Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just brisk temperatures, winter months mean weather changes that influence every part of daily life in Davenport. And while we might be quick to adjust our wardrobe or thermostat setting to deal with the challenges brought by Mother Nature, one of the strongest defenses against the cold often goes ignored: our doors.
Your front door is more than just a appealing entrance to your home or reflection of style for your visitors. It’s also a steadfast barrier keeping you from windy weather that awaits outdoors. Just like any other part of our homes, it’s necessary 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 block out the cold can mean higher 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 diagnose the symptoms 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 created with wood fibers, begin to contract. When weather get warmer, they expand.
Over time, this expansion and contraction can have an impact, causing doors to change their size and shape. Since most doors are made to specific door frame sizes, any amount of warping can end in a door catching on the frame. This can be identified in a door that seems more difficult to open and close. More often than not this starts at the bottom of the door—thanks to gravity.
Left unrepaired, this warping can cause 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 intervention, warping can bring about larger gaps, more sticking and eventual issues with loosened hinges that could end in severe door damage.
Just as the cycle of fluctuating temperatures can damage doors, changes in humidity can also create problems with doors over time. These humidity changes frequently come from inside the home. Winter presents a specific challenge as home heating systems can cause a decline in indoor air humidity.
Over time, this humidity drop can cause cracking in doors. Dry air will take in 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 practical effects that can come with warping, but it can play a significant role in your door’s look. It will be especially obvious in the inner paneling and door frame. As paint loses moisture due to decreased humidity, it also loses its flexibility. If the wood under the surface also begins expanding and contracting, the paint will move as well. Especially 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
Winter weather can have a notable impact on your entry doors. But understanding what causes the problems makes it easy to find ways to make sure your doors don’t suffer the damaging impact of the elements.
Just like you might take vitamin C to battle against a winter illness, an ounce of prevention can aid in keeping your doors sturdy during the most extreme winter weather. Here are some common, and simple, ways to strengthen your doors for colder temperatures.
Doors start to settle into a home 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 time to be on the lookout for gaps around the sides of your doors.
Keeping gaps correctly sealed is an important step for protecting your doors. Sealing strips can be placed 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 a bit whenever the door is closed, pressing to fill any gaps. Strips provide support while also protecting the look of the door. As a bonus, they also help to improve 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 getting out. Particularly with sliding doors that take up more wall space than other doors, it’s crucial to make sure that warm air 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 concern only for homes with older doors. But if you feel cold air is entering into your room, it’s worth investigating the connections of doors of any age to make sure they’re as firmly attached to the frame as can be. Over time, hinges can get detatched from the frame due to warping. Taking a moment to tighten the hinges is a great preventative measure 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 rather than 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 bothered by the dry indoor air that comes with the cold season, but your doors certainly can be affected by it. Using a humidifier is an effective way to keep an appropriate moisture level in your indoor 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 space isn’t just good for your doors, but any other wooden pieces you may have. And maintaining indoor humidity can also improve the overall quality of your indoor air—which means less chance of health problems, like coming down with that dreaded winter cold.
While isn’t a vitamin C supplement to give your doors a boost, these basic 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 planning for a door that can better stand up to years of extreme weather? Call the professionals at Pella of Davenport to find the perfect fit for your home.