Protecting Your Doors from Winter Weather
Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just brisk days, winter months bring weather changes that play a role in every part of daily life in Vancouver. And while we might be quick to adjust our wardrobe or heater setting to meet the challenges brought by Mother Nature, one of the best defenses against the cold often goes unmentioned: our doors.
Your front door is more than just a inviting entryway to your home or first impression of style for your visitors. It’s also a steadfast barrier keeping you from blustery weather that awaits on the other side. Just like any other part of our homes, it’s vital to make sure your door is not only operating properly, 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 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 symptoms of a door that might be starting to fail, as well as the steps you can take to make sure your door is in the best working condition.
What To Look For:
When the weather gets chillier, wooden doors, or those constructed with wood fibers, begin to contract. When temps get warmer, they expand.
Over the years, 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 result in 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—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 significant door damage.
CrackingJust as the cycle of fluctuating temperatures can cause changes to doors, changes in humidity can also effect doors over seasons. These humidity changes generally come from indoors. Colder weather presents a specific challenge as home heating systems can cause a decline in indoor air humidity.
Over the years, this humidity drop can lead to cracking in doors. Dry air will suck up moisture from any possible source – including the moisture stored within 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 appeal. 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 beneath the surface also begins to expand and contract, the paint will be moved as well. Especially at joining sections of the door panel and frame, this could mean 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 learning what causes the issues makes it easy to identify ways to make sure your doors don’t suffer the full force of the elements.
Just like a person might take vitamin C to battle against a winter illness, an ounce of prevention can aid in keeping your doors in good shape during the most intense winter weather. Here are some common, and easy, 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 placed in the last 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 part of 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 squeezing through. These soft adhesive strips collapse a small amount 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.
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 crucial 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 creates a barrier against warm air leaving through the lower track or bottom of the door.
TighteningLoose hinges may seem like a problem only for homes with older doors. But if you feel cold air is getting into your room, it’s worth investigating 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, damage the screw and lead to more severe problems with hinges down the road.
Increasing humidityYou may not be disturbed by the drier 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 one that allows you to set and maintain a preferred humidity level for best results. This will defend against 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 furniture you may have. And maintaining indoor humidity can also increase the overall quality of your room’s air—which means less possibility of health problems, like coming down with that dreaded winter cold.
While there might not be a vitamin C supplement to maintain your door’s health, these easy steps are virtually 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 entryway? Are you searching 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.