Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just cold temps, winter months come with weather changes that influence every part of daily life in Roanoke. And while we might be quick to change our wardrobe or thermostat setting to face the challenges brought by Mother Nature, one of the best defenses against the weather often goes unmentioned: our doors.
Your front door is more than just a welcoming entry to your home or first impression of style for your visitors. It’s also a steadfast barrier protecting you from colder weather that awaits outside. 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 safe from the cold during the winter months.
A door that doesn’t keep out the cold can mean increased energy bills and a generally colder home. Left unchecked, some problems might result in the need for a new replacement door. Don’t let things go that long! Winter is a great time to diagnose the indications of a door that might be failing, 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 created with wood fibers, begin to contract. As temps get warmer, they expand.
Over time, this expansion and contraction can take its toll, causing doors to change their size and shape. Since most doors are cut to specific door frame sizes, any amount 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. More often than not this begins at the bottom of the door—because of gravity.
Left unchecked, this warping can cause 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 significant, even with a small gap. Without attention, warping can bring about larger gaps, frequent sticking and eventual problems with loosened hinges that could create significant door damage.
Just as the cycle of changing temperatures can take its toll on doors, changes in humidity can also effect doors over seasons. These humidity changes often come from inside the home. Winter presents a seasonal challenge as home heating systems can cause a decline in indoor air humidity.
Over the seasons, this humidity drop can lead to cracking in doors. Dry air will absorb moisture from any nearby source – including the moisture stored within your wood door – and this can mean undesirable warping and cracking.
Cracking won’t bring the long-term structural effects that can come with warping, but it can play a significant role in your door’s appeal. It will be especially obvious in the inner paneling and door frame. As paint drains moisture due to reduced humidity, it also loses its flexibility. If the wood below the surface also begins to do the same, the paint will be moved as well. Notably 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
Colder weather can have a meaningful impact on your front doors. But learning what causes the issues makes it easy to come up with ways to make sure your doors don’t suffer the brunt of the elements.
Just like a person might take vitamin C to fight against a winter bug, an bit of prevention can help in keeping your doors healthy during the most severe winter weather. Here are some common, and simple, ways to prepare your doors for colder temperatures.
Doors start to settle into a home the moment they’re installed, and weather takes its toll soon after. So even if your door was installed in the last year, it’s a good thought to be on the lookout for gaps around the sides of your doors.
Keeping gaps effectively 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 close gaps between your door and frame—helping stop cold air from squeezing through. These soft adhesive strips collapse slightly whenever the door is closed, pressing to fill any gaps. Strips provide support while also preserving the look of the door. As a bonus, they also help to improve soundproofing.
Sealing helps keep cold air from seeping through gaps in the doorway, but it’s also important to be certain warm air isn’t leaking outside. Especially 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 leaking through the lower track or bottom of the door.
Loose hinges may seem like a issue only for homes with older doors. But if you notice cold air is getting into your room, it’s worth investigating the connections of doors of any age to make sure they’re as securely attached to the frame as possible. Over time, hinges can come loose from the frame due to warping. Taking a moment to adjust the hinges is a great preventative step to take before the temperatures change with each season.
To make sure damage isn’t done 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 might strip the socket, ruin the screw and lead to further problems with hinges down the road.
You may not be bothered by the drier indoor air that comes with winter, but your doors certainly can be affected by it. Using a humidifier is the best way to keep an acceptable moisture level in your home’s air. Choose a model that allows you to set and maintain a preferred humidity level for best results. This will defend against putting too much moisture in the air, which can lead to a different set of problems.
A constant humidity level in your home isn’t just important for your doors, but any other wooden furnishings you may have. And maintaining indoor humidity can also improve the overall quality of your indoor air—which means less likelihood of health problems, like catching that dreaded winter cold.
While isn’t a vitamin C supplement to keep your doors healthy, these basic steps are almost as good when it comes to making sure your home’s doors are in top condition for the forseeable future. Is it time to give your home an updated look in your doorway? Are you searching for a door that can better defend against years of extreme weather? Call the pros at Pella of Roanoke to find the perfect fit for your home.