Protecting Your Doors from Winter Weather
Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just chilly temperatures, winter months come with weather changes that play a role in every part of daily life in Bloomington, IN. 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 weather often goes overlooked: our doors.
Your front door is more than just a welcoming entryway to your home or reflection of style for your visitors. It’s also a steadfast barrier defending you from blustery weather that waits outdoors. Just like any other facet of our homes, it’s necessary to make sure your door is not only operating efficiently, but also keeping your home guarded from the cold during the winter months.
A door that doesn’t block out the cold can lead to increased 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 check for the symptoms of a door that might be starting to fail, as well as the steps you can take to make sure your door is in top working condition.
What To Look For:
When the temperature gets chillier, wooden doors, or those constructed with wood fibers, begin to contract. As temps get warmer, they expand.
Over time, this expansion and contraction can take its toll, causing doors to change their size and shape. Since most doors are crafted to measured door frame sizes, any amount of warping can result 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—because of gravity.
Left unchecked, this warping can lead to gaps between the door and the frame that let in outside air. While these gaps often go unnoticed, the effect on your home temperature can be noticeable, even with a small gap. Without attention, warping can lead to larger gaps, more sticking and eventual issues with loosened hinges that could end in significant door damage.
CrackingJust as the cycle of varying temperatures can cause changes to doors, changes in humidity can also have an impact on doors over time. These humidity changes often come from indoors. Wintertime presents a seasonal challenge as home heating systems can cause a drop in indoor air humidity.
Over the years, this humidity drop can result in cracking in doors. Dry air will take in moisture from any available source – including the moisture stored inside your wood door – and this can create 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 appeal. It will be especially obvious 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. Particularly at joining sections of the door panel and frame, this could lead to not only paint cracking but, if left unchecked, paint chipping off.
Keeping doors healthy in winter
Seasonal weather can have a meaningful impact on your front doors. But learning what causes the issues makes it easy to find ways to make sure your doors don’t suffer the brunt of the elements.
Just like you might take vitamin C to battle against a winter cold, an ounce of prevention can aid in keeping your doors healthy during the most intense 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 immediately. So even if your door was installed in the last year, it’s a good time to be on the lookout for gaps around the sides of your doors.
Keeping gaps properly sealed is an important part of protecting your doors. Sealing strips can be added 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 slightly whenever the door is closed, pressing 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 prevent cold air from coming 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 important to make sure that heat 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 notice cold air is leaking into your room, it’s worth checking the connections of doors of any age to make sure they’re as tightly 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 make sure damage isn’t done 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.
Increasing humidityYou may not be bothered by the dehydrated indoor air that comes with wintertime, but your doors certainly can be impacted by it. Using a humidifier is the best way to keep an acceptable moisture level in your space’s air. Choose a model that allows you to set and maintain a preferred humidity level for best results. This will keep from adding too much moisture in the air, which can cause a different set of problems.
A constant humidity level in your home isn’t just important for your doors, but any other wooden furniture you may have. And maintaining indoor humidity can also improve the overall quality of your room’s air—which means less possibility of health problems, like catching that dreaded winter cold.
While there’s not a vitamin C supplement to maintain your door’s health, these simple steps are almost as good when it comes to making sure your home’s doors remain in peak 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 defend against years of extreme weather? Reach out to the team at Pella of Bloomington, IN to find the perfect fit for your home.