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Primed Exterior Frames

Gregg Hoyer explains the differences between primed finger-jointed, wood, and composite frames and which ones are recommended for each exposure type.


As with all building products it always seems like we have a lot of options, well we have options on primed exterior frames. Here we have three 4-9/16” primed frames. Frames are the parts of your door unit that hold your door in place, it’s really important. If your frame goes bad, your door unit has gone bad.

Our first frame is the cheapest frame, this is the standard, it is nothing other than multiple blocks of finger-jointed material with a primed coat over the top of it. It’s cheap, it’s inexpensive and it should only be used in a fully protected doorway or for interior use. This product cannot sustain any kind of durability in a partially protected doorway or in an unprotected doorway for any real length of time, in other words it’ll go bad in a couple of years. It really is all about the price and unfortunately this is what the industry considers standard.

Now our next frame is a big improvement over the primed finger-joint frame, it also has finger-jointed material in it, this is the FrameSaver frame, but what’s real important about this frame is the bottom. It’s close to the sill, it’s at the bottom of the door unit and has a composite block – that means it’s got an inert material that won’t allow any moisture to get into this vulnerable part of the frame. This allows longevity in the frame, it’s good for a partially protected opening and it’s a vast improvement over the primed finger-joint.

Finally the best primed frame we have is the all composite frame, now this has no finger-joints in it at all because it’s an all composite product. That means the entire frame is inert from rot, it’s not going to get insect infestation, it’s going to last for a very, very long time. We have two versions of this primed frame or paintable frame, one is the OnGuard frame, the other one is the Ultra Jamb. The Ultra Jamb is available in very fixed widths, 4-9/16”, 5-¼” and 6-9/16” that means not trimmable and you’ve got to pay close attention to installing this because of its composite nature. It’s not as rigid as wood, it can move and so forth, especially with thermal conditions, thermal bowing and so forth. So pay attention to the instructions that we give on installation.

So we’ve got a very cheapest frame, for just a few dollars more you can really upgrade to a much superior frame product and for not a lot more, you can go to an all composite frame and have a door unit that will match the exposure.  It is very important to remember, you can put the most expensive, the longest lasting door on the cheapest frame and what you’re going to get is a very short-lived door unit.

Exterior Frame, Preparation, Primed
Updated on March 7, 2019

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