Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just cold days, winter months come with weather changes that impact every part of daily life in Danville. And while we might be quick to make adjustments to our wardrobe or thermostat setting to deal with the challenges brought by Mother Nature, one of the sturdiest defenses against the elements often goes overlooked: 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 keeping you from colder weather that waits outside. Just like any other facet of our homes, it’s important 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 mean higher energy bills and a generally uncomfortable home. Left ignored, 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 review 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 air gets chillier, wooden doors, or those created with wood fibers, begin to contract. After 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 measured door frame sizes, any type of warping can end in a door catching on the frame. This can be identified in a door that seems more difficult to open and close. More often than not this starts at the bottom of the door—thanks to gravity.
Left alone, 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 repair, warping can lead to larger gaps, frequent sticking and eventual problems with loosened hinges that could end in significant door damage.
Just as the cycle of changing temperatures can cause changes to doors, changes in humidity can also effect doors over the years. These humidity changes generally come from inside the home. Colder weather presents a specific challenge as home heating systems can cause a decline in indoor air humidity.
Over time, this humidity drop can cause cracking in doors. Dry air will suck up moisture from any available source – including the moisture stored in your wood door – and this can mean unwanted warping and cracking.
Cracking won’t bring the long-term practical effects that can come with warping, but it can play a tremendous role in your door’s appearance. It will be especially evident in the inner paneling and door frame. As paint drains moisture due to decreased humidity, it also loses its flexibility. If the wood under the surface also begins expanding and contracting, the paint will shift as well. Notably at joining sections of the door panel and frame, this could mean 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 entry doors. But knowing what causes the problems makes it easy to come up with ways to make sure your doors don’t suffer the full force of the elements.
Just like a person might take vitamin C to fight against a winter bug, an dose of prevention can aid in keeping your doors sturdy during the most intense winter weather. Here are some common, and convenient, ways to strengthen your doors for colder temperatures.
Doors start to settle into a home right after they’re installed, and weather takes its toll immediately. So even if your door was placed in the past year, it’s a good idea 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 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 squeezing through. These soft adhesive strips collapse slightly whenever the door is closed, pressing to fill any gaps. Strips provide support while also preserving the look of the door. As a bonus, they also help to increase soundproofing.
Sealing helps stop cold air from seeping through gaps in the doorway, but it’s also important to know that warm air isn’t escaping. Particularly with sliding doors that take up more wall space than other doors, it’s important to make sure that warmth isn’t being lost through convection.
Putting a draft-excluding strip along the bottom of sliding doors or at the base of entryway doors provides a barrier against warm air leaking 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 leaking into your room, it’s worth investigating the connections of doors of any age to make sure they’re as tightly attached to the frame as possible. Over time, hinges can loosen from the frame due to warping. Taking a moment to adjust the hinges is a great preventative action to take before the temperatures change with each season.
To make sure damage isn’t created by overdoing it, it’s important to tighten hinges slowly and manually. Use a screwdriver instead of a drill to protect your door. Twisting the screw further than necessary could strip the socket, destroy the screw and lead to worse problems with hinges in the future.
You may not be bothered by the dehydrated indoor air that comes with the cold season, but your doors certainly can be impacted by it. Using a humidifier is the best way to keep an appropriate moisture level in your indoor air. Choose a model that allows you to adjust and maintain a desired humidity level for best results. This will defend against putting 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 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’s not a vitamin C supplement to keep your doors healthy, these easy steps are nearly 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 doorway? Are you searching for a door that can better stand up to years of extreme weather? Reach out to the pros at Pella of Danville to find the perfect fit for your home.