I have a hollow core door for my daughter's room. She's getting over her
second case of croup. The hospital recommended the first time to run a cool
mist humidifier in her room to help. Problem is that when we do, the
bedroom side of the door swells and deforms the door such that if you open
it, you can't get it closed. I think a clear waterproof sealer is in order,
but don't know what would work.
On Thu, 16 Oct 2003 03:02:32 -0500, Traves W. Coppock
Pull the door, pull the latch mechanism, and shave a hair off the
door latch side. Now throw a coat of shellac, varnish, or paint (if
it's painted) on the edges, top, bottom, and room side (if not all
faces). The problem is that the opening is too tight if simple
humidity changes it to an interference fit. Give it 1/8". Also check
that your door frame is actually secure to the wall. It could be
warping/bowing, too. Secure it with a 3" deck screw or two if needed,
after straightening it (with a tubafore and sledge "adjuster".)
Iguana: The other green meat!
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Sorry to hear about your daughter,
As a suggestion, try yacht varnish. If it stands up to boat use, a little
bit of humidity should not worry it. Do remove the door and seal the entire
thing though, including where the lock and hinges go.
Todd it possibly may not be the finish on the door causing your problems
If it is in need of some sealer by all means seal it.
This may not cure it .
The large differance of climates on either side of the door may be the
bigger culprit on causing it to bow.
I have a Hollow core steel door with a steel buck to my shop in the late
afternoon in the summer the sun hits it hard and even when I do not have the
air cond on in my office that door bows quite a bit, actually it takes a
good kick while I'm turning the key to lock up when I leave.
Hope the sealer works out for you,
Not the difference in climates that's bending your door it's the metal
expanding/bending in the heat. I have the same problem on an exterior door
in my office building. Would warp so much in the hot sun that the automatic
closer on the top couldn't exert enough force to push it back closed. We
finally installed a powerful electrically run magnet system (about 4" x
12") that powers the door closed. Has an electronic eye on the inside that
senses movement by the door and powers down the magnet when someone comes to
Agreed, but if the inside of my door was getting the same hot sun as the
outside then the inside would expand at a proportional amount keeping the
door stable. Hopefully there is enough of a gap that it does not wedge into
the fram, which there is thankfully.
That same theory is at work with his door. one side is expanding due to the
climate on the humidity side, the moisture does not neccassarilly have to
get into the wood for the door to bow,
It possibly is getting in which would make matters worse.
I do believe that even with a good sealer the possibilty is still there that
he will have a problem,
It sure is hard to ascertain the exact cure without seeing the entire
situation, ie:condition of door. frame etc.
Yes my auto closure does hang up when the good ole sun zaps my door,
I'm in Mesa, AZ we know all about the sun here, <G>
Our son had croup when he was a baby and a few times before his teens.
We hung plastic over the doorway (we can enclose ours as a closet sits
just inside) to keep the cool mist inside. You can probably snag some
easily at HD or Lowes as they usually have rolls of it for wrapping
around your lumber as you exit the doors of the bldg. Pin it up on the
inside of the room and keep the door open 6" or so. IF you can't
enclose the area, perhaps just covering the door with the plastic will
do the trick.
Actually, I think you want a "watervapor"-proof sealer. While it seems
illogical, water and water vapor are different properties. According to
Flexner, poly is a great barrier to water. Shellac is a better barrier
to water vapor (maybe the best). Go figure.
Depending on the existing finish on your door, you may have to prep it
to get whatever finish you choose to stick to it.
Todd: If your door is a prehung unit and perhaps even if it is not,
and if you have another door in the house that is of the same swing,
finish, etc., it might be best to treat an unbowed door with one of
the following clear coats. You would then be able to take the bowed
door from your daughter's room and allow it to come back to an unbowed
state before rehanging it in a less critical area.
These figures are from Understanding Wood by Bruce Hoadley - 2000
The MEE is a measure of the Moisture Excluding Effectiveness of
various finishes, represented as a percentage. I'm only including
clear finishes and only the MEE for three coats, in order to save
space and time. The MEE was measured after twenty four days at a RH
Finish MEE (%)
Two Part Polyurethane Gloss Varnish 66
Epoxy Gloss Varnish 50
Orange Shellac 46
Polyurethane Gloss Varnish 44
Alkyd Satin Wood Finish 43
Polyurethane Satin Varnish 41
Nitrocellulose Alkyd Lacquer 40
Phenolic Tung Floor Sealer 35
Tung Oil 2
Brazilian Carnauba Paste Wax 1
Linseed Oil 0
Epoxy Paints (not clear) tested >20% higher in MEE.
If you simply cannot find a door to swap with that in your daughter's
bedroom, I would take a hair dryer and run it over the inner side of
the door until you have removed enough of the bow to flatten the door
to a reasonable degree. If the door begins to bow in the opposite
direction after you apply the finish, I'd put one coat on the other
side and see how that balances things out.
Thomas J. Watson-Cabinetmaker
Gulph Mills, Pennsylvania
Thanks for all the info from everyone. My house has plaster walls which
means the door frames are sort of an integral part of the wall. The bowing
disappears after a couple of hours of opening it/turning of the humidifier.
I think the MEE table you quoted gives me the exact info I need. See,
everyone, we can still get positive results from the wreck. Thanks to all
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