While buying a quality door unit is a solid investment in your home or building, not all frames—particularly wood ones—will be able to weather every storm. If you currently have a wood frame that is vulnerable to rot, it’s important to try and spot door frame damage early to salvage it —otherwise, you’ll be stuck replacing a rotted door frame.

A rotting door frame is bad news for more than just the door unit itself, and can lead to increased utility bills due to air drafts, interior water damage from leakage, and additional structural issues. Learn how to spot rot, the best methods for replacing a rotted door frame, and quality alternative door frame materials.

How to tell if a door frame is rotting

There are a few telltale signs to spot a rotting door frame. However, too often they appear when it’s too late to salvage the existing frame, requiring you to purchase and replace the rotted door frame. To spot rot, keep an eye on the bottom of the exterior door frame and look for these signs:

  • Peeling paint or cracks in the frame can be key identifiers that it is succumbing to the pressure of excess moisture or wear and tear.
  • Any kind of functional issue (such as a jam when opening or closing or a drift) can also mean rot is developing.
  • If dark patches begin to appear around the door frame it might be fungi, which feed on moist wood.
  • If the frame looks distorted or compromised in shape at all, that could mean water corrosion.

Another way to test for early rot is by pushing on the frame. An intact, healthy frame should feel sturdy, while any softness could indicate damage.

How to prevent door frames from rotting

The top priority with door frame rot prevention is keeping moisture and excess water out of the home or building interior. Moisture can infiltrate through a compromised door frame to affect the door unit and, without a sill pan, seep into floorboards and rot much more than just your door frame. Repairing and replacing door frames, while costly, will save you a significant amount compared to replacing floors and any interior damage along with your door.

Frequent observation, especially following storms and any other moisture-driven weather conditions, along with the use of a sill pan to divert water away from the door, can all help prevent door frames from rotting. Also, consider the type of door frame (highlighted below) if you’re seeking a durable, long-lasting solution.

Replacing a rotting door frame

If the extent of the damage is too large for a small repair or fix, you may be on the lookout for a new replacement door frame. There are a few options when replacing a rotting door frame: replace it on your own or enlist a trusted company to complete the task.

Key considerations for replacement include the materials, costs, warranty, and if you’ll need an entire door unit replacement. Choosing quality materials with lasting power will ensure your replacement frame withstands significant use and doesn’t deteriorate quickly.

Composite door frames are a rot-free solution

Plastpro’s Polyfiber (PF) Door Frames, a composite door frame, are an innovative and recent alternative to traditional wood frames. The uniquely formulated frame combines a gorgeous wood aesthetic with the low-maintenance, long lifespan of the more durable composite material. It’s thermally resistant (more so than wood and even metal) with the same installation requirements as a wood door frame-no additional hassle required. Consider combining the PF frame with one of Plastpro’s fiberglass doors to create an enhanced, impenetrable entryway.

Check out Plastpro’s Where to Buy page to find the closest distributor for composite door frame & door frame pricing.