Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just brisk days, winter months mean weather changes that play a role in every part of daily life in Greensboro. And while we might be quick to adjust our wardrobe or thermostat setting to face the challenges brought by Mother Nature, one of the sturdiest defenses against the weather often goes overlooked: our doors.
Your front door is more than just a inviting entryway to your home or first glimpse of style for your visitors. It’s also a significant barrier defending you from windy weather that awaits outdoors. Just like any other part of our homes, it’s vital to make sure your door is not only operating well, 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 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 to that extreme! Winter is a great time to check for the indications 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 prime working condition.
What To Look For:
When the weather gets chillier, wooden doors, or those constructed with wood fibers, begin to contract. After temps get warmer, they expand.
Over a number of seasons, this expansion and contraction can start to show, causing doors to change their size and shape. Since the majority of doors are cut to specific door frame sizes, any bit of warping can lead to a door catching on the frame. This can be seen in a door that seems more difficult to open and close. Usually this begins at the bottom of the door—because of gravity.
Left unchecked, this warping can cause 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 noticeable, even with a small gap. Without attention, warping can result in larger gaps, frequent sticking and eventual problems with loosened hinges that could create 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 seasons. These humidity changes generally come from indoors. Wintertime presents a unique challenge as home heating systems can cause a decline in indoor air humidity.
Over time, this humidity drop can cause cracking in doors. Dry air will suck up moisture from any available source – including the moisture stored inside your wood door – and this can cause unwanted 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 appearance. It will be especially evident in the inner paneling and door frame. As paint loses moisture due to low humidity, it also loses its flexibility. If the wood below 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 result in not only paint cracking but, if left unchecked, paint chipping from the door.
Keeping doors healthy in winter
Winter weather can have a meaningful impact on your entry doors. But understanding what causes the issues makes it easy to find ways to make sure your doors don’t suffer the damaging impact of the elements.
Just like we might take vitamin C to defend against a winter bug, an dose of prevention can go a long way toward keeping your doors healthy during the most severe winter weather. Here are some common, and easy, ways to prepare your doors for colder temperatures.
Doors start to settle into a house the moment they’re installed, and weather takes its toll immediately. So even if your door was installed in the last year, it’s a good time to be on the lookout for gaps around the sides of your doors.
Keeping gaps correctly sealed is an important part of protecting your doors. Sealing strips can be placed around the edges of the door. They are a good way to close gaps between your door and frame—helping prevent cold air from squeezing through. These soft adhesive strips collapse a small amount 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 coming through gaps in the doorway, but it’s also important to be certain warm air isn’t getting out. Particularly with sliding doors that take up more wall space than other doors, it’s important to make sure that warmth isn’t being lost through convection.
Putting a draft-excluding strip along the bottom of sliding doors or at the base of entryway doors produces a barrier against warm air leaving 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 notice 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 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 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 further problems with hinges in the future.
You may not be affected by the dry indoor air that comes with winter, but your doors certainly can be impacted by it. Using a humidifier is the best way to keep an appropriate moisture level in your indoor air. Choose a model that allows you to adjust and maintain a preferred humidity level for best results. This will defend against adding too much moisture in the air, which can develop a different set of problems.
A constant humidity level in your home isn’t just helpful 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 chance of health problems, like catching that dreaded winter cold.
While there might not be a vitamin C supplement to keep your doors healthy, these simple steps are almost as good when it comes to making sure your home’s doors remain in peak condition for as long as possible. Is it time to give your home an updated look in your front door? Are you looking for a door that can better stand up to years of elements? Contact the pros at Pella of Greensboro to find the perfect fit for your home.