Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just chilly days, winter months come with weather changes that play a role in every part of daily life in Colorado Springs. And while we might be quick to change our wardrobe or heater setting to meet the challenges brought by Mother Nature, one of the best defenses against the elements often goes ignored: our doors.
Your front door is more than just a welcoming entry to your home or reflection of style for your visitors. It’s also a steadfast barrier protecting you from windy weather that awaits outdoors. Just like any other aspect 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 seal out the cold can mean higher energy bills and a generally chilly home. Left ignored, 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 showing signs of damage, 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 created with wood fibers, begin to contract. After temps get warmer, they expand.
Over the years, this expansion and contraction can start to show, causing doors to change their size and shape. Since the majority of doors are made to specific door frame sizes, any bit of warping can lead to a door catching on the frame. This can be seen in a door that seems more difficult to open and close. More often than not this starts at the bottom of the door—due to gravity.
Left unchecked, this warping can create gaps between the door and the frame that allow in outside air. While these gaps often go overlooked, the effect on your home temperature can be severe, even with a small gap. Without attention, warping can bring about larger gaps, more sticking and eventual issues with loosened hinges that could lead to severe door damage.
Just as the cycle of varying temperatures can take its toll on doors, changes in humidity can also have an impact on doors over time. These humidity changes often come from inside the house. Winter presents a unique challenge as home heating systems can cause a decline in indoor air humidity.
Over the years, this humidity drop can cause 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 significant role in your door’s appearance. 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 move as well. Notably at joining sections of the door panel and frame, this could mean not only paint cracking but, if left ignored, paint chipping off.
Keeping doors healthy in winter
Winter weather can have a significant impact on your exterior doors. But knowing 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 we might take vitamin C to fight against a winter bug, an bit of prevention can aid in keeping your doors in good shape during the most severe winter weather. Here are some common, and convenient, ways to brace your doors for colder temperatures.
Doors start to settle into a frame as soon as they’re installed, and weather takes its toll just as quickly. So even if your door was added in the past 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 step for protecting your doors. Sealing strips can sit around the edges of the door. They are a good way to close gaps between your door and frame—helping prevent cold air from seeping in. These soft adhesive strips collapse a bit whenever the door is closed, pressing to fill any gaps. Strips provide support while also maintaining the look of the door. As a bonus, they also help to improve soundproofing.
Sealing helps prevent cold air from coming through gaps in the doorway, but it’s also important to know that warm air isn’t getting out. Particularly with sliding doors that take up more wall space than other doors, it’s crucial to make sure that warm air 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 problem only for homes with older doors. But if you feel cold air is leaking into your room, it’s worth checking the connections of doors of any age to make sure they’re as firmly attached to the frame as they’re able to be. Over time, hinges can get detatched 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 be certain damage isn’t created 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, destroy the screw and lead to further problems with hinges in the future.
You may not be bothered by the dehydrated indoor air that comes with wintertime, but your doors certainly can be affected by it. Using a humidifier is an effective way to keep an ideal moisture level in your home’s air. Choose a humidifier 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 home isn’t just helpful for your doors, but any other wooden furniture 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 maintain your door’s health, these basic steps are virtually as good when it comes to making sure your home’s doors remain in top condition for the forseeable future. Is it time to give your home an updated look in your doorway? Are you planning for a door that can better stand up to years of elements? Contact the team at Pella of Colorado Springs to find the perfect fit for your home.