Protecting Your Doors from Winter Weather
Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just chilly temps, winter months mean weather changes that impact every part of daily life in Shrewsbury. 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 elements often goes overlooked: our doors.
Your front door is more than just a welcoming entry to your home or first glimpse of style for your visitors. It’s also a steadfast barrier protecting you from windy weather that lurks outdoors. Just like any other aspect of our homes, it’s necessary to make sure your door is not only operating well, but also keeping your home guarded from the cold during the winter months.
A door that doesn’t keep out the cold can mean more expensive energy bills and a generally chilly home. Left forgotten, some problems might lead to the need for a new replacement door. Don’t let things go to that extreme! Winter is a great time to diagnose the signs of a door that might be starting to fail, as well as the steps you can take to make sure your door is in prime working condition.
What To Look For:
When the weather gets chillier, wooden doors, or those created with wood fibers, begin to contract. After weather get warmer, they expand.
Over the years, this expansion and contraction can take its toll, causing doors to change their size and shape. Since the majority of doors are made to specific door frame sizes, any type of warping can end in a door catching on the frame. This can be observed in a door that seems more difficult to open and close. In many cases this can first be seen at the bottom of the door—thanks to gravity.
Left unrepaired, this warping can cause gaps between the door and the frame that bring in outside air. While these gaps often go unseen, the effect on your home temperature can be significant, even with a small gap. Without attention, warping can lead to larger gaps, more sticking and eventual problems with loosened hinges that could end in structural door damage.
CrackingJust as the cycle of fluctuating temperatures can take its toll on doors, changes in humidity can also have an impact on doors over seasons. These humidity changes frequently come from inside the home. Wintertime presents a specific challenge as home heating systems can cause a decline in indoor air humidity.
Over time, 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 undesirable warping and cracking.
Cracking won’t result in the long-term usability effects that can come with warping, but it can play a significant 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 expanding and contracting, the paint will be moved as well. Notably at joining sections of the door panel and frame, this could lead to not only paint cracking but, if left alone, paint chipping from the door.
Keeping doors healthy in winter
Winter weather can have a meaningful impact on your entry doors. But understanding what causes the issues makes it easy to come up with ways to make sure your doors don’t suffer the full force of the elements.
Just like we might take vitamin C to fight against a winter bug, an dose of prevention can help in keeping your doors in good shape during the most severe winter weather. Here are some common, and easy, ways to strengthen your doors for colder temperatures.
SealingDoors start to settle into a frame as soon as they’re installed, and weather takes its toll soon after. So even if your door was added 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 key to 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 prevent 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 boost soundproofing.
InsulatingSealing helps stop cold air from coming through gaps in the doorway, but it’s also important to make sure warm air isn’t getting out. Especially with sliding doors that take up more wall space than other doors, it’s crucial 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 feel cold air is leaking into your room, it’s worth investigating 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 loosen from the frame due to warping. Taking a moment to fix the hinges is a great preventative step to take before the temperatures change with each season.
To ensure 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 can strip the socket, destroy the screw and lead to more severe problems with hinges in the future.
Increasing humidityYou may not be disturbed by the dehydrated indoor air that comes with wintertime, but your doors certainly can be damaged by it. Using a humidifier is the best way to keep an ideal moisture level in your indoor air. Choose one that allows you to set and maintain a preferred humidity level for best results. This will prevent 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 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 possibility of health problems, like having that dreaded winter cold.
While there might not be a vitamin C supplement to give your doors a boost, these simple steps are almost as good when it comes to making sure your home’s doors remain in peak condition for years. Is it time to give your home an updated look in your entryway? Are you planning for a door that can better withstand years of elements? Contact the pros at Pella of Shrewsbury to find the perfect fit for your home.