Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just cold temperatures, winter months mean weather changes that impact every part of daily life in Winston-Salem. And while we might be quick to adjust our wardrobe or thermostat setting to deal with the challenges brought by Mother Nature, one of the sturdiest defenses against the weather often goes ignored: our doors.
Your front door is more than just a inviting entrance to your home or first glimpse of style for your visitors. It’s also a steadfast barrier protecting you from colder weather that lurks outside. Just like any other part of our homes, it’s necessary 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 block out the cold can lead to higher 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 to that extreme! Winter is a great time to check for 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 created with wood fibers, begin to contract. As temps get warmer, they expand.
Over time, this expansion and contraction can have an impact, causing doors to change their size and shape. Since most doors are made to specific door frame sizes, any amount 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. More often than not this begins 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 overlooked, the effect on your home temperature can be noticeable, even with a small gap. Without attention, warping can bring about larger gaps, increased sticking and eventual issues with loosened hinges that could create significant door damage.
Just as the cycle of changing 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 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 absorb moisture from any nearby 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 structural effects that can come with warping, but it can play a serious role in your door’s look. It will be especially noticeable in the inner paneling and door frame. As paint gives up moisture due to reduced humidity, it also loses its flexibility. If the wood under the surface also begins expanding and contracting, the paint will be moved as well. Notably at joining sections of the door panel and frame, this could mean not only paint cracking but, if left alone, paint chipping off.
Keeping doors healthy in winter
Seasonal weather can have a significant impact on your front doors. But understanding what causes the problems makes it easy to find ways to make sure your doors don’t suffer the damaging impact of the elements.
Just like a person might take vitamin C to defend against a winter bug, an bit of prevention can aid in keeping your doors sturdy during the most intense winter weather. Here are some common, and simple, ways to brace your doors for colder temperatures.
Doors 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 installed in the prior 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 be placed around the edges of the door. They are a good way to block gaps between your door and frame—helping stop cold air from squeezing through. These soft adhesive strips collapse slightly 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 improve soundproofing.
Sealing helps keep cold air from seeping through gaps in the doorway, but it’s also important to make sure warm air isn’t escaping. Particularly 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 creates a barrier against warm air escaping 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 can tell cold air is getting into your room, it’s worth investigating the connections of doors of any age to make sure they’re as tightly 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 step to take before the temperatures change with each season.
To make sure 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, ruin the screw and lead to more severe problems with hinges down the road.
You may not be affected by the dry indoor air that comes with the cold season, but your doors certainly can be impacted by it. Using a humidifier is the best way to keep an acceptable moisture level in your space’s air. Choose a model that allows you to adjust and maintain a desired humidity level for best results. This will prevent 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 furnishings you may have. And maintaining indoor humidity can also improve the overall quality of your room’s air—which means less possibility of health problems, like having that dreaded winter cold.
While there might not be a vitamin C supplement to maintain your door’s health, these simple steps are virtually as good when it comes to making sure your home’s doors are in peak condition for years. Is it time to give your home an updated look in your front door? Are you searching for a door that can better stand up to years of elements? Call the professionals at Pella of Winston-Salem to find the perfect fit for your home.