Protecting Your Doors from Winter Weather
Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just cold temperatures, winter months come with weather changes that play a role in every part of daily life in Jackson. And while we might be quick to adjust our wardrobe or thermostat setting to meet 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 appealing entrance to your home or reflection of style for your visitors. It’s also a significant barrier defending you from windy weather that awaits outside. Just like any other aspect 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 keep out the cold can mean more expensive energy bills and a generally chilly home. Left forgotten, some problems might result in the need for a new replacement door. Don’t let things go that far! Winter is a great time to diagnose the signs of a door that might be starting to fail, 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 air gets chillier, wooden doors, or those made with wood fibers, begin to contract. As temperatures get warmer, they expand.
Over a number of seasons, this expansion and contraction can start to show, causing doors to change their size and shape. Since the majority of 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. Usually this can first be seen at the bottom of the door—because of gravity.
Left unrepaired, this warping can cause gaps between the door and the frame that let in outside air. While these gaps often go unseen, the effect on your home temperature can be significant, even with a small gap. Without repair, warping can result in larger gaps, more sticking and eventual issues with loosened hinges that could create severe door damage.
CrackingJust as the cycle of changing temperatures can damage doors, changes in humidity can also have an impact on doors over time. These humidity changes frequently come from indoors. Colder weather presents a seasonal 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 take in moisture from any nearby 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 tremendous role in your door’s look. 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 below 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 result in not only paint cracking but, if left alone, paint chipping from the door.
Keeping doors healthy in winter
Colder weather can have a significant impact on your front doors. But understanding what causes the damage makes it easy to find ways to make sure your doors don’t suffer the brunt of the elements.
Just like a person might take vitamin C to battle against a winter illness, an dose of prevention can help in keeping your doors sturdy during the most intense winter weather. Here are some common, and easy, ways to brace your doors for colder temperatures.
SealingDoors start to settle into a house the moment they’re installed, and weather takes its toll just as quickly. So even if your door was added in the prior 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 key to 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 keep cold air from leaking. These soft adhesive strips collapse a bit whenever the door is closed, squeezing 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 seeping through gaps in the doorway, but it’s also important to be certain warm air isn’t getting out. Particularly 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.
Adding 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.
TighteningLoose hinges may seem like a concern 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 firmly attached to the frame as they’re able to be. Over time, hinges can come loose from the frame due to warping. Taking a moment to fix the hinges is a great preventative measure 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 rather than a drill to protect your door. Twisting the screw further than necessary can strip the socket, damage the screw and lead to worse problems with hinges in the future.
Increasing humidityYou may not be disturbed by the dehydrated 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 home’s air. Choose one that allows you to set and maintain a preferred humidity level for best results. This will defend against 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 helpful for your doors, but any other wooden furniture you may have. And maintaining indoor humidity can also add to the overall quality of your home’s air—which means less likelihood of health problems, like catching that dreaded winter cold.
While there might not be 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 stay in top 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 withstand years of elements? Contact the professionals at Pella of Jackson to find the perfect fit for your home.