Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just chilly days, winter months come with weather changes that impact every part of daily life in Cheyenne. And while we might be quick to make adjustments to our wardrobe or heater setting to deal with 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 appealing entryway to your home or reflection of style for your visitors. It’s also a steadfast barrier defending you from windy weather that waits on the other side. Just like any other facet of our homes, it’s vital to make sure your door is not only operating properly, but also keeping your home guarded from the cold during the winter months.
A door that doesn’t block out the cold can lead to more expensive energy bills and a generally chilly home. Left ignored, 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 starting to fail, as well as the steps you can take to make sure your door is in prime working condition.
What To Look For:
When the air gets chillier, wooden doors, or those created with wood fibers, begin to contract. After weather 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 most doors are made to measured door frame sizes, any bit 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. Usually this begins at the bottom of the door—thanks to gravity.
Left alone, this warping can create gaps between the door and the frame that let in outside air. While these gaps often go overlooked, the effect on your home temperature can be significant, even with a small gap. Without attention, warping can bring about larger gaps, frequent sticking and eventual issues with loosened hinges that could lead to structural door damage.
Just as the cycle of changing temperatures can cause changes to doors, changes in humidity can also create problems with doors over the years. These humidity changes often come from inside the home. Colder weather presents a unique challenge as home heating systems can cause a decrease indoor air humidity.
Over the years, this humidity drop can cause cracking in doors. Dry air will take in moisture from any nearby source – including the moisture stored within your wood door – and this can mean unwanted warping and cracking.
Cracking won’t have the long-term usability effects that can come with warping, but it can play a tremendous role in your door’s appearance. It will be especially obvious 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 to do the same, the paint will move as well. Notably at joining sections of the door panel and frame, this could result in not only paint cracking but, if left ignored, paint chipping off.
Keeping doors healthy in winter
Colder weather can have a notable impact on your exterior doors. But learning what causes the damage makes it easy to come up with ways to make sure your doors don’t suffer the damaging impact of the elements.
Just like we might take vitamin C to fight against a winter cold, an bit of prevention can aid in keeping your doors in good shape during the most intense winter weather. Here are some common, and simple, ways to strengthen your doors for colder temperatures.
Doors start to settle into a home right after they’re installed, and weather takes its toll soon after. So even if your door was added in the last 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 step for protecting your doors. Sealing strips can sit around the edges of the door. They are a good way to close gaps between your door and frame—helping prevent cold air from leaking. These soft adhesive strips collapse slightly 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.
Sealing helps prevent cold air from coming through gaps in the doorway, but it’s also important to know that warm air isn’t getting out. Especially with sliding doors that take up more wall space than other doors, it’s crucial 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 leaving 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 feel cold air is leaking into your room, it’s worth investigating the connections of doors of any age to make sure they’re as securely attached to the frame as they’re able to be. Over time, hinges can loosen from the frame due to warping. Taking a moment to adjust the hinges is a great preventative action 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, destroy the screw and lead to more severe problems with hinges in the future.
You may not be disturbed by the dehydrated indoor air that comes with winter, but your doors certainly can be impacted by it. Using a humidifier is a good way to keep an acceptable moisture level in your indoor air. Choose a humidifier that allows you to adjust and maintain a desired humidity level for best results. This will keep from putting too much moisture in the air, which can develop a different set of problems.
A constant humidity level in your house isn’t just helpful for your doors, but any other wooden furniture you may have. And maintaining indoor humidity can also improve 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 basic steps are almost 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 entryway? Are you looking for a door that can better withstand years of elements? Reach out to the professionals at Pella of Cheyenne to find the perfect fit for your home.