Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just cold temps, winter months mean weather changes that impact every part of daily life in Evansville. And while we might be quick to change our wardrobe or thermostat setting to meet the challenges brought by Mother Nature, one of the best defenses against the cold often goes ignored: our doors.
Your front door is more than just a inviting entrance to your home or first impression of style for your visitors. It’s also a sturdy barrier defending you from blustery weather that waits on the other side. Just like any other aspect 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 increased energy bills and a generally chilly home. Left forgotten, some problems might lead to 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 failing, 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. After temperatures get warmer, they expand.
Over the years, this expansion and contraction can have an impact, causing doors to change their size and shape. Since many doors are crafted to specific door frame sizes, any type of warping can lead to a door catching on the frame. This can be identified in a door that seems more difficult to open and close. More often than not this can first be seen at the bottom of the door—due to gravity.
Left unrepaired, this warping can lead to 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 severe, even with a small gap. Without attention, warping can bring about larger gaps, more sticking and eventual issues with loosened hinges that could end in significant door damage.
Just as the cycle of varying temperatures can cause changes to doors, changes in humidity can also create problems with doors over the years. These humidity changes frequently come from inside the home. Colder weather presents a seasonal challenge as home heating systems can cause a decrease indoor air humidity.
Over the years, this humidity drop can lead to 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 undesirable warping and cracking.
Cracking won’t result in the long-term practical effects that can come with warping, but it can play a serious role in your door’s appearance. It will be especially noticeable in the inner paneling and door frame. As paint loses moisture due to reduced humidity, it also loses its flexibility. If the wood beneath the surface also begins to expand and contract, 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 from the door.
Keeping doors healthy in winter
Seasonal weather can have a meaningful impact on your exterior doors. But understanding 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 you might take vitamin C to defend against a winter bug, an dose of prevention can help in keeping your doors sturdy during the most severe 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 soon after. So even if your door was added in the prior year, it’s a good idea to be on the lookout for gaps around the sides of your doors.
Keeping gaps effectively 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 protect against gaps between your door and frame—helping stop cold air from leaking. These soft adhesive strips collapse a bit whenever the door is closed, adjusting to fill any gaps. Strips provide support while also protecting the look of the door. As a bonus, they also help to boost soundproofing.
Sealing helps prevent cold air from seeping through gaps in the doorway, but it’s also important to be certain warm air isn’t escaping. Especially with sliding doors that take up more wall space than other doors, it’s crucial to make sure that warmth isn’t being lost through convection.
Placing 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 feel cold air is getting 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 possible. Over time, hinges can come loose from the frame due to warping. Taking a moment to tighten the hinges is a great preventative action to take before the temperatures change with each season.
To ensure damage isn’t caused 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 more severe problems with hinges in the future.
You may not be bothered by the dehydrated indoor air that comes with the cold season, but your doors certainly can be damaged by it. Using a humidifier is the best way to keep an ideal moisture level in your indoor air. Choose one that allows you to adjust and maintain a preferred humidity level for best results. This will defend against creating too much moisture in the air, which can lead to a different set of problems.
A constant humidity level in your home isn’t just important for your doors, but any other wooden furniture 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 keep your doors healthy, these easy steps are nearly as good when it comes to making sure your home’s doors stay in top condition for years. Is it time to give your home an updated look in your doorway? Are you looking for a door that can better defend against years of elements? Contact the professionals at Pella of Evansville to find the perfect fit for your home.