Do Oak Doors Warp? [And Tips On How To Prevent Warping]

An oak door is an excellent choice that adds a natural vibe to your home. There is a wide variety of oak doors you can coordinate with your home furnishings. Oak doors have distinct grains and textures that can make your door stand out. But as time passes by, the door might lose its integrity. That is why we have researched from experts about oak door warping.

Oak doors will warp as time passes by. You will notice the wood panels shrink or protrude unevenly. To prevent warping, you must avoid moisture getting inside the oak door. Some ways to prevent warping are as follows:

  • Sealing the door with a polyurethane coating
  • Using a doorway cover
  • Putting a heavy sandbag on the door

Warped oak doors reduce the appeal of your home. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. There are effective door coatings, but the deterioration due to aging will still show. You can still fix warped oak doors, but the damage might recur more often. Keep reading to find out how oak doors warp and how to prevent them from warping.

Old Oak Door with Welcome Mat, Do Oak Doors Warp? [And Tips On How To Prevent Warping]

How Do You Stop Oak Doors From Warping?

If you want to stop the warping of your oak doors, it all starts with prevention. The main goal is to avoid moisture and humidity. You have little to no control over the humidity and moisture levels of the surroundings. Preventing the doors from warping is tricky, but you must do it to maintain the door. Find out here how to stop your oak doors from warping.


Always try to prevent the moisture from affecting the door. With prevention, you can minimize future repairs. Follow the tips below before hanging your oak doors:

  • Use a dehumidifier inside your house to control the moisture levels.
  • Do not forget to polish the coated oak door regularly.
  • When choosing an oak door, select white oak doors. White oak doors are likely resistant to water and deterioration.
  • Choose a shorter door over a tall door. Tall doors are prone to warping.
  • Install a doorway cover.
  • Coat the oak doors with at least two layers of wood varnish. You can use polyurethane varnish for both exterior and interior oak doors. Make sure that you coat all the sides of the door.

You can choose from any of these wood door varnish products to coat your oak doors:

1. Minwax Water Based Helmsman Spar Urethane

Get this Minwax spar urethane clear gloss from Amazon. 

2. Rust-Oleum Ultimate Polyurethane

Buy this Rust-Oleum interior matte polyurethane from Amazon.

3. Varathane Triple Thick Polyurethane

Check out this Varathane polyurethane interior varnish from Amazon.

What Happens If A Door Warps?

When a door warps, some parts deform and shrink. With warping, the door allows air, heat, and even bugs to go in and out of your house. As a result, warping can cause more issues that will take your time, effort, and money.

The fluctuating humidity and moisture levels are the common causes of warping. These factors create Equilibrium Moisture Content (EMC). The EMC influences how the door absorbs or releases moisture. When there is an increase in humidity, moisture also increases. Likewise, when humidity is low, moisture levels are also low. High moisture causes the door to expand, while low moisture shrinks the wood.

Wood doors are susceptible to warping. The manner of warping visible on the door varies.

Types Of Wood Warping

There are five common types of wood warping. One or a few types can appear or even all at once. By looking at how your door warps, you will know the problem and solutions you can do. Check out the list below for your reference.

  • Bow - The wood bends lengthwise but not across the face.
  • Crook - The warping happens along the edge of the wood plane.
  • Kink - A portion deviates from the main piece along a straight line.
  • Cup - A part of the wood panel deforms inward across the width of the plane.
  • Twist - Any of the four corners turns are not on the same plane.

Do Solid Oak Doors Warp?

A solid oak door comprises multiple bonded oak pieces instead of a single ply of oak. The oak wood pieces push each other to maintain the strength of the oak door. Thus, a solid oak door offers more strength and durability against warping. But also remember that oak is a type of wood, which is vulnerable to warping.

Even though the structure of a solid oak wood door is rigid, it can still warp. It is best to coat the door before hanging it. Find a suitable door wax or varnish that protects the door from warping. A door varnish also highlights the beautiful oak wood grains. There are products dedicated to protecting the wood from moisture and even UV protection.

Will A Solid Wood Door Warp?

Warping is common to wooden doors. Regardless of how solid the wood is, the door will warp at some time. But there are certain types of wood that have fewer issues with warping. Wood from the heart of the tree will be more stable with grain patterns packed tightly.

Also, there are solid wood doors engineered to resist warping. An engineered solid door has laminated pieces that run in opposite directions to prevent moisture. Even with a solid construction, warping is still inevitable.

The sawing patterns of the wood also affect the rate of warping on the door. Keep reading below to find out.

How Sawing Causes Wood To Warp

There are three ways how sawmills cut wood. These methods affect the behavior of the wood when warped. You can see below how each sawing pattern looks:

  • Plain or flat sawn - Wood that is plain sawn is cheaper and more common. The downside of this method makes the wood more prone to cupping and twisting.
  • Quarter-sawn - This is more expensive than plain sawn wood due to a complex process. Quarter-sawn wood is more resistant to moisture. White and red oak wood species fall under this type.
  • Rift sawn - This is the most expensive of the three types. Like quarter-sawn wood, this type is also resistant to warping.

Fixing A Warped Oak Door

If you missed out on preventing your oak door from warping, there are still ways to fix the problem. Before fixing, assess the damage of warping. Follow the steps below to fix your warped oak doors:

  • Remove your oak door, resand, and coat with polyurethane or spar urethane varnish.
  • If the warped door causes the misalignment of the latches to the door frame, you need to adjust your door hinges. You could either tighten, move, or replace old hinges that can no longer carry the weight of the door.
  • Straighten a warped door using screw clamps. Make sure to cover the surface of the door using a small piece of board.
  • Place a heavy sandbag or any object with a similar weight over the warped part of the door. Leave the bag on the door for at least 24 hours.
  • If the weight is not enough, use a wet cloth and lay it over the warped portion. Then add 5 to 10 pounds of weight until the door has straightened. Repeat the process for several days until the door straightens.

Even after fixing the warped oak door, do not forget to take good care of the door. You need to dry out the parts exposed to water. You can also polish the oak doors with formulated wood oils and waxes. With the proper care, your oak doors will last.

In Closing

Old Oak Door with Welcome Mat, Do Oak Doors Warp? [And Tips On How To Prevent Warping]

A warped oak door is unappealing. Oak, like most wood doors, will warp over time. The damage of warping depends on the amount of moisture inside a door. The best way to avoid more damage to your oak doors is to prevent moisture. You can seal the door with a wood sealant or varnish. If you have not taken any preventive measures, you can still fix your warped oak door. Always take good care of your oak doors to make them last longer.

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