Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just cold days, winter months come with weather changes that play a role in every part of daily life in Peoria. And while we might be quick to adjust our wardrobe or home comfort setting to face the challenges brought by Mother Nature, one of the best defenses against the weather often goes overlooked: our doors.
Your front door is more than just a appealing entrance to your home or first glimpse of style for your visitors. It’s also a steadfast barrier protecting you from blustery weather that awaits outdoors. Just like any other part of our homes, it’s important to make sure your door is not only operating well, but also keeping your home guarded from the cold during the winter months.
A door that doesn’t seal out the cold can mean more expensive 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 diagnose 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 made with wood fibers, begin to contract. When temps get warmer, they expand.
Over a number of seasons, this expansion and contraction can take its toll, causing doors to change their size and shape. Since many doors are cut to measured door frame sizes, any bit of warping can end in a door catching on the frame. This can be seen in a door that seems more difficult to open and close. More often than not this can first be seen at the bottom of the door—due to gravity.
Left unchecked, this warping can create gaps between the door and the frame that bring in outside air. While these gaps often go unseen, the effect on your home temperature can be significant, even with a small gap. Without attention, warping can lead to larger gaps, more sticking and eventual concerns with loosened hinges that could lead to structural door damage.
Just as the cycle of varying temperatures can take its toll on doors, changes in humidity can also create problems with doors over seasons. These humidity changes frequently come from indoors. Colder weather presents a seasonal challenge as home heating systems can cause a decline in indoor air humidity.
Over the seasons, this humidity drop can lead to cracking in doors. Dry air will absorb moisture from any available source – including the moisture stored within your wood door – and this can create unwanted warping and cracking.
Cracking won’t have the long-term practical effects that can come with warping, but it can play a serious role in your door’s appeal. It will be especially obvious 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 to expand and contract, the paint will shift as well. Notably at joining sections of the door panel and frame, this could lead to not only paint cracking but, if left unchecked, paint chipping from the door.
Keeping doors healthy in winter
Winter weather can have a significant impact on your entry doors. But knowing what causes the problems makes it easy to find 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 illness, an dose of prevention can go a long way toward keeping your doors in good shape during the most extreme winter weather. Here are some common, and simple, ways to prepare your doors for colder temperatures.
Doors start to settle into a house right after they’re installed, and weather takes its toll immediately. So even if your door was placed in the past year, it’s a good time to be on the lookout for gaps around the sides of your doors.
Keeping gaps effectively 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 block gaps between your door and frame—helping prevent cold air from squeezing through. These soft adhesive strips collapse slightly whenever the door is closed, squeezing to fill any gaps. Strips provide support while also preserving the look of the door. As a bonus, they also help to improve soundproofing.
Sealing helps stop 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 important to make sure that heat isn’t being lost through convection.
Putting a draft-excluding strip along the bottom of sliding doors or at the base of entryway doors provides 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 can tell cold air is entering 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 step 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, destroy the screw and lead to worse problems with hinges later.
You may not be bothered by the dehydrated indoor air that comes with wintertime, but your doors certainly can be impacted by it. Using a humidifier is a good way to keep an acceptable moisture level in your home’s air. Choose a humidifier that allows you to adjust and maintain a desired humidity level for best results. This will keep from adding too much moisture in the air, which can cause a different set of problems.
A constant humidity level in your house isn’t just good for your doors, but any other wooden pieces you may have. And maintaining indoor humidity can also increase the overall quality of your home’s air—which means less possibility of health problems, like having that dreaded winter cold.
While isn’t a vitamin C supplement to give your doors a boost, these simple steps are virtually as good when it comes to making sure your home’s doors stay in peak condition for years. Is it time to give your home an updated look in your doorway? Are you planning for a door that can better defend against years of weather extremes? Reach out to the team at Pella of Peoria to find the perfect fit for your home.