PO Box 4153 Alpharetta, GA 30023

Door Handling and Finishing Guide

April 15, 2010 Posted in: Instructions

Wood is a natural product and is a hygroscopic material. This means that wood, in conditions of high humidity, readily absorbs water vapor from the air and in low humidity, vice versa.

A QUOTE FROM THE ARCHITECTURAL WOODWORK INSTITUTE IN ARLINGTON VIRGINIA: “Subsequent dimensional change in wood is and always has been an inherent natural property of wood… These changes cannot be the responsibility of the manufacturer or products made from it.” And: “Responsibility for dimensional change problems in wood products resulting from improper relative humidity exposure during site storage and installation rests with the contractor.

Square One Inc. only supplies doors in a bare wood or primed state and does not offer a finished product from the factory.  Thus we can not warrant the performance of any finish or finish material applied by others.  It is important that you consult your finish supplier and follow their instructions. We offer the following recommendations as a guide.


Immediately after receipt of your order, inspect each door for any damage or defects.


Handle all doors with clean gloves and equipment. Damage caused by handling is not considered a factory defect and is not covered under your warranty.

When moving the doors, avoid dragging the doors across one another or against another surface. Always use two people to lift and move the doors. Avoid leaning the door – They must be stored flat.

Keep the doors covered to maintain cleanliness but remember to allow air circulation.

THE DOORS SHOULD NOT BE SUBJECT TO ABNORMAL OR EXTREME CHANGES IN TEMPERATURE OR HUMIDITY LEVELS. Avoid sudden temperature changes, such as forced heat to dry out building or storage in a building before it is enclosed.

Deliver the doors to the building only after plaster and concrete is dry.

Allow doors at least 48 hours to adjust to the prevailing humidity (become acclimatized) before hanging. Do not expose doors to humidity levels higher than 65%RH, lower than 30%RH, to temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit or to direct sunlight.
Hang doors with adequate clearance to allow for some swelling in damp weather.

Be sure all jambs and stops are set perfectly square and plumb.

The width of the door may be trimmed no more than 1/4” on either side. The height may be trimmed 2” from the bottom rail.
Wood panels “float.”  Use a hammer and wooden block to adjust the panels if necessary before installation. Be careful not to damage the surface of the wood.

Use 3 hinges on doors of 7’ in height or less.  Use 4 hinges on doors over 7’ in height.


The door should first be fitted and hung in its frame and drilled for all hardware.  Then, prior to finishing, the door should be removed from the frame and stripped of all hardware and the finish applied with the door laid flat.

Remove all handling marks, labels and surface imperfections with a light sanding of all surfaces using 150 or 180 grit sandpaper.

High gloss finishes and dark stains are not recommended. If they are used against our recommendation, additional sanding and sealing will be required. Consult your finish supplier for more information.Thoroughly clean the door after sanding being careful to remove all dust and wood particles. Do not use a caustic or abrasive cleaner as these may react negatively with the wood.
Pine wood has a characteristic grain that often looks blotchy or uneven when stained and will normally look best with a clear finish.

A washcoat or sealer must be used on our pine doors and can help create a more even appearance. Water based sealers; stains and paint have a tendency to raise the woods grain and should be avoided.

All finish products should be from the same manufacturer and applied according to the manufacturers instructions.

When painting doors, a good quality oil based primer should be used followed by two coats of solvent-based enamel.

After finishing your Square One Inc. door, it should be maintained just like your fine wood furniture. It should be kept clean and dust free, not subjected to unusually large swings in temperature or humidity and any scratches or scars in the surface should be immediately repaired.

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