Protecting Your Doors from Winter Weather
Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just brisk temperatures, winter months come with weather changes that influence every part of daily life in Sheridan. And while we might be quick to adjust our wardrobe or home comfort setting to deal with the challenges brought by Mother Nature, one of the strongest defenses against the cold often goes ignored: our doors.
Your front door is more than just a inviting entry to your home or first glimpse of style for your visitors. It’s also a significant barrier defending you from colder weather that awaits outside. Just like any other aspect of our homes, it’s important to make sure your door is not only operating well, but also keeping your home safe from the cold during the winter months.
A door that doesn’t seal out the cold can result in more expensive energy bills and a generally chilly home. Left forgotten, some problems might end with the need for a new replacement door. Don’t let things go that far! Winter is a great time to check for the symptoms of a door that might be starting to fail, as well as the steps you can take to make sure your door is in the best working condition.
What To Look For:
When the weather gets chillier, wooden doors, or those created with wood fibers, begin to contract. When temperatures get warmer, they expand.
Over the years, this expansion and contraction can start to show, causing doors to change their size and shape. Since the majority of doors are crafted to exact door frame sizes, any type of warping can lead to a door catching on the frame. This can be observed in a door that seems more difficult to open and close. More often than not this starts at the bottom of the door—because of gravity.
Left unrepaired, this warping can create gaps between the door and the frame that allow in outside air. While these gaps often go overlooked, the effect on your home temperature can be severe, even with a small gap. Without attention, warping can lead to larger gaps, more sticking and eventual concerns with loosened hinges that could end in significant door damage.
CrackingJust as the cycle of varying temperatures can cause changes to doors, changes in humidity can also effect doors over seasons. These humidity changes often come from inside the house. Winter presents a seasonal challenge as home heating systems can cause a decrease indoor air humidity.
Over the years, this humidity drop can lead to cracking in doors. Dry air will suck up moisture from any nearby source – including the moisture stored inside your wood door – and this can cause troublesome warping and cracking.
Cracking won’t have the long-term structural effects that can come with warping, but it can play a tremendous role in your door’s appeal. It will be especially noticeable in the inner paneling and door frame. As paint drains moisture due to decreased humidity, it also loses its flexibility. If the wood beneath the surface also begins to expand and contract, the paint will shift as well. Particularly at joining sections of the door panel and frame, this could lead to not only paint cracking but, if left ignored, paint chipping off.
Keeping doors healthy in winter
Seasonal weather can have a notable impact on your entry doors. But understanding what causes the damage makes it easy to find ways to make sure your doors don’t suffer the damaging impact of the elements.
Just like you might take vitamin C to battle against a winter cold, an ounce of prevention can help in keeping your doors in good shape during the most intense winter weather. Here are some common, and simple, ways to brace your doors for colder temperatures.
SealingDoors start to settle into a house the moment they’re installed, and weather takes its toll just as quickly. So even if your door was placed in the prior year, it’s a good time to be on the lookout for gaps around the sides of your doors.
Keeping gaps effectively sealed is an important step for protecting your doors. Sealing strips can be placed around the edges of the door. They are a good way to protect against gaps between your door and frame—helping keep cold air from leaking. These soft adhesive strips collapse a bit whenever the door is closed, adjusting to fill any gaps. Strips provide support while also protecting the look of the door. As a bonus, they also help to improve soundproofing.
InsulatingSealing helps prevent cold air from passing through gaps in the doorway, but it’s also important to know that warm air isn’t getting out. Notably with sliding doors that take up more wall space than other doors, it’s vital to make sure that warm air isn’t being lost through convection.
Adding a draft-excluding strip along the bottom of sliding doors or at the base of entryway doors produces a barrier against warm air leaving through the lower track or bottom of the door.
TighteningLoose hinges may seem like a problem only for homes with older doors. But if you can tell cold air is getting into your room, it’s worth investigating the connections of doors of any age to make sure they’re as securely attached to the frame as can be. Over time, hinges can come loose from the frame due to warping. Taking a moment to tighten the hinges is a great preventative measure to take before the temperatures change with each season.
To be certain damage isn’t caused by overdoing it, it’s important to tighten hinges slowly and manually. Use a screwdriver and not a drill to protect your door. Twisting the screw further than necessary might strip the socket, destroy the screw and lead to further problems with hinges later.
Increasing humidityYou may not be bothered by the drier indoor air that comes with the cold season, but your doors certainly can be damaged by it. Using a humidifier is an effective way to keep an acceptable moisture level in your space’s air. Choose a humidifier that allows you to adjust and maintain a preferred humidity level for best results. This will keep from creating too much moisture in the air, which can lead to a different set of problems.
A constant humidity level in your house isn’t just important for your doors, but any other wooden furniture you may have. And maintaining indoor humidity can also add to the overall quality of your home’s air—which means less chance of health problems, like catching that dreaded winter cold.
While there might not be a vitamin C supplement to keep your doors healthy, these simple steps are virtually as good when it comes to making sure your home’s doors remain in peak condition for the forseeable future. Is it time to give your home an updated look in your front door? Are you planning for a door that can better withstand years of elements? Reach out to the professionals at Pella of Sheridan to find the perfect fit for your home.