Protecting Your Doors from Winter Weather
Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just chilly temperatures, winter months mean weather changes that play a role in every part of daily life in Victoria. And while we might be quick to make adjustments to our wardrobe or heater setting to deal with the challenges brought by Mother Nature, one of the strongest defenses against the elements often goes ignored: our doors.
Your front door is more than just a appealing entrance to your home or first glimpse of style for your visitors. It’s also a significant barrier protecting you from colder weather that awaits outdoors. 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 block out the cold can lead to more expensive energy bills and a generally colder home. Left forgotten, some problems might result in the need for a new replacement door. Don’t let things go that long! Winter is a great time to check for the signs of a door that might be showing signs of damage, 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 constructed with wood fibers, begin to contract. As temperatures get warmer, they expand.
Over time, this expansion and contraction can start to show, causing doors to change their size and shape. Since many doors are made to exact door frame sizes, any amount 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 can first be seen at the bottom of the door—due 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 severe, even with a small gap. Without attention, warping can lead to larger gaps, increased sticking and eventual concerns with loosened hinges that could lead to 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 generally come from inside the house. Winter presents a specific challenge as home heating systems can cause a decrease indoor air humidity.
Over the seasons, this humidity drop can result in cracking in doors. Dry air will suck up moisture from any possible source – including the moisture stored within your wood door – and this can mean undesirable warping and cracking.
Cracking won’t have the long-term practical effects that can come with warping, but it can play a significant role in your door’s appearance. It will be especially evident in the inner paneling and door frame. As paint loses moisture due to low humidity, it also loses its flexibility. If the wood below 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 mean not only paint cracking but, if left unchecked, paint chipping off.
Keeping doors healthy in winter
Seasonal weather can have a notable impact on your front doors. But understanding what causes the problems makes it easy to come up with ways to make sure your doors don’t suffer the brunt of the elements.
Just like a person might take vitamin C to defend against a winter cold, an ounce of prevention can go a long way toward keeping your doors sturdy during the most extreme winter weather. Here are some common, and convenient, ways to brace your doors for colder temperatures.
SealingDoors start to settle into a frame the moment they’re installed, and weather takes its toll just as quickly. So even if your door was placed in the last year, it’s a good thought 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 sit 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 squeezing through. These soft adhesive strips collapse a small amount whenever the door is closed, adjusting to fill any gaps. Strips provide support while also maintaining the look of the door. As a bonus, they also help to boost soundproofing.
InsulatingSealing helps keep cold air from seeping through gaps in the doorway, but it’s also important to make sure warm air isn’t getting out. Notably with sliding doors that take up more wall space than other doors, it’s crucial 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 produces a barrier against warm air leaving through the lower track or bottom of the door.
TighteningLoose hinges may seem like a issue only for homes with older doors. But if you notice cold air is getting into your room, it’s worth checking the connections of doors of any age to make sure they’re as firmly attached to the frame as possible. Over time, hinges can loosen from the frame due to warping. Taking a moment to tighten the hinges is a great preventative action 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 instead of a drill to protect your door. Twisting the screw further than necessary might strip the socket, damage the screw and lead to more severe problems with hinges later.
Increasing humidityYou may not be disturbed by the dehydrated indoor air that comes with the cold season, but your doors certainly can be damaged by it. Using a humidifier is the best way to keep an acceptable moisture level in your indoor air. Choose one that allows you to determine and maintain a chosen 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 good for your doors, but any other wooden furnishings you may have. And maintaining indoor humidity can also improve the overall quality of your indoor air—which means less possibility of health problems, like coming down with that dreaded winter cold.
While there’s not a vitamin C supplement to maintain your door’s health, these easy steps are almost as good when it comes to making sure your home’s doors remain in their best condition for as long as possible. Is it time to give your home an updated look in your entryway? Are you looking for a door that can better stand up to years of elements? Contact the pros at Pella of Victoria to find the perfect fit for your home.