Protecting Your Doors from Winter Weather
Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just chilly temperatures, winter months come with weather changes that play a role in every part of daily life in Mankato. 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 strongest defenses against the weather often goes unmentioned: our doors.
Your front door is more than just a inviting entryway to your home or first impression of style for your visitors. It’s also a steadfast barrier keeping you from blustery weather that awaits outside. Just like any other facet 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 seal out the cold can mean increased energy bills and a generally chilly home. Left unchecked, some problems might result in the need for a new replacement door. Don’t let things go that far! Winter is a great time to review the indications of a door that might be failing, 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 made with wood fibers, begin to contract. As temps get warmer, they expand.
Over the years, this expansion and contraction can have an impact, causing doors to change their size and shape. Since the majority of doors are crafted to exact door frame sizes, any type 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 starts at the bottom of the door—due 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 unnoticed, the effect on your home temperature can be noticeable, even with a small gap. Without intervention, warping can result in larger gaps, frequent sticking and eventual problems with loosened hinges that could end in severe door damage.
CrackingJust as the cycle of varying temperatures can take its toll on doors, changes in humidity can also create problems with doors over time. These humidity changes generally come from inside the home. Colder weather presents a specific challenge as home heating systems can cause a decrease indoor air humidity.
Over the seasons, this humidity drop can lead to cracking in doors. Dry air will absorb moisture from any possible source – including the moisture stored inside your wood door – and this can mean undesirable warping and cracking.
Cracking won’t bring the long-term usability effects that can come with warping, but it can play a tremendous role in your door’s look. It will be especially obvious in the inner paneling and door frame. As paint drains moisture due to reduced humidity, it also loses its flexibility. If the wood under the surface also begins to expand and contract, the paint will shift as well. Particularly at joining sections of the door panel and frame, this could result in not only paint cracking but, if left alone, paint chipping away.
Keeping doors healthy in winter
Colder weather can have a notable impact on your front doors. But learning what causes the issues makes it easy to come up with 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 illness, an ounce of prevention can go a long way toward keeping your doors healthy during the most severe winter weather. Here are some common, and simple, ways to prepare your doors for colder temperatures.
SealingDoors start to settle into a frame the moment they’re installed, and weather takes its toll just as quickly. 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 effectively 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 close gaps between your door and frame—helping keep cold air from seeping in. These soft adhesive strips collapse a bit whenever the door is closed, adjusting to fill any gaps. Strips provide support while also preserving the look of the door. As a bonus, they also help to improve soundproofing.
InsulatingSealing 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 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 leaking 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 can tell 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 can be. Over time, hinges can come loose from the frame due to warping. Taking a moment to tighten 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 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 later.
Increasing humidityYou may not be affected by the dry indoor air that comes with the cold season, but your doors certainly can be affected by it. Using a humidifier is the best way to keep an acceptable moisture level in your home’s air. Choose one that allows you to set and maintain a desired humidity level for best results. This will keep from adding too much moisture in the air, which can lead to a different set of problems.
A constant humidity level in your space isn’t just helpful 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 chance of health problems, like catching that dreaded winter cold.
While isn’t a vitamin C supplement to give your doors a boost, these basic steps are virtually as good when it comes to making sure your home’s doors stay in their best condition for years. Is it time to give your home an updated look in your entryway? Are you searching for a door that can better withstand years of extreme weather? Reach out to the pros at Pella of Mankato to find the perfect fit for your home.