Protecting Your Doors from Winter Weather
Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just brisk temperatures, winter months come with weather changes that impact every part of daily life in Sheridan. And while we might be quick to adjust our wardrobe or thermostat setting to meet the challenges brought by Mother Nature, one of the strongest defenses against the cold often goes overlooked: our doors.
Your front door is more than just a welcoming entry to your home or first impression of style for your visitors. It’s also a steadfast barrier protecting you from colder weather that awaits outside. Just like any other aspect of our homes, it’s vital to make sure your door is not only operating properly, but also keeping your home safe from the cold during the winter months.
A door that doesn’t keep 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 to that extreme! Winter is a great time to check for the signs of a door that might be failing, as well as the steps you can take to make sure your door is in top working condition.
What To Look For:
When the temperature gets chillier, wooden doors, or those made with wood fibers, begin to contract. When temps 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 cut to exact door frame sizes, any type of warping can result in 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 begins at the bottom of the door—thanks to gravity.
Left unrepaired, this warping can create gaps between the door and the frame that let in outside air. While these gaps often go overlooked, the effect on your home temperature can be severe, even with a small gap. Without intervention, warping can result in 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 have an impact on doors over seasons. These humidity changes often come from indoors. Wintertime 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 absorb moisture from any nearby source – including the moisture stored within your wood door – and this can cause troublesome warping and cracking.
Cracking won’t bring the long-term structural effects that can come with warping, but it can play a serious role in your door’s appeal. It will be especially noticeable in the inner paneling and door frame. As paint drains moisture due to low humidity, it also loses its flexibility. If the wood under the surface also begins expanding and contracting, the paint will shift as well. Especially at joining sections of the door panel and frame, this could result in not only paint cracking but, if left unchecked, paint chipping away.
Keeping doors healthy in winter
Seasonal weather can have a notable impact on your front 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 dose of prevention can go a long way toward keeping your doors in good shape during the most intense winter weather. Here are some common, and easy, ways to brace your doors for colder temperatures.
SealingDoors start to settle into a home as soon as they’re installed, and weather takes its toll just as quickly. So even if your door was installed in the prior year, it’s a good idea to be on the lookout for gaps around the sides of your doors.
Keeping gaps effectively sealed is an important part of protecting your doors. Sealing strips can be placed around the edges of the door. They are a good way to close gaps between your door and frame—helping keep cold air from leaking. These soft adhesive strips collapse slightly whenever the door is closed, squeezing 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 keep 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.
Placing 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 possible. Over time, hinges can come loose from the frame due to warping. Taking a moment to adjust the hinges is a great preventative step to take before the temperatures change with each season.
To make sure damage isn’t done 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 worse problems with hinges later.
Increasing humidityYou may not be affected by the dry indoor air that comes with the cold season, but your doors certainly can be affected by it. Using a humidifier is an effective way to keep an acceptable moisture level in your home’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 cause a different set of problems.
A constant humidity level in your home isn’t just important for your doors, but any other wooden furnishings you may have. And maintaining indoor humidity can also add to the overall quality of your indoor air—which means less chance of health problems, like coming down with that dreaded winter cold.
While there might not be a vitamin C supplement to maintain your door’s health, these easy steps are virtually as good when it comes to making sure your home’s doors remain in top 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 stand up to years of elements? Contact the professionals at Pella of Sheridan to find the perfect fit for your home.