How to Fix Common Iron and Steel Door Problems

Iron and steel doors are often purchased for how durable and secure they are. However, just like anything else, steel or iron door problems can still occur due to some wear and tear, installation mistakes, and unforeseen circumstances. The important part is that you take care of these problems when you notice them, rather than leaving them to worsen over time. This article is here to teach you how to fix iron door problems and how to fix steel door problems so you can ensure your door lasts a lifetime.

Rust Forming

The most common issue you’ll run into with a wrought iron or steel door is rust formation. The metal reacts to the moisture and salt in the air, which causes it to corrode, creating rust in the process. There are plenty of ways to prevent rust from forming, but what do you do if you see some rust on your door? Taking care of this problem is actually quite simple on your own while the spots of rust are still small.

The first step is to clean your door. That on its own can be enough to remove any rust on your door. However, if there is still rust after the cleaning, just follow these next steps:

  1. Take a wire brush or piece of sandpaper and rub at the rust spots to remove them.
  2. If you’re struggling to remove the rust, dab a bit of kerosene on the rust using a cotton pad, as that will soften the rust.
  3. Try again with the wire brush or piece of sandpaper.

Damaged Weather Sealant

Another common issue for doors is a damaged weather sealant. These sealants are meant to keep air, water, heat, noise, and even critters out of your home, so these must be working correctly. You’re likely to notice a damaged sealant if the door itself looks fine but you can feel a draft coming into your home. The fix is easy enough, as you can purchase weather sealants from most hardware stores. Just remove your old sealant from the door frame and reinstall the new one.

Thermal Bowing

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Thermal bowing is another issue that can happen with iron and steel doors, but a temporary one. Thermal bowing occurs when there’s an extreme temperature difference between the inside and outside of the home, causing the metal to expand slightly toward the warmer side of the door. While this is happening, you may find you have trouble latching and unlatching, or opening and closing the door. However, once the temperatures become less extreme, the door will return to its original state and won’t suffer any permanent damage.

If you want to alleviate the thermal bowing, you have a couple of options. The first is to paint the door a lighter color. Darker colors absorb heat more efficiently, creating that greater temperature difference. On the other hand, lighter colors will reflect the sunlight more, absorbing less heat in the process. Your second option is to install some sort of roof or awning over the door. If you can prevent direct sunlight from hitting the door, you’re far less likely to experience thermal bowing.

Peeling Paint

Photo by Ivan Samkov from Pexels

As your iron or steel door experiences wear and tear, it’s common for the paint to start peeling or not looking as nice as it did when you first purchased it. If you find this is happening, don’t worry! Painting your iron or steel door is easy to do. Start the process by sanding down all the old paint and primer, then washing your door. Before you start painting again, quickly check that there’s no rust on your door. Painting over rust can be devastating, as it will be able to spread under the paint unseen. 

Once you’re sure there’s no rust, you can start priming. Make sure you’re using a primer meant for metal, as any other primer may not stick to the door very well and start peeling easily. You also have the option of applying a finish coat. Wait for the primer to dry completely, then lightly sand it before applying the finish. This will create a surface the finish can easily apply to.

Paint Buildup in Holes

After you paint your door, it’s common to find a bit of paint buildup in the tapped holes. This can make reinstalling your door challenging, as it’s difficult to get the screws into paint-filled holes. The best method for clearing the paint is to use a thread tap that matches the screw size. If you don’t have a thread tap, you can use screws to get rid of the paint as well. Run the screw in and out of each hole several times until the paint has been cleared from the holes.

Door Hinges Are Noisy

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Over time, it’s quite common for door hinges to start making noises. This could be for various reasons, but it should be an easy fix all the same. The first step to take is to look for rust on the hinges, as that can easily cause noisy hinges. If you do find rust, simply follow the same steps you would to remove rust from your door. If there isn’t any rust, try tightening the screws and lubricating the hinges. You should experience a nice and quiet door after that.

Lock Not Fitting Properly

A final common issue is the door’s lock not properly fitting in the strike plate. There are two possibilities here: your lock is too loose in the strike plate or your lock is too tight in the strike plate. Having your lock be too loose is less common, as that isn’t an issue with the door’s alignment. Instead, your strike plate likely isn’t the right size for your lock, and you’ll need to buy and install a new one. More common is that your lock is too tight in the strike plate. In that case, check for any of the following potential causes:

  • Your door is sagging and is uneven.
  • Your door or frame is twisted.
  • Your door is out of square.
  • The strike plate is correct for your lock.

Is Your Door Beyond Repair?

Photo from Bighorn Iron Doors gallery

Have you searched the internet for your problem and you just can’t find the answer? Or you have found the solution, but there’s no way for you to fix the problem yourself? If that’s the case, it may be time for you to invest in a new door. The Bighorn Iron Doors team is here to help you pick out the perfect door for you and your home!

At Bighorn Iron Doors, we design and manufacture wrought iron and steel doors of the highest quality. On top of that, we create designs of all sizes and styles, so we’re sure to have something for every home. Don’t see anything quite right for you? We also offer the opportunity for you to order your own custom-made door so it has every feature you could want. Contact us to learn more about our products and how you can place your custom order.

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