10 Steps to a Beautiful, Durable Custom Exterior Door

10 Steps to a Beautiful, Durable Custom Exterior Door

Nothing creates a first impression and sets the tone for your home or business quite like a custom wood door. While this part of a structure may seem like a small detail or an afterthought, the process of building a custom door is actually quite complex and labor intensive.

But here at Vintage Millwork & Restoration, we’ve made it easy for our customers to get the beautiful, long-lasting custom doors they desire. Here are the 10 steps we follow when building a custom wood exterior door.

1. Info Gathering & Style Selection

First, we sit down with you to understand the type of door you’re looking for, as well as your budget. Then, to determine the door’s aesthetics, we show you a variety of finished doors and discuss your likes and dislikes to ensure the finished door matches your taste. Whether you’re interested in a design type like Craftsman or Mid-Century Modern or a specific style (arched, sliding, screened, Dutch, etc.) our team can create your custom vision.

2. Wood Selection

Once the door style has been chosen, the focus turns to wood types — one of the most significant factors when it comes to the final appearance of a door. Determining the best wood species for your home or business is a key piece of the process. We recommend several species for exterior wood doors due to their durability, including include Sapele mahogany, reclaimed white oak, western red cedar, poplar, and Douglas fir. Each of these wood species offers its own unique benefits and appearance, which we discuss with customers to ensure the best choice.

3. Hardware Selection

The next step is selecting hardware to match the style and design of the door. While it takes up only a small portion of the surface area, hardware goes a long way in giving a door its character and enhancing its appearance. We offer a large selection of door pulls, hinges, and other hardware, including options from Ashley Norton, Rocky Mountain Hardware, and Von Duprin. In addition to set pieces, our in-house blacksmith can create custom hand-forged hardware. This provides another way to customize your project and leave your mark.

4. Glass Selection

Another detail is the glass to be used with the door. Depending on the design, there may be sidelights, or glass within the door itself, to help bring light into a living or working space. During this step of the process, we help you select the best glass type based on your door design and budget. Our glass is sourced from Bucks County, PA, and is made specifically for use with doors.

5. Drawing & Kickoff

Now that the door style and materials have been agreed upon, the door plan is drawn out, and customers meet their project manager. At Vintage Millwork & Restoration, we pride ourselves on offering a high level of personalized service and aim to make sure your needs are being met at every point in the project.

6. Engineering

The physical building of the door begins! We start by kiln drying the chosen wood to an ideal percentage of less than 12% moisture. Then the wood is sliced and run through the sander. We engineer our doors to increase stability and longevity, which involves layering pieces of wood inside the door so that it is neither hollow nor completely solid. A common misconception about door construction is that solid pieces make for a better finished product. However, engineered doors are far superior — they’re more stable, less likely to warp, and tend to last longer.

7. Precision Cutting

Once engineering is complete, we move on to the cutting and shaping of your door. In this step, our craftsmen work on a state-of-the-art CNC machine made by Biesse, a precision tool that makes the necessary cuts to give doors their flawless and beautiful appearance.

8. Assembly

After the CNC mill has done its work, it’s time for the intricate, delicate process of assembly. Our experienced craftsmen take the utmost care and consideration in this step, reflected later in a truly stunning finished piece.

9. Finishing

With the door cut and assembled to its final shape, it’s ready for finishing. Depending on your preference, the door will be either painted or stained. Many customers opt for a stain, as it allows the natural wood characteristics to truly shine. We use four coats of stain followed by a marine grade epoxy finish to protect the door from weather. From there, our doors are mostly maintenance-free, though an additional finishing coat should be added every three to five years. (Three if it’s directly exposed to sun, five if not so much.)

10. Shipping & Installation

Finally, our team delivers your finished custom door. If a door needs to be shipped, we build a custom shipping container, complete with all the necessary padding and accessories to ensure it arrives in the exact same condition as it left the shop. And if needed, we work hand in hand with your builder to install your new door as well.

Building beautiful custom wood doors for our customers is our passion. If you’d like to explore building your own custom door (or doors), please call us or submit your project details. We look forward to working with you to make your vision a reality!

How to Clean Your Wood Door

How to Clean Your Wood Door

Wood doors add lasting style and beauty to our homes and businesses, but they do require occasional maintenance to ensure their longevity and appearance. To keep your investment looking and functioning as it should, follow the cleaning and maintenance tips below.

Exterior Door Care

Both residential and commercial exterior doors take a lot of wear through the years due to weather and touch. They are constantly being exposed to dirt, heat, wind, and rain, as well as the touch of people and pets. Due to this constant wear, exterior doors should be cleaned periodically to ensure they last for years as they are intended.

How to Clean Your Exterior Wood Door

  1. Using a soft rag, duster, or vacuum with a nozzle attachment, dust the door gently to remove loose dirt and dust.
  2. Mix equal parts water with either gentle dish soap or vinegar. Scrub the door lightly using a soft sponge or cloth.
    • Stained Doors: Use furniture wax or polish to wipe down the door for an extra sine.
    • Painted Doors: To ensure the color is not stripped off during the cleaning process, dilute your soap mixture by adding more water.
    • Glass Window Accents: Use a mixture of water and vinegar. Make sure to either squeegee dry or wipe dry with a cloth for a streak-free shine.
    • Hardware: A commercial cleaner is fine for cleaning handles and such. For brass door handles, mix a half cup of vinegar with two tablespoons of salt. Dab the mixture on the hardware with a sponge and let it sit for 15 minutes before wiping off with a cloth.
  3. Dry your door with a heavy-duty paper towel or dry cloth.

Interior Door Care

Although interior doors don’t experience the same level of exposure to the elements as their exterior counterparts, they do require their own level of care. Doors on the interior of a home or commercial space are frequently touched and attract dust.

How to Clean Your Interior Wood Door

  1. The top edge of the door frame can be cleaned using a duster, soft cloth, or vacuum with a nozzle to remove dust.
  2. A door frame should be cleaned regularly with a spot cleaner and rag to remove smudges and fingerprints. For those who may not want to use chemicals, use warm water and soap on a soft sponge instead.
  3. The full door should be wiped down from top to bottom with warm, soapy water. Make sure to include the narrow inner edges, and when you’re finished, dry the door completely with a soft rag.
    • Pro Tip: Wipe your cloth in the same direction of the wood grain and remove excess water while drying.
  4. To clean your door hardware, which can collect germs and dirt, use spray cleaner on a rag. For brass handles, you can purchase special brass cleaner or make your own using a half cup of vinegar and two tablespoons of salt.

Custom doors are a special investment, but just like anything we want to last, we need to take care of them. With these cleaning tips, your wood doors will not only look great but last for you too.

For additional information on our custom doors, click here or contact our expert craftsmen if you’re interested in creating a custom door package.

What Value Does a Screened Porch Offer?

What Value Does a Screened Porch Offer?

Are you thinking about adding a screened porch to your house design? This home addition allows you to expand your living space for three seasons out of the year. If heaters or a fireplace are added, the space can even be utilized year-round. A screened porch addition increases the value of a home in two ways: by adding more living space and by improving quality of life.

screened porch addition overlooking body of water sitting next to green grass

Some people like the feeling of being outdoors but don’t love the idea of being bothered by pesky bugs or risking a sunburn. A screened porch solves all of these problems and more. Done correctly, they offer a continuation of the home space and blend in a natural element. This home, shown above and to the right, provides great views of the nearby water and landscape while providing shelter and close proximity to other aspects of the home.

Understanding Value

There are many moments where a screened porch is beneficial. It provides shelter from outside elements like rain, sun, and bugs, but it allows you to feel like you are still outside in the fresh air. This type of porch can also act as an extension of a room that already exists, like a kitchen or a family room. The screened porch can be designed to match this interior space as well as blend into the existing structure and the natural landscape that surrounds the house. It is important to note that the value of a home can be measured with intangible benefits like these, not just monetarily — although the resale value of the home will most likely increase with an asset like a grand screened porch (especially with a nice view)!

Customization Benefit

Custom screened porches are typically a must-have for homeowners willing to invest in a space that is unique to them. These additional rooms are a classic upgrade and can be built to fit the needs of any family. One aspect of customization includes different options for flooring and screening to suit one’s lifestyle. For instance, you can create a space with waterproof flooring and pollen-resistant or UV-filtered screens to protect against the outdoor elements. Interested in building a small screened room off a bedroom, or a large two-story porch that looks over a backyard? No problem! Our custom millwork capabilities can fit the needs of any space and make your home stand out on the block.

Interested in upgrading or building a home with a screened porch? Contact us today for a quote.

How to Choose the Best Door Style for Your Property

How to Choose the Best Door Style for Your Property

Choosing the best door style is important not only for the appearance of your home or business, but your personal comfort and taste as well. While taking up only a fraction of a building’s surface area, doors are a key component to the overall aesthetics of a building. In order to make the best choice, property owners should take a number of things into consideration before their purchase. The following is what you need to know about custom wood door styles to ensure that your building looks great.

Consider Your Home’s Architectural Style

The right door type will always be the one which fits your building’s architectural style. Building owners and homeowners should consider the entire appearance of their building before choosing a door. Whether you are looking for an interior or exterior door, a few popular styles to consider are arched, sliding, swinging, and French.

The arched door is a classic style which dates back to Roman and medieval Europe. Therefore, an arched door can add a historical look to your home and make it feel quite rustic, fitting in with Victorian, Tudor, or French Country styles and adding charm.

Sliding doors can be incorporated inside or out in the classic barn door style. These doors not only provide a unique look but save space too. Custom wood sliding barn doors fit best in traditional and farmhouse-style builds.

Paneled or stile-and-rail doors add texture and high-quality definition to your home and can be laid out depending on the look you are aiming for. These can be designed as single or double doors and incorporate windows or paneling to match any architecture. Add swinging doors to your business or home entryway, or to separate a kitchen or bathroom from a more public area. While they are all traditional in style, Dutch swinging doors can be added if you want a more rustic appeal, or if you are building an event space that mimics a traditional barn.

French doors can be used as interior or exterior entryways to help add light or to get a large amount of fresh air into a room. They can have a grand effect on a room as well, particularly if they include large windows. Get that instant Parisian feel by adding these to a living room or sunroom space.

Don’t Forget the Windows

Other than matching your door to your architectural style, the sun can help you decide whether to use a solid door versus large-window paned French or double doors. Sunbeams streaming through your door windows may impact life inside your building, depending on where the sun is rising or falling. Any windows on either side of where the doors will be located should also be considered.

Always Consult with an Expert

While the decision of style is ultimately in your hands, you can rely on expert craftsmen who know which door styles work best for your type of building. Next time you consider purchasing a custom wood door, remember the variety of factors above that play into your decision before choosing a door style. Contact us to learn more and to start your next custom door project.

Pro tip: Planning on a new front door? Enhance its appearance and add protection by building an overhang with timber frame trusses. This timber frame touch can be added to your entryway to complete the look, protect the wood, and keep you and your guests dry!

Why Invest in a Custom Wood Door?

Why Invest in a Custom Wood Door?

Purchasing standard, ready-made wooden doors seems like the easy way to go in any building project. However, investing in custom wood doors for the interior or exterior of a custom commercial or residential project has its benefits, including increased strength, durability, and energy efficiency.

Every one of our custom wooden doors is designed with kiln-dried, quarter-sawn wood and uses engineered side stiles for durability and strength. When our custom doors are compared to traditional solid wood construction, they have fewer points of weakness, less chance of warping, and provide better thermal insulation.

Our exterior wooden doors in particular can offer a substantial return on your investment. A custom wood front door will not only “wow” people when they first see your property, you’ll enjoy lower maintenance costs and increased energy efficiency and curb appeal.

Sliding Barn Door

One type of door that has proven popular for both interior and exterior use is the sliding barn door.

This type of door is beneficial for creating a large entrance when you don’t have the space for (or just don’t like the look of) outward-swinging doors. The track-and-trolley technique allows you to create the perfect-sized sliding barn doors for your specs.

Doors of this style can be used to connect an inside recreational space to an outside patio or garden. They are also popular for bathrooms or other places where space may be tight. For a truly unique look, add accents like hand-carved detail, door lights — which can add an abundance of natural light — and custom hardware.

A custom wood door can also be a more environmentally-friendly choice when you use  reclaimed wood. Reclaimed wood doors give existing wood from old barns and other structures new life. Choosing reclaimed white oak or reclaimed hemlock enhances both the strength and the visual interest of doors. Other popular reclaimed wood choices for entry doors include mahogany, western red cedar, knotty alder, and Douglas fir. These species are suitable for a custom front door, interior door, barn door, and even garage doors. Stain can be added to further enhance the beauty of the wood and suit your personal taste. Reclaimed wood doors of the quality we provide are hard to find on today’s market.

Skilled Craftsmanship

Interested in investing in custom wood doors but don’t know where to begin? Whether you are overseeing a residential or commercial project yourself or working with an architect, our team works with you every step of the way. First, we collaborate with you to realize your vision of the perfect custom door. Then, we handle all of the specification, ordering, and installation. Thanks to our in-house millwork shop, the same team that drafts your design also builds your finished piece, so you can be sure that the design you approve is what you’ll receive in the end.

If you are interested in working with Vintage Millwork and Restoration, contact us to set up a meeting with you, your general contractor, builder, or architect. We will work together to create the best custom wood doors, reclaimed doors, sliding barn doors, or whatever you need for your next project!

Contact us for more information!


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.