Protecting Your Doors from Winter Weather
Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just chilly temps, winter months mean weather changes that impact every part of daily life in Eau Claire. And while we might be quick to make adjustments to our wardrobe or home comfort setting to face the challenges brought by Mother Nature, one of the best defenses against the weather often goes overlooked: our doors.
Your front door is more than just a appealing entryway to your home or first glimpse of style for your visitors. It’s also a significant barrier protecting you from blustery weather that lurks outdoors. Just like any other aspect of our homes, it’s important 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 keep out the cold can mean more expensive energy bills and a generally uncomfortable home. Left forgotten, some problems might end with the need for a new replacement door. Don’t let things go that long! Winter is a great time to review 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 prime working condition.
What To Look For:
When the weather gets chillier, wooden doors, or those created with wood fibers, begin to contract. When 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 many doors are made to specific door frame sizes, any amount of warping can end in a door catching on the frame. This can be observed in a door that seems more difficult to open and close. Usually this starts at the bottom of the door—thanks to gravity.
Left unchecked, this warping can create gaps between the door and the frame that allow in outside air. While these gaps often go unseen, 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 concerns with loosened hinges that could lead to severe door damage.
CrackingJust as the cycle of fluctuating temperatures can damage doors, changes in humidity can also have an impact on doors over time. These humidity changes often come from indoors. Colder weather presents a unique challenge as home heating systems can cause a decline in indoor air humidity.
Over the years, this humidity drop can cause cracking in doors. Dry air will take in moisture from any possible source – including the moisture stored within your wood door – and this can mean troublesome warping and cracking.
Cracking won’t result in the long-term usability 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 loses moisture due to low humidity, it also loses its flexibility. If the wood beneath the surface also begins to expand and contract, the paint will shift as well. Notably at joining sections of the door panel and frame, this could mean not only paint cracking but, if left ignored, paint chipping away.
Keeping doors healthy in winter
Winter weather can have a significant impact on your front doors. But knowing what causes the issues makes it easy to come up with 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 cold, an bit 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 convenient, ways to brace your doors for colder temperatures.
SealingDoors start to settle into a home as soon as they’re installed, and weather takes its toll immediately. So even if your door was placed in the prior year, it’s a good thought 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 protect against gaps between your door and frame—helping keep 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 preserving the look of the door. As a bonus, they also help to increase soundproofing.
InsulatingSealing 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 vital 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 problem only for homes with older doors. But if you can tell cold air is entering into your room, it’s worth checking the connections of doors of any age to make sure they’re as securely attached to the frame as possible. Over time, hinges can loosen 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 done by overdoing it, it’s important to tighten hinges slowly and manually. Use a screwdriver and not a drill to protect your door. Twisting the screw further than necessary might strip the socket, damage the screw and lead to worse problems with hinges in the future.
Increasing humidityYou may not be bothered by the drier 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 space’s 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 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 pieces you may have. And maintaining indoor humidity can also increase the overall quality of your home’s air—which means less likelihood of health problems, like coming down with that dreaded winter cold.
While isn’t a vitamin C supplement to maintain your door’s health, these simple steps are nearly as good when it comes to making sure your home’s doors stay in top condition for as long as possible. Is it time to give your home an updated look in your front door? Are you looking for a door that can better defend against years of elements? Contact the professionals at Pella of Eau Claire to find the perfect fit for your home.