Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just cold days, winter months mean weather changes that impact every part of daily life in Fall River. 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 welcoming entrance to your home or reflection of style for your visitors. It’s also a sturdy barrier keeping you from blustery weather that awaits on the other side. Just like any other part of our homes, it’s important 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 keep out the cold can mean higher energy bills and a generally uncomfortable home. Left unchecked, some problems might end with the need for a new replacement door. Don’t let things go that long! Winter is a great time to review 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 the best working condition.
What To Look For:
When the air gets chillier, wooden doors, or those created with wood fibers, begin to contract. After temps get warmer, they expand.
Over time, this expansion and contraction can start to show, causing doors to change their size and shape. Since most doors are cut to specific door frame sizes, any type of warping can result in a door catching on the frame. This can be seen in a door that seems more difficult to open and close. In many cases this begins at the bottom of the door—due to gravity.
Left unrepaired, this warping can cause gaps between the door and the frame that bring in outside air. While these gaps often go unnoticed, the effect on your home temperature can be noticeable, even with a small gap. Without intervention, warping can lead to larger gaps, more sticking and eventual issues with loosened hinges that could create significant door damage.
Just as the cycle of changing temperatures can cause changes to doors, changes in humidity can also effect doors over time. These humidity changes often come from indoors. Wintertime presents a specific 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 absorb moisture from any available source – including the moisture stored inside your wood door – and this can cause undesirable warping and cracking.
Cracking won’t have the long-term structural 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 reduced humidity, it also loses its flexibility. If the wood below 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 meaningful 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 we might take vitamin C to battle against a winter cold, an dose of prevention can go a long way toward keeping your doors sturdy during the most extreme winter weather. Here are some common, and convenient, ways to strengthen your doors for colder temperatures.
Doors start to settle into a frame as soon as they’re installed, and weather takes its toll soon after. So even if your door was added in the past year, it’s a good idea 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 added around the edges of the door. They are a good way to protect against gaps between your door and frame—helping prevent cold air from leaking. 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 boost soundproofing.
Sealing helps keep cold air from passing through gaps in the doorway, but it’s also important to be certain warm air isn’t escaping. Particularly with sliding doors that take up more wall space than other doors, it’s important to make sure that warm air isn’t being lost through convection.
Putting a draft-excluding strip along the bottom of sliding doors or at the base of entryway doors creates a barrier against warm air leaving through the lower track or bottom of the door.
Loose hinges may seem like a concern only for homes with older doors. But if you feel cold air is leaking into your room, it’s worth checking the connections of doors of any age to make sure they’re as tightly attached to the frame as possible. Over time, hinges can get detatched 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 instead of a drill to protect your door. Twisting the screw further than necessary could 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 a good way to keep an acceptable moisture level in your space’s air. Choose a humidifier that allows you to adjust 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 space 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 indoor air—which means less chance of health problems, like having 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 are in top condition for years. Is it time to give your home an updated look in your doorway? Are you searching for a door that can better defend against years of weather extremes? Reach out to the professionals at Pella of Fall River to find the perfect fit for your home.