5 Key Tips to Stop Exterior Steel Doors From Rusting
Your exterior steel doors are the first thing visitors see and are vital to the safety of your home. You want to keep them well-maintained so they last longer and keep their beauty. When kept in good condition, exterior steel doors can last more than 30 years.
But outdoor moisture, humidity, oxygen, and carbon monoxide can damage steel doors by causing rust to form. And if you have wooden edges, you’re susceptible to wood rot, which creates metal door rust at a much faster rate.
What causes exterior steel doors to rust?
Before we can understand how to prevent and remove rust from steel doors, we should have an understanding of the causes. Here are the main causes of metal door rust:
- Forgetting to clean them regularly
- Using abrasive chemicals when cleaning
- Leaving moisture build-up or water on your door
Luckily, there are preventive measures you can take to prevent your exterior steel doors from rusting. Here are 5 key tips for preventing and removing rust from steel doors:
1. Keep your exterior steel doors clean
Regularly cleaning your exterior steel doors is your first line of defense against the build-up of metal door rust. Typically, it should be done at least once a month, but if you live near a body of water or a humid climate, aim for twice a month to fight off corrosion.
To clean your steel door, you need to:
- Clean the steel with mild soap and water
- Grab a non-abrasive microfiber pad or cloth and then wet it with water
- Apply the cleaning solution to the cloth or pad
- Wipe down all areas of your exterior steel door
- Rinse the door with water and dry with a non-abrasive sponge
However, you should avoid the following cleaning solutions:
- Solutions with high alkalinity
- Bathroom cleaners
- Abrasive sponges or cloths
- Solutions with high levels of bleach
Using any of these mentioned above could damage the exterior steel door’s protective coatings or the steel itself or cause it to rust.
How often should I clean exterior steel doors to prevent them from rusting?
Clean any exterior doors like your front door, patio door, or storm door once per month to prevent metal door rust from creeping in and taking over.
2. Grease the hinges of your exterior steel doors
Entry doors have many small hinges that help them function, so they must stay clean and well lubricated. Use the same solution you used to clean the exterior steel door and clean the hinges. After you’ve cleaned the hinges, it’s time to lubricate them.
To lubricate the hinges, use a lithium grease or silicone lubricant found at any home improvement store. Then, ensure you grease them all over to keep all parts working smoothly. You even want to get inside the lock.
How often should I grease the hinges to prevent the build-up of metal door rust on entry doors?
You’ll want to grease your luxury exterior steel doors at least once per year to prevent them from rusting.
3. Apply wax or oil to your steel doors
A great way to keep water away from your exterior steel door is to wax them. If you’ve ever waxed a car, door wax is applied the same way. Just take a non-abrasive, lint-free cloth, and apply the wax.
You could also use linseed oil to prevent oxidation, leading to metal door rust. Raw linseed oil can take months to effectively dry, so you will have to opt for boiled linseed oil and apply it in thin coats.
How often should I apply wax or oil to exterior steel doors to prevent rusting?
You’ll want to apply wax or oil to exterior steel doors at least once per year to prevent them from rusting. However, in more severe climates, you may need to reapply every six months.
4. Add paint to your exterior steel doors
If you enjoy the way your exterior steel doors look as-is, you don’t have to paint them. However, painting steel doors does help protect against rust. So, if you do want to paint your exterior steel doors, begin by taking them off their hinges.
If the door has any existing paint or rust, make sure to remove it using the steps above before you apply the paint. Then, using the previous cleaning instructions, clean the door and simply add the paint and primer. Again, remember to use products that are suitable for steel doors.
5. How to remove rust from steel doors
In most cases, it’s fairly easy to move rust from steel doors. Just follow these steps:
- Clean your door
- Cover the ground around the door to quickly clean up any debris
- Using sandpaper or a wire brush, sand off the rust until it’s gone. Make sure the area is smooth.
- Vacuum the newly sanded areas and wipe with a wet cloth
- Fill any dips and crevices with an auto-body putty filler, smooth it down, and then let it dry for about 30 minutes
- Sand down the patched areas so that they are smooth, then wipe down to get rid of debris.
Is it time to replace your steel entry door?
If rust has had the chance to build-up in excess, and the doors were not properly maintained, it may be a lot harder to remove the rust from steel doors than it is to replace them. Here are signs it may be time to consider replacing steel doors:
- There are noticeable cracks or damage to the exterior
- The rust has started corroding part of the metal
- It’s hard to open
Enjoy Your Rust-Free Exterior Steel Doors
These 5 tips can help you prevent exterior steel doors from rusting, which will help your investment in your home or business go farther while ensuring they look elegant, luxurious, and clean.