Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just cold days, winter months come with weather changes that play a role in every part of daily life in Greenfield. And while we might be quick to adjust our wardrobe or home comfort 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 entryway to your home or reflection of style for your visitors. It’s also a steadfast barrier keeping you from blustery weather that lurks outdoors. Just like any other part of our homes, it’s important to make sure your door is not only operating properly, 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 check for 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 the best working condition.
What To Look For:
When the air gets chillier, wooden doors, or those constructed with wood fibers, begin to contract. When weather get warmer, they expand.
Over the years, this expansion and contraction can start to show, causing doors to change their size and shape. Since most doors are cut to measured door frame sizes, any type 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. Usually this starts at the bottom of the door—because of gravity.
Left unrepaired, this warping can lead to 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 noticeable, even with a small gap. Without repair, warping can bring about larger gaps, frequent sticking and eventual problems with loosened hinges that could end in structural door damage.
Just as the cycle of fluctuating temperatures can take its toll on doors, changes in humidity can also create problems with doors over seasons. These humidity changes generally come from inside the home. Winter presents a specific challenge as home heating systems can cause a drop in indoor air humidity.
Over time, this humidity drop can cause cracking in doors. Dry air will take in moisture from any available source – including the moisture stored within your wood door – and this can mean troublesome warping and cracking.
Cracking won’t bring the long-term usability effects that can come with warping, but it can play a serious role in your door’s look. It will be especially evident in the inner paneling and door frame. As paint loses moisture due to decreased humidity, it also loses its flexibility. If the wood below the surface also begins to expand and contract, the paint will shift as well. Especially 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 notable impact on your front doors. But learning what causes the problems makes it easy to identify ways to make sure your doors don’t suffer the brunt of the elements.
Just like we might take vitamin C to fight against a winter illness, an bit of prevention can aid in keeping your doors healthy during the most extreme winter weather. Here are some common, and simple, ways to prepare your doors for colder temperatures.
Doors start to settle into a home as soon as they’re installed, and weather takes its toll just as quickly. So even if your door was placed in the last year, it’s a good time to be on the lookout for gaps around the sides of your doors.
Keeping gaps effectively sealed is an important part of 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, adjusting 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 getting out. Notably 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 leaking through the lower track or bottom of the door.
Loose hinges may seem like a issue only for homes with older doors. But if you notice cold air is getting 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 can be. Over time, hinges can loosen from the frame due to warping. Taking a moment to fix the hinges is a great preventative action to take before the temperatures change with each season.
To make sure damage isn’t caused 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 can strip the socket, damage the screw and lead to worse problems with hinges in the future.
You may not be affected by the drier indoor air that comes with wintertime, but your doors certainly can be impacted by it. Using a humidifier is the best way to keep an ideal moisture level in your home’s air. Choose one that allows you to determine and maintain a preferred humidity level for best results. This will prevent adding too much moisture in the air, which can cause a different set of problems.
A constant humidity level in your home 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 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 give your doors a boost, these basic steps are virtually as good when it comes to making sure your home’s doors remain in their best condition for the forseeable future. Is it time to give your home an updated look in your front door? Are you searching for a door that can better withstand years of elements? Reach out to the pros at Pella of Greenfield to find the perfect fit for your home.