Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just cold days, winter months come with weather changes that influence every part of daily life in South Burlington. And while we might be quick to adjust our wardrobe or heater setting to deal with the challenges brought by Mother Nature, one of the strongest defenses against the cold often goes unmentioned: 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 awaits outdoors. Just like any other facet of our homes, it’s important to make sure your door is not only operating well, but also keeping your home protected 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 uncomfortable home. Left ignored, some problems might lead to the need for a new replacement door. Don’t let things go that far! Winter is a great time to check for the indications 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 top working condition.
What To Look For:
When the temperature gets chillier, wooden doors, or those constructed with wood fibers, begin to contract. As temperatures 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 measured door frame sizes, any amount 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. In many cases this starts at the bottom of the door—because of gravity.
Left alone, this warping can cause gaps between the door and the frame that allow in outside air. While these gaps often go unnoticed, the effect on your home temperature can be severe, even with a small gap. Without intervention, warping can result in larger gaps, more sticking and eventual issues with loosened hinges that could end in structural door damage.
Just as the cycle of changing temperatures can cause changes to doors, changes in humidity can also effect doors over seasons. These humidity changes frequently come from indoors. Wintertime presents a specific challenge as home heating systems can cause a decline in indoor air humidity.
Over the years, this humidity drop can result in cracking in doors. Dry air will suck up moisture from any available source – including the moisture stored within your wood door – and this can cause undesirable warping and cracking.
Cracking won’t result in 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 loses moisture due to reduced humidity, it also loses its flexibility. If the wood below the surface also begins to do the same, the paint will be moved as well. Especially at joining sections of the door panel and frame, this could result in not only paint cracking but, if left ignored, paint chipping from the door.
Keeping doors healthy in winter
Winter weather can have a significant impact on your exterior doors. But knowing what causes the damage makes it easy to find ways to make sure your doors don’t suffer the full force of the elements.
Just like you might take vitamin C to defend 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 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 added in the past year, it’s a good time to be on the lookout for gaps around the sides of your doors.
Keeping gaps correctly 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 block gaps between your door and frame—helping keep cold air from seeping in. These soft adhesive strips collapse a small amount whenever the door is closed, pressing to fill any gaps. Strips provide support while also maintaining 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 make sure warm air isn’t leaking outside. Notably with sliding doors that take up more wall space than other doors, it’s vital to make sure that warmth isn’t being lost through convection.
Placing a draft-excluding strip along the bottom of sliding doors or at the base of entryway doors provides a barrier against warm air leaving through the lower track or bottom of the door.
Loose hinges may seem like a problem only for homes with older doors. But if you can tell cold air is entering 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 come loose 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 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, damage the screw and lead to more severe problems with hinges down the road.
You may not be bothered by the drier indoor air that comes with the cold season, but your doors certainly can be affected by it. Using a humidifier is a good way to keep an appropriate moisture level in your space’s air. Choose a model that allows you to determine and maintain a desired humidity level for best results. This will keep from adding too much moisture in the air, which can develop a different set of problems.
A constant humidity level in your house isn’t just good for your doors, but any other wooden pieces 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 top condition for years. Is it time to give your home an updated look in your entryway? Are you searching for a door that can better withstand years of extreme weather? Reach out to the team at Pella of South Burlington to find the perfect fit for your home.