Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just cold days, winter months come with weather changes that play a role in every part of daily life in Memphis. 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 cold often goes unmentioned: our doors.
Your front door is more than just a appealing entry to your home or first glimpse of style for your visitors. It’s also a steadfast 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 well, but also keeping your home protected from the cold during the winter months.
A door that doesn’t block out the cold can mean increased energy bills and a generally uncomfortable 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 check for 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 constructed with wood fibers, begin to contract. After weather 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 cut to exact door frame sizes, any type of warping can result in a door catching on the frame. This can be identified in a door that seems more difficult to open and close. Usually this starts at the bottom of the door—thanks to gravity.
Left alone, this warping can lead to gaps between the door and the frame that allow in outside air. While these gaps often go unseen, the effect on your home temperature can be severe, even with a small gap. Without repair, warping can result in larger gaps, more sticking and eventual concerns with loosened hinges that could end in structural door damage.
Just as the cycle of changing temperatures can damage doors, changes in humidity can also effect doors over seasons. These humidity changes generally come from inside the home. Wintertime presents a unique challenge as home heating systems can cause a decrease indoor air humidity.
Over the seasons, 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 undesirable warping and cracking.
Cracking won’t result in the long-term usability effects that can come with warping, but it can play a serious role in your door’s look. It will be especially evident in the inner paneling and door frame. As paint gives up moisture due to reduced humidity, it also loses its flexibility. If the wood below the surface also begins to expand and contract, the paint will shift 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 problems makes it easy to find 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 dose of prevention can help 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.
Doors start to settle into a house the moment 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 properly sealed is an important key to protecting your doors. Sealing strips can be added around the edges of the door. They are a good way to block gaps between your door and frame—helping keep cold air from leaking. These soft adhesive strips collapse slightly 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 boost soundproofing.
Sealing helps stop cold air from coming through gaps in the doorway, but it’s also important to make sure warm air isn’t leaking outside. Notably with sliding doors that take up more wall space than other doors, it’s vital 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 creates 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 feel cold air is leaking 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 possible. Over time, hinges can come loose from the frame due to warping. Taking a moment to fix the hinges is a great preventative measure to take before the temperatures change with each season.
To make sure damage isn’t created 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, ruin the screw and lead to further problems with hinges in the future.
You may not be bothered by the dry indoor air that comes with wintertime, 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 model that allows you to adjust and maintain a desired humidity level for best results. This will prevent putting too much moisture in the air, which can cause a different set of problems.
A constant humidity level in your space isn’t just helpful 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 possibility 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 easy steps are nearly as good when it comes to making sure your home’s doors remain in top condition for as long as possible. Is it time to give your home an updated look in your front door? Are you looking for a door that can better stand up to years of elements? Contact the professionals at Pella of Memphis to find the perfect fit for your home.