a very attractive and distinctive look.

We recommend sapele mahogany for many projects not just for its looks but also for its superior stability. Sapele wood has a medium hardness, with a Janka rating of 1510 lbf (pounds of force). It is harder than many North American hardwoods, and it’s almost twice as hard as genuine mahogany! As the tree’s fibers grow, they twist around the trunk with the grain pattern moving in the same direction. This interlocking pattern prevents a lot of the movement often found across the grain in other wood species. These characteristics make sapele mahogany a very stable wood to work with.

Sapele mahogany is unique because even though it is classified as a hardwood, it has some of the same features as softwood and can be used for some of the same projects.

Sapele Mahogany

“We recommend quartersawn sapele mahogany for its better stability.”

– Amos Fisher, General Manager

Sapele Mahogany Projects

Interior Projects: Common interior projects that use sapele mahogany wood are cabinetry, doors, and flooring. (It is even used to make musical instruments!)

Exterior Projects: Common exterior projects that use sapele mahogany wood are decking, siding, and window framing.

What Is White Oak Wood?

White oak trees are commonly found throughout North America, and throughout history, it’s been used for nearly any project imaginable. The symmetrical grain of this hardwood is typically long and straight, allowing multiple logs to be harvested on one tree without any significant knotting. However, it can also have an irregular grain and tends to have a coarse and uneven texture with porous annual rings. White oak lumber works well for both exterior and interior projects, and it looks great either stained or painted.

In addition to “new” white oak lumber, we also use a fair amount of reclaimed white oak. This hardwood is highly resistant to cracking, water damage, and decay, so a lot of it has held up over the years. Reclaimed white oak wood has become highly sought after for home projects, and often comes from barns and other buildings in the Midwest and Eastern United States.

White Oak Projects

Interior Projects: Common interior projects using white oak wood are those that need to be durable and/or water-resistant, such as bathrooms, children’s rooms, or rec rooms. We often use reclaimed white oak for projects such as doors, farm tables, and tack room accessories.

Exterior Projects: Common exterior projects involving white oak wood are front doors, barn doors, and window frames.

 

Softwood

Softwood comes from conifer trees such as cedar, pine, and spruce, and despite its name, it is not necessarily always softer than hardwood. Softwood accounts for 80 percent of the world’s production of timber (Wiki) and is most commonly used in the construction industry. Softwood is appealing because it is plentiful and versatile, and it tends to be resistant to insects due to the lack of moisture under the trees’ bark.

Two popular types of softwood we use in projects are western red cedar and knotty pine.

What Is Western Red Cedar?

The western red cedar is a tree native to western North America that thrives in forests and on mountainsides. This shade-tolerant tree quickly reproduces, providing an abundant supply of this softwood that’s a perennially popular choice for projects.

Western red cedar comes in warm cinnamon colors, adding a beautiful visual element to your home without the need for colored stain. The grain is straight with little knots. Throughout America specifically, this wood species has been used for centuries, not only due to its distinctive hue but for its durability, resistance to weather decay, minimal maintenance, and long-lasting beauty. Western red cedar is a truly versatile softwood that looks good while standing up to the elements.

Western Red Cedar Wood Projects

Interior Projects: Common interior projects involving western red cedar include paneling, accent beams, and trim.

Exterior Projects: Common exterior projects involving western red cedar include posts, pergolas, siding, doors, and decking.

What Is Knotty Pine Wood?

Knotty pine is a softwood distinguishable by its prominent knots and gorgeous honey tones. These wood boards range from yellow to orange and even reddish, and they work particularly well for mid-century modern and rustic projects. Thanks to knotty pine wood’s warm colors and charming knots, this softwood is a popular choice for adding visual appeal.

Knotty pine wood comes from evergreen trees that typically grow anywhere from ten to 260 feet tall (wiki). Pines grow significantly faster than other species and therefore are the most commercially important tree species in the world. Knotty pine wood is medium in density but more durable than most other softwoods.

 

Knotty Pine Door

Knotty Pine Wood Projects

Interior Projects: Common interior projects that use knotty pine wood are interior doors, furniture, floors, cabinetry, drywall framing, paneling, and countertops.

Exterior Projects: Common exterior projects that use treated knotty pine wood are outdoor furniture, and roofing. We don’t recommend using knotty pine on any exterior doors.

 

One More Thing to Consider When Choosing the Type of Wood for Your Project: Stain

The finishing touch to your wood project may involve staining and/or finishing. Deep-penetrating wood stain enhances the color of your wood, while the finish provides protection against the elements. We work with only the highest quality stains and finishes for our doors and other millwork projects.

To allow the natural beauty of the wood to shine through, we typically use a flat finish. A variety of stain colors are available to complement your wood choice and color preference. Here are some of the most popular stain choices that we recommend:

  • Medium Brown with Clear
  • Puritans Pine
  • Red
  • White
  • Clear
  • Early American
  • English Chestnut

Still undecided? We understand there are many variables in determining which wood species is best for your project, as well as which stain to choose. Our team of custom craftsmen at Vintage Millwork and Restoration will work with you every step of the way to ensure you have the best-finished product. Let’s get started!

The Advantages of Custom Windows

The Advantages of Custom Windows

Windows do more than keep homes comfortable and dry. They are an integral part of your home’s design, adding natural light, fresh air, and beautiful accents to your home. That is why so many of our clients choose custom windows over standard windows from big box stores: custom windows allow more flexibility in shape, size, materials, and craftsmanship so they fully complement their home or building’s design.

Custom Window Materials

We prioritize capturing your vision for your building’s design, which is why we work with a variety of materials to create the perfect windows for your building. Our windows can be made from any species of wood, with more popular options including sapele mahogany, cedar, and reclaimed hemlock. Wood finish options include medium brown, puritans pine, red, white, clear, Early American, and English chestnut.

We typically use tempered and insulated glass (double glazed glass) for most windows. For a more unique look, however, we often use old world restoration glass (or “Wavy Glass”). Adding wavy glass brings a nostalgia for old farm homes from the early 1900s. It is a historic feature bringing old world charm to any home design. We can temper ½” thick or 1/8” thick restoration class, and we source the material from a local distributor.

Proven Woodworking Method

The mortise and tenon method of crafting windows and other woodworking is a legacy used by craftspeople around the world for thousands of years. This simple method securely joins pieces of wood into a strong, tight joint without requiring nails or screws.

Instead, each piece is expertly fit together and may use glue, pins, or wedges to lock it into place. We use this method because of its history of creating airtight, sturdy windows.

Using this method also allows us to create true divided light windows. Not only does this look beautiful, but it is also very sturdy construction. Should a single pane break, it is easier to replace that pane’s glass. (Without the divide between window panes, a crack on one side of the glass might crack the entire window.)

We are able to make windows in a variety of shapes and sizes, designed to fit multiple functionality requirements. We are particularly skilled in awning windows, double hung old style restoration windows, and almost any casement window.

Specifying Vintage Millwork & Restoration Windows

At Vintage Homes & Millwork, our emphasis is on high-quality craftsmanship, and we use our knowledge and skills to provide for all of our clients’ needs. This includes proactively anticipating design needs, constructing the windows exactly to spec, and either overseeing installation or installing the windows ourselves.

You won’t need to rely on boilerplate information from a manufacturer when specifying windows for your custom home design. By bringing a skilled craftsperson early in the design phase of your project, we can help you plan the work based on our knowledge of the materials and the process we would use to construct your window. Our friendly, responsive team will quickly ensure you know all of the important details for getting the exact windows necessary to complete your vision for your building.

All of our windows are crafted in our Lancaster County workshop using traditionally proven methods combined with some of today’s best technology. This ensures your windows are not only beautiful to look at – or look through – but they are also strong and secure.

We pride ourselves on crafting beautiful windows that serve your building’s functional and design needs. Ask us how we can create windows that accentuate your building’s design by calling 717-687-0292 and let’s get started on your next project.

 

Reclaimed Wood Benefits and Sourcing for Builders

Reclaimed Wood Benefits and Sourcing for Builders

Contractors and architects who are building some of the most beautiful homes and buildings of today are recognizing the value that reclaimed wood adds to their buildings in terms of style, durability, and the ability to impress their clients. To appreciate the benefits of using reclaimed wood for the interior and exterior doors of your architectural project, you need to consider both the history of the wood as well as its current usefulness and durability.

Reclaimed Wood: What Is It?

Reclaimed wood refers to processed lumber that is expertly sourced and recovered from another structure. In America’s early years, wood was the primary building material, chosen for its strength and relative abundance. As a result, buildings such as barns, cabins, warehouses, and churches are popular sources for reclaimed wood. Everything from siding to doors to heavy wood beams can be reused in today’s buildings. You can find reclaimed wood being used as accents, timber frame supports, furniture, building material, and as doors.

 

Reclaimed Wood Benefits for Builders

Using reclaimed wood gives discerning architects and builders an edge: you demonstrate your dedication to sourcing one-of-a-kind materials completely customized to your clients’ discriminating tastes. However, reclaimed wood also supports architects and contractors in goals of quality, authenticity, and sustainability.

Quality – A door’s primary function is to stand straight and protect the interior spaces. For that, you need a quality door made from durable materials. Most reclaimed wood is lumber that was harvested in the 18th, 19th or early 20th centuries, when trees were slow-growing, tall, straight, with a dense grain and a natural ability to resist mold and insects. (In contrast, many of the doors in mass markets are milled from fast-growing tree farms.)

Reclaimed wood has been exposed to weather and changes in humidity. This weathers the wood, making it more stable and easier to work with. Once the door is added, your new home or building’s heating system won’t cause the door to warp, cup, or twist.

Authenticity – Your clients are looking for a building that is completely individual to their style. When you start with reclaimed wood, you are guaranteed to give your clients doors unlike any other. Reclaimed wood doors are authentically rustic and each is 100% original. Some reclaimed wood comes with additional character, such as worm holes, nail holes, and knots. These natural and man-made accents add to the wood’s character, transforming the door into artwork. Inspire your clients with the value of transforming old, authentic materials into something new, useful, and beautiful.

Sustainability – Reclaimed wood is the environmentally responsible option for any homeowner or contractor concerned with their impact on nature. Not only are you avoiding chopping down new trees, you are also preventing viable wood from ending up in a landfill. Reclaimed wood also reduces the amount of emissions associated with logging, processing, and transporting new wood necessary for building a door.

 

Sourcing Reclaimed Wood for Architects and Builders

The process of efficiently sourcing and preparing reclaimed wood requires experience and expert millwork skills. Vintage Millwork and Restoration has a long history of creating custom doors from quality materials, as well as knowing how to find high quality reclaimed wood.

We provide the experience necessary to know which species of wood weather well in 100+ year old structures, and which do not. We help architects and builders source high-quality reclaimed lumber and avoid purchasing damaged pieces.

Once the wood comes to our in-house millwork shop, we carefully inspect each piece to ensure the quality of the reclaimed wood. Once quality is assured, we remove any nails or other metal pieces from the wood. We sterilize the wood, killing any insects and mold, through kiln drying. This process also removes any residual moisture from the wood before the next step, which is cutting the wood to your exact specifications.

Vintage Millwork and Restoration has a long history of creating custom doors from quality materials, including reclaimed wood. Our craftsmanship allows us to expertly manage weathered wood and create beautiful, custom doors with long-lasting durability. To get started on offering your clients the best in reclaimed wood door, contact us or call us at 717-687-0292.

Homeowner Tips: Why Get Picky About Door Hardware

Homeowner Tips: Why Get Picky About Door Hardware

If you’re taking the time to create your own custom door, it’s probably safe to say you are looking for a unique, beautifully designed outcome. Selecting the right hardware to match that vision, however, involves more than just the visual appeal. The secret to your door’s success is taking into account the accessibility, lock functionality, style, and finish of your hardware.

Interior door hardware includes hinges, locks, doorknobs, stops, and everything required to operate your door. Exterior hardware adds items such as knockers and kickplates. Designing the best custom door to fit your needs means getting specific about which hardware pieces are the best choice for your access, lock, and style needs.

Physical Requirements for Accessibility

In considering the accessibility of your door, or how easy it is to open and close, think through how this door will likely be used. Will small kids reach for the handle, and do you want them to be able to easily get in and out? Will you need the door to open easily at the prodding of elbows, feet, or hips when your hands are full? Do you plan on living in this house well into your senior years, or do you have elderly family members who need to use this door frequently?

Daily use is a big determining factor in the physical shape you should use for your hardware. Doorknobs are popular, but they are trickier to use than a handle or lever. This is a good thing if you’re trying to keep small children inside. If you frequently find your hands full or need easy access for arthritic hands, you might favor a lever, which is easier to grip or turn.

Locking Functionality

Not all locks are the same. For this reason, you should get choosy about which lock style you need. While it’s easy to understand an exterior door’s need for a strong locking mechanism, it’s also important to consider interior door locks. Private areas in your home, such as your bedroom or bathroom, benefit from a privacy knob or lever. Privacy locks come with a tool for emergency release, which can come in handy for kids’ rooms. Closets and storage rooms should remain accessible, making non-locking passage levers or knobs a top choice.

Style and Finish

The best area to be picky is in selecting your hardware’s style and finish. After considering your accessibility and locking needs, find a hardware style that is congruent with the architecture of your home.

Styles and finishes vary widely, and each one contributes to your home’s look in a different way. If your home is more traditional, brass might fit best. Dress up the metal with a different finish to create a custom look. If your house is new or modern, you might want to consider chrome. Nickel and bronze styles also tend to work with a variety of décor. Try adding unique finishes such as black, copper, crystal, or even hand-painted to perfect your hardware’s look.

Stay consistent with your hardware material across all pieces: knobs, locks, hinges, and any decorative pieces. You can also ensure your look is cohesive from door to door by using the same hardware style on interior doors in the same room or area.

Trends

While your hardware selection should fit your home’s architectural style and your personal taste, that doesn’t mean you should skip out on trends you like. Today’s custom wood doors are not your grandfather’s style of wood door.

Now, some designers are using black hardware and fixtures with a matte finish to bring out the grain of wood used in their doors. Polished nickel, with its warmer undertones, is replacing polished chrome. Many homeowners are opting for softened finishes like satin, nickel, oil-rubbed bronze, and gun metal.

Where to Begin

Before purchasing a new door, get picky about the style and functionality you want out of your door. Talk with a designer or engineer – such as those on the Vintage Millwork and Restoration team – about your options in door handle or pull styles, locking options, and your home’s particular look and feel.

It is easier to choose all of the right components for your new door, such as the hardware or the best wood species, when you have an expert to walk you through the process. We have such experts on hand: they can take your vision and turn it into a real, solid door that you will love. Start the process by calling 717-687-0292 or contact us here.

Selecting the Best Wood Species for Your Custom Door

Selecting the Best Wood Species for Your Custom Door

When designing your custom wood door, it’s important to understand your options, including which type of wood best fits your needs. The decision does not always boil down to looks alone, but rather functionality and durability as well.

At Vintage Millwork & Restoration, we believe in educating our customers throughout the building process so they can make the best decisions for their custom doors. This includes exploring which type of wood is best for a door’s intended use.

Here, we’ll discuss six wood types we recommend as the top choices for custom exterior doors. Each wood species has its own unique characteristics and can be made into the door style of your choice.

  • Sapele Mahogany
  • Spanish Cedar
  • Western Red Cedar
  • White Oak
  • Reclaimed White Oak
  • Poplar

Sapele Mahogany

Originating in Western Africa, this beautiful reddish-brown hardwood has become one of the most popular wood types for exterior doors. Sapele mahogany’s medium texture, moderate luster, and decay resistance make it an ideal choice for homeowners looking for a durable custom door with a natural look. 

Although this wood type is often referred to as “sapele mahogany,” and sapele is in the mahogany family, sapele is a distinct type of wood on its own. Sapele looks similar to mahogany, but is a denser wood with a slightly darker color. It also differs in its workability, though this isn’t usually a factor for homeowners. We use quartersawn sapele, which provides greater stability and a more prominent grain.

When it comes to finishing, sapele mahogany can be painted. However, it tends to look better stained, which shows off that impressive natural grain. The grain will not be obscured by anything other than the darkest finishes, providing more flexibility to suit a home’s appearance.

Spanish Cedar

Native to Central and South America, Spanish cedar is an attractive hardwood with a moderate texture and a vibrant color ranging from brown to light pink. This wood type is traditionally used in humidors and is a prime choice for an exterior door due to its beauty and natural rot resistance. 

Many homeowners find Spanish cedar to be especially attractive because of its shallowly interlocking grain and elegant natural appearance. Spanish cedar is loved by woodworking professionals, too, thanks to its standout workability and the fact that it weathers well.

In terms of finishing options, Spanish cedar can be painted, However, staining allows its natural beauty to shine.

Western Red Cedar

Grown in the Pacific Northwest, western red cedar is a beautiful wood type with a reddish-brown color and straight grain with a coarse texture. It’s the perfect wood species for homeowners looking for a time-tested classic that offers an impressive aesthetic and lasting value.

Western red cedar is a particularly durable wood and does well in terms of rot resistance. It’s also popular because of its subtle yet stunning appearance. The added character it gives a home can hardly be overstated.

And just as with Spanish cedar, western red can be painted or stained, but staining is the better option to show off its natural beauty. Painting hinders the features that make western red cedar a truly special wood type.

White Oak

Grown in the eastern half of the United States and Canada, white oak is a durable, attractive hardwood that complements virtually any architectural style. It has a fairly straight grain and a light brown color.

White oak shares similarities with western red oak, but their differences give white oak the edge. Both stand out as considerably dense hardwoods, but white oak grains tend to be longer than red, and white oak is the darker of the two. White oak has a smoother grain, isn’t quite as soft, and is better with lighter stains than western red oak.

Reclaimed White Oak

One of the most unique choices for exterior doors, reclaimed oak, has become an increasingly popular choice among both homeowners and designers.

Salvaged from antique barns and homes, this wood type brings an impressive backstory that adds substance and character to its beautiful aesthetic. This salvaging also makes reclaimed oak an environmentally friendly choice. When working with this wood type, no trees are logged, and no new demand for virgin wood is created.

In terms of finishing, reclaimed wood should be stained to both showcase and protect its vintage aesthetic.

Poplar

Grown in the eastern half of the US and Canada, poplar is an ideal wood type for homeowners who want high quality without a high price tag. It’s often used to make furniture and cabinets, but it’s also a great choice for custom exterior doors.

The color of poplar can differ slightly from board to board, but it will usually have a white or yellowish hue. Its grain is straight and uniform, containing minimal knots. When it comes to finishing, poplar is better off painted, as its natural color can vary just enough to make stain look uneven. Painting gives this wood type a better appearance and allows homeowners to get creative with customization. 

Ready to Build Your Custom Door?

If you’re ready to build a custom exterior door of your own, look no further than the experienced craftsmen at Vintage Millwork & Restoration. Our combination of old-word craftsmanship and modern technology sets us apart as a millwork shop able to produce some of finest custom doors in the United States. Contact us today to learn more about our capabilities and to get started on your custom project.