Protecting Your Doors from Winter Weather
Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just chilly temperatures, winter months bring weather changes that impact every part of daily life in Casper. 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 welcoming entrance to your home or reflection of style for your visitors. It’s also a steadfast barrier keeping you from blustery weather that lurks 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 keep out the cold can result in more expensive energy bills and a generally uncomfortable home. Left forgotten, some problems might lead to 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 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 constructed with wood fibers, begin to contract. As temps get warmer, they expand.
Over a number of seasons, this expansion and contraction can take its toll, causing doors to change their size and shape. Since the majority of doors are made to measured 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 begins at the bottom of the door—thanks to gravity.
Left alone, this warping can lead to gaps between the door and the frame that allow in outside air. While these gaps often go overlooked, the effect on your home temperature can be significant, even with a small gap. Without intervention, warping can bring about larger gaps, more sticking and eventual issues with loosened hinges that could end in structural 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 inside the house. Wintertime presents a unique challenge as home heating systems can cause a drop in indoor air humidity.
Over time, this humidity drop can lead to cracking in doors. Dry air will suck up moisture from any available source – including the moisture stored in your wood door – and this can cause undesirable warping and cracking.
Cracking won’t bring the long-term usability effects that can come with warping, but it can play a significant role in your door’s look. It will be especially evident in the inner paneling and door frame. As paint drains moisture due to low humidity, it also loses its flexibility. If the wood under the surface also begins to do the same, the paint will move as well. Especially at joining sections of the door panel and frame, this could lead to not only paint cracking but, if left unchecked, paint chipping off.
Keeping doors healthy in winter
Seasonal weather can have a significant impact on your front doors. But knowing what causes the damage makes it easy to identify ways to make sure your doors don’t suffer the full force of the elements.
Just like you might take vitamin C to fight against a winter cold, an bit of prevention can help in keeping your doors in good shape during the most severe winter weather. Here are some common, and convenient, ways to prepare your doors for colder temperatures.
SealingDoors start to settle into a home right after 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 sit around the edges of the door. They are a good way to block gaps between your door and frame—helping prevent cold air from seeping in. These soft adhesive strips collapse a bit whenever the door is closed, pressing to fill any gaps. Strips provide support while also maintaining the look of the door. As a bonus, they also help to improve soundproofing.
InsulatingSealing helps prevent cold air from passing through gaps in the doorway, but it’s also important to make sure warm air isn’t escaping. Especially with sliding doors that take up more wall space than other doors, it’s important to make sure that heat isn’t being lost through convection.
Putting a draft-excluding strip along the bottom of sliding doors or at the base of entryway doors provides a barrier against warm air escaping through the lower track or bottom of the door.
TighteningLoose hinges may seem like a issue 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 tightly attached to the frame as possible. 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 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 could strip the socket, ruin the screw and lead to worse problems with hinges in the future.
Increasing humidityYou may not be disturbed by the dry indoor air that comes with winter, 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 a model that allows you to set and maintain a chosen 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 good for your doors, but any other wooden furniture you may have. And maintaining indoor humidity can also add to the overall quality of your room’s air—which means less possibility of health problems, like coming down with that dreaded winter cold.
While there might not be a vitamin C supplement to keep your doors healthy, these easy steps are virtually as good when it comes to making sure your home’s doors stay in peak 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? Call the team at Pella of Casper to find the perfect fit for your home.