Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just brisk temperatures, winter months come with weather changes that influence every part of daily life in Beltsville. And while we might be quick to change our wardrobe or home comfort setting to face the challenges brought by Mother Nature, one of the sturdiest defenses against the cold often goes ignored: our doors.
Your front door is more than just a inviting entry to your home or first glimpse of style for your visitors. It’s also a significant barrier defending you from colder 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 higher 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 far! Winter is a great time to diagnose 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 top working condition.
What To Look For:
When the weather gets chillier, wooden doors, or those made with wood fibers, begin to contract. After temps get warmer, they expand.
Over time, this expansion and contraction can have an impact, causing doors to change their size and shape. Since many doors are cut to exact door frame sizes, any bit of warping can result 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 begins 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 overlooked, the effect on your home temperature can be noticeable, even with a small gap. Without intervention, warping can lead to larger gaps, frequent sticking and eventual problems with loosened hinges that could end in severe door damage.
Just as the cycle of fluctuating temperatures can take its toll on doors, changes in humidity can also effect doors over seasons. These humidity changes generally come from inside the home. Wintertime presents a unique 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 suck up moisture from any possible source – including the moisture stored within your wood door – and this can cause troublesome warping and cracking.
Cracking won’t result in 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 drains moisture due to decreased humidity, it also loses its flexibility. If the wood under the surface also begins expanding and contracting, 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
Colder weather can have a significant impact on your entry doors. But knowing what causes the issues makes it easy to identify ways to make sure your doors don’t suffer the brunt of the elements.
Just like a person might take vitamin C to fight against a winter cold, an dose of prevention can go a long way toward keeping your doors in good shape during the most extreme winter weather. Here are some common, and simple, ways to strengthen your doors for colder temperatures.
Doors start to settle into a house the moment they’re installed, and weather takes its toll immediately. So even if your door was placed in the past 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 step for 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 prevent cold air from leaking. These soft adhesive strips collapse a bit 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 increase soundproofing.
Sealing helps keep cold air from seeping through gaps in the doorway, but it’s also important to be certain warm air isn’t escaping. Notably 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.
Placing a draft-excluding strip along the bottom of sliding doors or at the base of entryway doors provides a barrier against warm air leaking through the lower track or bottom of the door.
Loose 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 taking a look at the connections of doors of any age to make sure they’re as firmly attached to the frame as can be. Over time, hinges can loosen 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 make sure 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 might strip the socket, destroy the screw and lead to more severe problems with hinges later.
You may not be disturbed by the dry indoor air that comes with wintertime, but your doors certainly can be affected by it. Using a humidifier is a good way to keep an ideal moisture level in your indoor air. Choose one that allows you to set and maintain a preferred humidity level for best results. This will prevent adding too much moisture in the air, which can develop a different set of problems.
A constant humidity level in your space isn’t just good 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 likelihood of health problems, like having that dreaded winter cold.
While there might not be a vitamin C supplement to keep your doors healthy, these basic steps are almost as good when it comes to making sure your home’s doors are in peak condition for the forseeable future. Is it time to give your home an updated look in your doorway? Are you searching for a door that can better defend against years of weather extremes? Reach out to the team at Pella of Beltsville to find the perfect fit for your home.