Protecting Your Doors from Winter Weather
Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just chilly temperatures, winter months bring 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 meet the challenges brought by Mother Nature, one of the best defenses against the weather often goes overlooked: 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 defending 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 properly, 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 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 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. When temperatures get warmer, they expand.
Over the years, this expansion and contraction can start to show, causing doors to change their size and shape. Since many doors are made to specific 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. More often than not 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 unnoticed, the effect on your home temperature can be severe, even with a small gap. Without attention, warping can result in larger gaps, more sticking and eventual concerns with loosened hinges that could lead to structural door damage.
CrackingJust as the cycle of fluctuating temperatures can cause changes to doors, changes in humidity can also have an impact on doors over seasons. These humidity changes frequently come from inside the house. Wintertime presents a unique challenge as home heating systems can cause a drop in indoor air humidity.
Over the seasons, this humidity drop can result in cracking in doors. Dry air will suck up moisture from any available source – including the moisture stored inside your wood door – and this can mean unwanted 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 drains 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 ignored, paint chipping away.
Keeping doors healthy in winter
Seasonal weather can have a notable impact on your entry 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 help in 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 as soon as they’re installed, and weather takes its toll just as quickly. So even if your door was installed 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 part of protecting your doors. Sealing strips can sit around the edges of the door. They are a good way to close gaps between your door and frame—helping prevent cold air from leaking. 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 be certain warm air isn’t escaping. Notably 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 produces a barrier against warm air escaping 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 feel cold air is getting 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 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 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 more severe problems with hinges down the road.
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 a humidifier that allows you to determine and maintain a desired humidity level for best results. This will prevent putting too much moisture in the air, which can lead to a different set of problems.
A constant humidity level in your home isn’t just helpful for your doors, but any other wooden furniture you may have. And maintaining indoor humidity can also improve the overall quality of your home’s air—which means less likelihood of health problems, like catching that dreaded winter cold.
While there’s not a vitamin C supplement to keep your doors healthy, 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 doorway? Are you looking for a door that can better withstand years of elements? Reach out to the pros at Pella of Victoria to find the perfect fit for your home.