Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just cold days, winter months mean weather changes that play a role in every part of daily life in Murray. And while we might be quick to adjust our wardrobe or thermostat setting to meet the challenges brought by Mother Nature, one of the best defenses against the elements often goes ignored: our doors.
Your front door is more than just a welcoming entrance to your home or reflection of style for your visitors. It’s also a sturdy barrier defending you from windy weather that awaits outdoors. Just like any other facet of our homes, it’s vital to make sure your door is not only operating efficiently, but also keeping your home safe from the cold during the winter months.
A door that doesn’t seal out the cold can lead to more expensive energy bills and a generally colder home. Left ignored, 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 diagnose 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. After temps get warmer, they expand.
Over a number of seasons, this expansion and contraction can have an impact, causing doors to change their size and shape. Since most doors are made to measured door frame sizes, any bit 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 begins at the bottom of the door—due to gravity.
Left unchecked, this warping can cause gaps between the door and the frame that allow in outside air. While these gaps often go overlooked, the effect on your home temperature can be severe, even with a small gap. Without intervention, warping can bring about larger gaps, frequent sticking and eventual issues with loosened hinges that could create severe door damage.
Just as the cycle of fluctuating temperatures can damage doors, changes in humidity can also effect doors over the years. These humidity changes generally come from indoors. 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 absorb moisture from any possible source – including the moisture stored inside your wood door – and this can cause unwanted warping and cracking.
Cracking won’t bring the long-term structural effects that can come with warping, but it can play a serious role in your door’s look. It will be especially noticeable 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 expand and contract, the paint will move as well. Especially at joining sections of the door panel and frame, this could mean not only paint cracking but, if left ignored, paint chipping off.
Keeping doors healthy in winter
Seasonal weather can have a notable impact on your front doors. But understanding what causes the damage makes it easy to identify ways to make sure your doors don’t suffer the full force of the elements.
Just like you might take vitamin C to fight against a winter illness, an ounce of prevention can help in keeping your doors in good shape during the most intense winter weather. Here are some common, and convenient, ways to brace your doors for colder temperatures.
Doors start to settle into a house as soon as they’re installed, and weather takes its toll just as quickly. So even if your door was installed in the prior year, it’s a good thought 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 placed around the edges of the door. They are a good way to close gaps between your door and frame—helping stop 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 boost soundproofing.
Sealing helps stop cold air from coming through gaps in the doorway, but it’s also important to be certain warm air isn’t leaking outside. Especially with sliding doors that take up more wall space than other doors, it’s crucial to make sure that warm air isn’t being lost through convection.
Putting a draft-excluding strip along the bottom of sliding doors or at the base of entryway doors creates a barrier against warm air escaping 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 notice cold air is getting into your room, it’s worth investigating the connections of doors of any age to make sure they’re as securely attached to the frame as can be. Over time, hinges can get detatched 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 ensure 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 can strip the socket, destroy the screw and lead to more severe problems with hinges down the road.
You may not be affected by the dry indoor air that comes with the cold season, but your doors certainly can be impacted by it. Using a humidifier is a good way to keep an appropriate moisture level in your space’s air. Choose one that allows you to adjust and maintain a desired humidity level for best results. This will keep from creating too much moisture in the air, which can cause a different set of problems.
A constant humidity level in your home isn’t just good for your doors, but any other wooden furnishings you may have. And maintaining indoor humidity can also add to the overall quality of your indoor air—which means less possibility of health problems, like having that dreaded winter cold.
While isn’t 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 peak condition for the forseeable future. Is it time to give your home an updated look in your entryway? Are you searching for a door that can better defend against years of elements? Contact the team at Pella of Murray to find the perfect fit for your home.