Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just chilly days, winter months bring weather changes that influence every part of daily life in Lewes. And while we might be quick to adjust our wardrobe or thermostat setting to meet the challenges brought by Mother Nature, one of the sturdiest defenses against the weather often goes unmentioned: our doors.
Your front door is more than just a inviting entryway to your home or reflection of style for your visitors. It’s also a sturdy barrier protecting you from blustery weather that lurks on the other side. Just like any other facet of our homes, it’s important to make sure your door is not only operating properly, but also keeping your home protected from the cold during the winter months.
A door that doesn’t keep out the cold can lead to increased energy bills and a generally uncomfortable home. Left forgotten, 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 indications 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 temperature gets chillier, wooden doors, or those created with wood fibers, begin to contract. When weather get warmer, they expand.
Over the years, this expansion and contraction can take its toll, causing doors to change their size and shape. Since the majority of doors are made to exact door frame sizes, any type of warping can result in a door catching on the frame. This can be observed 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 lead to gaps between the door and the frame that allow in outside air. While these gaps often go unnoticed, the effect on your home temperature can be noticeable, even with a small gap. Without attention, warping can result in larger gaps, more sticking and eventual concerns with loosened hinges that could lead to severe door damage.
Just as the cycle of fluctuating temperatures can take its toll on doors, changes in humidity can also effect doors over time. These humidity changes generally come from inside the house. 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 suck up moisture from any available source – including the moisture stored within your wood door – and this can mean unwanted warping and cracking.
Cracking won’t bring the long-term structural effects that can come with warping, but it can play a tremendous role in your door’s appearance. It will be especially noticeable in the inner paneling and door frame. As paint drains moisture due to reduced humidity, it also loses its flexibility. If the wood beneath the surface also begins expanding and contracting, the paint will shift as well. Especially at joining sections of the door panel and frame, this could result in not only paint cracking but, if left unchecked, paint chipping away.
Keeping doors healthy in winter
Winter weather can have a significant impact on your exterior doors. But understanding what causes the problems makes it easy to come up with ways to make sure your doors don’t suffer the brunt of the elements.
Just like a person might take vitamin C to defend against a winter illness, an bit of prevention can help in keeping your doors in good shape during the most severe winter weather. Here are some common, and convenient, ways to strengthen your doors for colder temperatures.
Doors start to settle into a house as soon as they’re installed, and weather takes its toll just as quickly. So even if your door was placed in the past year, it’s a good thought to be on the lookout for gaps around the sides of your doors.
Keeping gaps properly sealed is an important key to protecting your doors. Sealing strips can sit 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 seeping in. These soft adhesive strips collapse slightly whenever the door is closed, pressing to fill any gaps. Strips provide support while also maintaining 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 know that warm air isn’t escaping. Notably 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.
Adding 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.
Loose hinges may seem like a problem only for homes with older doors. But if you feel 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 securely 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 be certain damage isn’t created 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 could strip the socket, destroy the screw and lead to further problems with hinges in the future.
You may not be affected by the drier indoor air that comes with winter, but your doors certainly can be impacted by it. Using a humidifier is an effective way to keep an ideal moisture level in your indoor air. Choose a humidifier 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 cause a different set of problems.
A constant humidity level in your home isn’t just important for your doors, but any other wooden furnishings you may have. And maintaining indoor humidity can also increase the overall quality of your room’s air—which means less likelihood of health problems, like having that dreaded winter cold.
While there might not be a vitamin C supplement to maintain your door’s health, these simple steps are virtually as good when it comes to making sure your home’s doors remain in top condition for as long as possible. Is it time to give your home an updated look in your entryway? Are you searching for a door that can better stand up to years of weather extremes? Call the pros at Pella of Lewes to find the perfect fit for your home.