Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just cold temperatures, winter months come with weather changes that influence every part of daily life in Natick. And while we might be quick to adjust our wardrobe or heater 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 steadfast barrier protecting you from blustery weather that waits outdoors. Just like any other part 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 keep out the cold can mean higher energy bills and a generally chilly home. Left forgotten, some problems might lead to 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 prime working condition.
What To Look For:
When the temperature gets chillier, wooden doors, or those constructed with wood fibers, begin to contract. After temperatures get warmer, they expand.
Over time, this expansion and contraction can start to show, causing doors to change their size and shape. Since many doors are made to exact door frame sizes, any amount 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. More often than not this starts at the bottom of the door—due to gravity.
Left unchecked, this warping can lead to 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 significant, even with a small gap. Without attention, warping can bring about larger gaps, frequent sticking and eventual concerns with loosened hinges that could lead to severe door damage.
Just as the cycle of changing temperatures can damage doors, changes in humidity can also have an impact on doors over seasons. These humidity changes often come from indoors. Wintertime presents a unique challenge as home heating systems can cause a drop in indoor air humidity.
Over the years, this humidity drop can lead to cracking in doors. Dry air will suck up moisture from any possible source – including the moisture stored inside your wood door – and this can create undesirable warping and cracking.
Cracking won’t result in the long-term usability effects that can come with warping, but it can play a serious role in your door’s look. It will be especially obvious in the inner paneling and door frame. As paint loses moisture due to reduced humidity, it also loses its flexibility. If the wood beneath the surface also begins to do the same, 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 from the door.
Keeping doors healthy in winter
Winter weather can have a significant impact on your front doors. But understanding what causes the problems makes it easy to come up with ways to make sure your doors don’t suffer the full force of the elements.
Just like a person might take vitamin C to fight against a winter cold, an dose of prevention can aid in keeping your doors healthy 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 home right after they’re installed, and weather takes its toll soon after. 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 key to 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 stop cold air from seeping in. These soft adhesive strips collapse a bit whenever the door is closed, squeezing to fill any gaps. Strips provide support while also maintaining the look of the door. As a bonus, they also help to increase soundproofing.
Sealing helps stop cold air from coming through gaps in the doorway, but it’s also important to be certain warm air isn’t getting out. Especially with sliding doors that take up more wall space than other doors, it’s vital 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 provides a barrier against warm air escaping 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 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 can be. 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 caused 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, damage the screw and lead to further problems with hinges later.
You may not be bothered by the dry indoor air that comes with winter, but your doors certainly can be damaged by it. Using a humidifier is an effective way to keep an acceptable moisture level in your indoor air. Choose a model that allows you to set and maintain a chosen humidity level for best results. This will defend against putting too much moisture in the air, which can develop 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 coming down with that dreaded winter cold.
While there might not be a vitamin C supplement to maintain your door’s health, these easy steps are almost as good when it comes to making sure your home’s doors remain in their best condition for as long as possible. Is it time to give your home an updated look in your doorway? Are you searching for a door that can better withstand years of extreme weather? Contact the professionals at Pella of Natick to find the perfect fit for your home.