Protecting Your Doors from Winter Weather
Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just brisk temperatures, winter months bring weather changes that play a role in every part of daily life in Vancouver. And while we might be quick to make adjustments to our wardrobe or heater setting to meet the challenges brought by Mother Nature, one of the strongest defenses against the cold often goes unmentioned: our doors.
Your front door is more than just a inviting entrance to your home or first glimpse of style for your visitors. It’s also a significant barrier keeping you from windy weather that awaits on the other side. Just like any other facet of our homes, it’s vital 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 result in increased energy bills and a generally uncomfortable home. Left unchecked, some problems might lead to the need for a new replacement door. Don’t let things go that long! Winter is a great time to review the signs of a door that might be starting to fail, 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 constructed with wood fibers, begin to contract. When temperatures get warmer, they expand.
Over time, this expansion and contraction can have an impact, causing doors to change their size and shape. Since many doors are made to measured door frame sizes, any bit 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. More often than not 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 overlooked, the effect on your home temperature can be noticeable, even with a small gap. Without repair, warping can bring about larger gaps, more sticking and eventual problems with loosened hinges that could end in severe door damage.
CrackingJust as the cycle of fluctuating temperatures can take its toll on doors, changes in humidity can also have an impact on doors over seasons. These humidity changes generally come from indoors. Colder weather presents a unique 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 suck up moisture from any available source – including the moisture stored within your wood door – and this can cause 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 appeal. It will be especially obvious in the inner paneling and door frame. As paint gives up 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. Particularly at joining sections of the door panel and frame, this could mean not only paint cracking but, if left alone, paint chipping off.
Keeping doors healthy in winter
Winter weather can have a significant impact on your front doors. But learning what causes the problems makes it easy to identify ways to make sure your doors don’t suffer the brunt of the elements.
Just like a person might take vitamin C to battle against a winter illness, an dose of prevention can aid in keeping your doors in good shape during the most intense winter weather. Here are some common, and simple, ways to strengthen your doors for colder temperatures.
SealingDoors start to settle into a frame the moment they’re installed, and weather takes its toll soon after. So even if your door was installed in the past year, it’s a good time to be on the lookout for gaps around the sides of your doors.
Keeping gaps properly sealed is an important step for protecting your doors. Sealing strips can be added around the edges of the door. They are a good way to protect against gaps between your door and frame—helping stop cold air from leaking. These soft adhesive strips collapse a small amount whenever the door is closed, squeezing to fill any gaps. Strips provide support while also maintaining the look of the door. As a bonus, they also help to increase soundproofing.
InsulatingSealing helps stop cold air from seeping through gaps in the doorway, but it’s also important to know that warm air isn’t leaking outside. Notably 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.
Putting a draft-excluding strip along the bottom of sliding doors or at the base of entryway doors creates a barrier against warm air leaving through the lower track or bottom of the door.
TighteningLoose hinges may seem like a concern 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 can be. Over time, hinges can come loose from the frame due to warping. Taking a moment to fix the hinges is a great preventative action to take before the temperatures change with each season.
To be certain 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 can strip the socket, ruin the screw and lead to more severe problems with hinges later.
Increasing humidityYou may not be disturbed by the dry indoor air that comes with the cold season, but your doors certainly can be damaged by it. Using a humidifier is a good way to keep an appropriate 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 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 furnishings you may have. And maintaining indoor humidity can also improve the overall quality of your room’s air—which means less likelihood of health problems, like coming down with that dreaded winter cold.
While isn’t a vitamin C supplement to keep your doors healthy, these simple steps are virtually as good when it comes to making sure your home’s doors remain in their best condition for years. Is it time to give your home an updated look in your entryway? Are you looking for a door that can better stand up to years of weather extremes? Reach out to the pros at Pella of Vancouver to find the perfect fit for your home.