Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just brisk days, winter months come with weather changes that influence every part of daily life in Woburn. And while we might be quick to change our wardrobe or thermostat setting to meet the challenges brought by Mother Nature, one of the strongest defenses against the cold often goes overlooked: our doors.
Your front door is more than just a appealing entry to your home or first glimpse of style for your visitors. It’s also a sturdy barrier defending you from blustery weather that lurks outside. Just like any other facet of our homes, it’s necessary to make sure your door is not only operating well, but also keeping your home safe from the cold during the winter months.
A door that doesn’t seal out the cold can result in increased energy bills and a generally colder home. Left ignored, some problems might lead to the need for a new replacement door. Don’t let things go to that extreme! Winter is a great time to diagnose 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 top working condition.
What To Look For:
When the temperature gets chillier, wooden doors, or those made with wood fibers, begin to contract. After weather 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 specific door frame sizes, any type of warping can lead to 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—because of gravity.
Left alone, this warping can lead to 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 significant, even with a small gap. Without attention, warping can result in larger gaps, increased sticking and eventual concerns with loosened hinges that could lead to structural door damage.
Just as the cycle of changing temperatures can take its toll on doors, changes in humidity can also have an impact on doors over the years. These humidity changes often come from inside the house. Colder weather presents a seasonal challenge as home heating systems can cause a decrease indoor air humidity.
Over the seasons, this humidity drop can cause cracking in doors. Dry air will take in moisture from any nearby source – including the moisture stored inside your wood door – and this can create unwanted warping and cracking.
Cracking won’t result in the long-term practical effects that can come with warping, but it can play a serious role in your door’s appearance. It will be especially obvious in the inner paneling and door frame. As paint gives up moisture due to low humidity, it also loses its flexibility. If the wood below the surface also begins expanding and contracting, the paint will move as well. Particularly 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 notable impact on your entry doors. But learning what causes the damage makes it easy to find 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 dose of prevention can help in keeping your doors in good shape during the most intense 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 just as quickly. So even if your door was installed in the prior 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 keep cold air from leaking. 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 boost soundproofing.
Sealing helps stop cold air from seeping 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 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 produces 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 notice 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 they’re able to be. Over time, hinges can come loose from the frame due to warping. Taking a moment to fix the hinges is a great preventative step to take before the temperatures change with each season.
To be certain damage isn’t caused 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 can strip the socket, destroy the screw and lead to worse problems with hinges in the future.
You may not be disturbed by the drier indoor air that comes with wintertime, but your doors certainly can be affected by it. Using a humidifier is a good way to keep an acceptable moisture level in your home’s air. Choose one that allows you to determine and maintain a chosen humidity level for best results. This will prevent adding too much moisture in the air, which can lead to a different set of problems.
A constant humidity level in your house isn’t just helpful for your doors, but any other wooden furniture you may have. And maintaining indoor humidity can also increase the overall quality of your indoor air—which means less possibility of health problems, like coming down with that dreaded winter cold.
While there’s not a vitamin C supplement to maintain your door’s health, 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 front door? Are you looking for a door that can better defend against years of elements? Call the pros at Pella of Woburn to find the perfect fit for your home.