Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just chilly days, winter months bring weather changes that influence every part of daily life in Muncie. And while we might be quick to change our wardrobe or home comfort setting to deal with the challenges brought by Mother Nature, one of the sturdiest defenses against the weather often goes ignored: our doors.
Your front door is more than just a appealing entrance to your home or first impression of style for your visitors. It’s also a steadfast barrier defending you from blustery weather that waits outside. Just like any other facet of our homes, it’s necessary to make sure your door is not only operating efficiently, but also keeping your home safe 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 chilly home. Left forgotten, some problems might result in the need for a new replacement door. Don’t let things go to that extreme! Winter is a great time to diagnose 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 weather gets chillier, wooden doors, or those created with wood fibers, begin to contract. After 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 many doors are cut to specific door frame sizes, any type of warping can lead to a door catching on the frame. This can be identified in a door that seems more difficult to open and close. In many cases this starts at the bottom of the door—thanks to gravity.
Left unrepaired, this warping can create gaps between the door and the frame that let in outside air. While these gaps often go unseen, the effect on your home temperature can be severe, even with a small gap. Without intervention, warping can lead to larger gaps, increased sticking and eventual issues with loosened hinges that could create significant door damage.
Just as the cycle of fluctuating temperatures can take its toll on doors, changes in humidity can also create problems with doors over seasons. These humidity changes often come from inside the house. Colder weather presents a unique challenge as home heating systems can cause a drop in indoor air humidity.
Over time, this humidity drop can lead to cracking in doors. Dry air will suck up moisture from any available source – including the moisture stored inside your wood door – and this can create undesirable warping and cracking.
Cracking won’t bring the long-term usability effects that can come with warping, but it can play a significant role in your door’s appearance. It will be especially noticeable in the inner paneling and door frame. As paint loses moisture due to reduced humidity, it also loses its flexibility. If the wood under the surface also begins expanding and contracting, 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 alone, paint chipping off.
Keeping doors healthy in winter
Winter weather can have a notable impact on your front doors. But learning what causes the issues makes it easy to identify ways to make sure your doors don’t suffer the damaging impact of the elements.
Just like a person might take vitamin C to defend against a winter bug, an dose of prevention can help in keeping your doors healthy during the most intense winter weather. Here are some common, and convenient, 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 soon after. So even if your door was added in the prior year, it’s a good thought 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 prevent cold air from leaking. These soft adhesive strips collapse slightly whenever the door is closed, adjusting to fill any gaps. Strips provide support while also protecting the look of the door. As a bonus, they also help to increase soundproofing.
Sealing helps stop cold air from seeping through gaps in the doorway, but it’s also important to know that warm air isn’t escaping. Particularly with sliding doors that take up more wall space than other doors, it’s important to make sure that warmth 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 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 getting into your room, it’s worth checking the connections of doors of any age to make sure they’re as securely attached to the frame as they’re able to be. Over time, hinges can loosen 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 ensure damage isn’t caused 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 can strip the socket, destroy the screw and lead to further problems with hinges in the future.
You may not be affected by the dehydrated indoor air that comes with wintertime, but your doors certainly can be affected by it. Using a humidifier is the best way to keep an ideal moisture level in your home’s air. Choose a model that allows you to adjust and maintain a desired humidity level for best results. This will keep from creating too much moisture in the air, which can develop a different set of problems.
A constant humidity level in your space isn’t just good for your doors, but any other wooden furniture you may have. And maintaining indoor humidity can also add to the overall quality of your home’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 give your doors a boost, these simple steps are virtually as good when it comes to making sure your home’s doors are in top condition for as long as possible. Is it time to give your home an updated look in your front door? Are you planning for a door that can better withstand years of extreme weather? Call the pros at Pella of Muncie to find the perfect fit for your home.