Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just chilly days, winter months bring weather changes that influence every part of daily life in Springfield. 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 sturdiest defenses against the elements often goes ignored: our doors.
Your front door is more than just a inviting entryway to your home or first impression of style for your visitors. It’s also a steadfast barrier defending you from windy weather that waits outside. Just like any other facet of our homes, it’s vital to make sure your door is not only operating properly, but also keeping your home protected from the cold during the winter months.
A door that doesn’t seal out the cold can result in increased energy bills and a generally uncomfortable 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 review 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 the best working condition.
What To Look For:
When the weather gets chillier, wooden doors, or those created with wood fibers, begin to contract. As weather get warmer, they expand.
Over the years, this expansion and contraction can take its toll, causing doors to change their size and shape. Since most doors are crafted to exact door frame sizes, any amount of warping can end 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 starts at the bottom of the door—due to gravity.
Left unrepaired, this warping can create gaps between the door and the frame that let in outside air. While these gaps often go overlooked, the effect on your home temperature can be significant, even with a small gap. Without repair, warping can bring about larger gaps, more sticking and eventual issues with loosened hinges that could lead to significant door damage.
Just as the cycle of fluctuating temperatures can take its toll on doors, changes in humidity can also have an impact on doors over the years. These humidity changes frequently come from indoors. Colder weather presents a unique challenge as home heating systems can cause a decrease indoor air humidity.
Over time, this humidity drop can result in cracking in doors. Dry air will take in moisture from any nearby source – including the moisture stored in your wood door – and this can cause undesirable warping and cracking.
Cracking won’t bring 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 gives up moisture due to reduced humidity, it also loses its flexibility. If the wood beneath the surface also begins expanding and contracting, the paint will move as well. Notably at joining sections of the door panel and frame, this could mean not only paint cracking but, if left alone, paint chipping away.
Keeping doors healthy in winter
Winter weather can have a significant impact on your exterior doors. But understanding what causes the issues makes it easy to find ways to make sure your doors don’t suffer the damaging impact of the elements.
Just like you might take vitamin C to battle against a winter bug, an dose of prevention can aid in keeping your doors in good shape during the most severe winter weather. Here are some common, and simple, ways to prepare your doors for colder temperatures.
Doors 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 prior 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 added around the edges of the door. They are a good way to block gaps between your door and frame—helping stop cold air from leaking. These soft adhesive strips collapse a small amount whenever the door is closed, squeezing 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 prevent cold air from passing 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 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 produces 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 can tell cold air is entering into your room, it’s worth taking a look at the connections of doors of any age to make sure they’re as tightly attached to the frame as possible. Over time, hinges can come loose from the frame due to warping. Taking a moment to tighten the hinges is a great preventative step 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 might strip the socket, ruin the screw and lead to further problems with hinges in the future.
You may not be bothered by the dry indoor air that comes with wintertime, but your doors certainly can be impacted by it. Using a humidifier is a good way to keep an acceptable moisture level in your home’s air. Choose one that allows you to set and maintain a desired humidity level for best results. This will keep from creating too much moisture in the air, which can lead to a different set of problems.
A constant humidity level in your space isn’t just important 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 likelihood 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 are in peak condition for as long as possible. Is it time to give your home an updated look in your entryway? Are you searching for a door that can better stand up to years of weather extremes? Call the team at Pella of Springfield to find the perfect fit for your home.