Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just cold days, winter months come with weather changes that play a role in every part of daily life in Concord. And while we might be quick to change our wardrobe or thermostat setting to deal with the challenges brought by Mother Nature, one of the best defenses against the elements often goes unmentioned: our doors.
Your front door is more than just a inviting entrance to your home or reflection of style for your visitors. It’s also a steadfast barrier protecting you from blustery weather that lurks on the other side. Just like any other facet of our homes, it’s necessary to make sure your door is not only operating properly, but also keeping your home guarded from the cold during the winter months.
A door that doesn’t block out the cold can result in more expensive energy bills and a generally uncomfortable home. Left forgotten, some problems might lead to the need for a new replacement door. Don’t let things go that long! Winter is a great time to check for the symptoms 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 weather gets chillier, wooden doors, or those made with wood fibers, begin to contract. After temps get warmer, they expand.
Over a number of seasons, this expansion and contraction can have an impact, causing doors to change their size and shape. Since most doors are cut to measured door frame sizes, any type of warping can result in a door catching on the frame. This can be seen in a door that seems more difficult to open and close. Usually this starts at the bottom of the door—thanks to gravity.
Left unrepaired, this warping can cause 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 significant, even with a small gap. Without repair, warping can bring about larger gaps, increased sticking and eventual problems with loosened hinges that could create structural door damage.
Just as the cycle of varying temperatures can take its toll on doors, changes in humidity can also effect doors over the years. These humidity changes often come from inside the house. Winter presents a seasonal challenge as home heating systems can cause a drop in indoor air humidity.
Over the years, this humidity drop can lead to cracking in doors. Dry air will take in moisture from any nearby source – including the moisture stored in your wood door – and this can mean troublesome warping and cracking.
Cracking won’t have the long-term usability effects that can come with warping, but it can play a serious role in your door’s look. It will be especially evident in the inner paneling and door frame. As paint gives up moisture due to reduced humidity, it also loses its flexibility. If the wood below the surface also begins to expand and contract, the paint will be moved as well. Especially at joining sections of the door panel and frame, this could mean not only paint cracking but, if left ignored, paint chipping from the door.
Keeping doors healthy in winter
Colder weather can have a significant impact on your front doors. But knowing what causes the problems makes it easy to find ways to make sure your doors don’t suffer the damaging impact of the elements.
Just like a person might take vitamin C to fight against a winter cold, an ounce of prevention can aid in keeping your doors sturdy during the most intense winter weather. Here are some common, and easy, ways to strengthen your doors for colder temperatures.
Doors start to settle into a home the moment they’re installed, and weather takes its toll immediately. So even if your door was placed in the past year, it’s a good time to be on the lookout for gaps around the sides of your doors.
Keeping gaps correctly sealed is an important step for protecting your doors. Sealing strips can be added around the edges of the door. They are a good way to block gaps between your door and frame—helping stop cold air from leaking. These soft adhesive strips collapse slightly whenever the door is closed, adjusting to fill any gaps. Strips provide support while also preserving the look of the door. As a bonus, they also help to boost soundproofing.
Sealing helps keep cold air from passing through gaps in the doorway, but it’s also important to be certain warm air isn’t leaking outside. Particularly 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.
Putting 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.
Loose hinges may seem like a concern only for homes with older doors. But if you notice cold air is getting into your room, it’s worth taking a look at the connections of doors of any age to make sure they’re as firmly attached to the frame as can be. Over time, hinges can get detatched from the frame due to warping. Taking a moment to fix the hinges is a great preventative action 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 rather than a drill to protect your door. Twisting the screw further than necessary might strip the socket, ruin the screw and lead to further problems with hinges in the future.
You may not be disturbed by the dehydrated indoor air that comes with winter, but your doors certainly can be affected by it. Using a humidifier is a good way to keep an appropriate moisture level in your home’s air. Choose a model that allows you to set and maintain a preferred humidity level for best results. This will defend against adding too much moisture in the air, which can cause a different set of problems.
A constant humidity level in your house isn’t just helpful for your doors, but any other wooden furniture you may have. And maintaining indoor humidity can also increase the overall quality of your room’s air—which means less possibility of health problems, like catching that dreaded winter cold.
While there might not be a vitamin C supplement to maintain your door’s health, these basic steps are nearly as good when it comes to making sure your home’s doors are in top condition for the forseeable future. Is it time to give your home an updated look in your entryway? Are you planning for a door that can better stand up to years of extreme weather? Reach out to the pros at Pella of Concord to find the perfect fit for your home.