Varnishing and fitting fire doors in a Victorian house (part 2)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015 0 , , Permalink 1

In my last blog post I talked about choosing some lovely oak veneer fire doors and antique brass door furniture. I was a bit nervous about them being delivered because of their weight and the care that needed to be taken to stop them from warping.

They needed to be laid flat and the room couldn’t be too hot, too damp or too dry otherwise the moisture content of the doors would become unbalanced and they’d warp out of shape.

Wet plaster anywhere near untreated doors is an absolute no no. But I had to get some damp proofing done in the living room and have a ceiling in one of the bedrooms replastered at the same time – not ideal! I ended up clearing a space in the dining room where I could lay the three doors flat on the floor. I kept the central heating turned off, used a dehumidifier upstairs to reduce air moisture and kept the door to the living room closed.

Untreated doors need to be sealed as soon as possible after delivery. I had a couple of weeks to varnish them before they were fitted so I set up a space to work in the dining room.

My makeshift workshop

My makeshift workshop

I used Sikkens Cetol TSI Satin Plus in light oak to seal the doors. The manufacturer advised to not use water-based stains and varnishes, Danish oil products or wax because they might penetrate the glue and lift the veneer (de-lamination). I only had space to varnish one side at a time so the next night, once it was dry, my boyfriend helped me flip the door over so I could do the other side.

Light oak coloured varnish

Light oak coloured varnish

Sadly one of the original door frames had to be replaced because it was fitted out of alignment by the Victorian builders. Usually a door can be trimmed to suit the frame but when fitting fire doors there’s a limit to the amount that can taken off each edge. In this case the frame was so wonky that it wasn’t possible to accommodate the fire door. A local joiner did all this then fitted the doors.

Door frame being removed

Door frame being removed

Door edge with channel for intumescent strip

Door edge with channel routed for intumescent strip

 

The new study door

The doors still need another two coats of varnish, and of course the rest of the house needs decorating around them, but overall I’m really pleased!