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Protecting Your Doors from Winter Weather

Protecting Your Doors from Winter Weather

Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just chilly temperatures, winter months mean weather changes that play a role in every part of daily life in Kelowna. And while we might be quick to adjust our wardrobe or thermostat setting to face 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 entryway to your home or reflection of style for your visitors. It’s also a significant barrier keeping you from blustery weather that awaits outside. Just like any other part of our homes, it’s vital to make sure your door is not only operating efficiently, but also keeping your home safe from the cold during the winter months.

A door that doesn’t keep out the cold can result in more expensive energy bills and a generally colder home. Left ignored, some problems might result in the need for a new replacement door. Don’t let things go to that extreme! Winter is a great time to review the signs 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 prime working condition. 

What To Look For:

  • Sticking

    When the air gets chillier, wooden doors, or those created with wood fibers, begin to contract. As 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 the majority of doors are cut to exact door frame sizes, any bit of warping can end in a door catching on the frame. This can be identified in a door that seems more difficult to open and close. More often than not this begins at the bottom of the door—due to gravity.

    Left unrepaired, this warping can lead to gaps between the door and the frame that allow in outside air. While these gaps often go unnoticed, the effect on your home temperature can be severe, even with a small gap. Without intervention, warping can bring about larger gaps, frequent sticking and eventual problems with loosened hinges that could create significant door damage. 

  • Cracking

    Just as the cycle of varying temperatures can cause changes to doors, changes in humidity can also create problems with doors over seasons. These humidity changes generally come from inside the home. Wintertime presents a unique challenge as home heating systems can cause a decline in indoor air humidity.

    Over the years, this humidity drop can result in cracking in doors. Dry air will absorb moisture from any nearby source – including the moisture stored in your wood door – and this can create troublesome warping and cracking.

    Cracking won’t bring the long-term usability effects that can come with warping, but it can play a tremendous role in your door’s appeal. It will be especially obvious in the inner paneling and door frame. As paint drains moisture due to decreased humidity, it also loses its flexibility. If the wood beneath the surface also begins expanding and contracting, 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 unchecked, paint chipping off.

Keeping doors healthy in winter

Winter weather can have a notable impact on your entry doors. But knowing what causes the problems makes it easy to find ways to make sure your doors don’t suffer the brunt of the elements.

Just like we might take vitamin C to battle against a winter bug, an bit of prevention can help in keeping your doors sturdy during the most intense winter weather. Here are some common, and easy, ways to strengthen your doors for colder temperatures.

  • Sealing

    Doors start to settle into a frame right after they’re installed, and weather takes its toll soon after. So even if your door was placed in the past year, it’s a good idea to be on the lookout for gaps around the sides of your doors.

    Keeping gaps correctly sealed is an important step for protecting your doors. Sealing strips can be placed around the edges of the door. They are a good way to close gaps between your door and frame—helping prevent 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 preserving the look of the door. As a bonus, they also help to improve soundproofing.

  • Insulating

    Sealing helps prevent cold air from coming through gaps in the doorway, but it’s also important to make sure warm air isn’t getting out. Notably with sliding doors that take up more wall space than other doors, it’s crucial 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 escaping through the lower track or bottom of the door.

  • Tightening

    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 securely attached to the frame as possible. Over time, hinges can get detatched from the frame due to warping. Taking a moment to tighten the hinges is a great preventative step to take before the temperatures change with each season.

    To be certain damage isn’t caused 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 can strip the socket, damage the screw and lead to further problems with hinges down the road.

  • Increasing humidity

    You may not be disturbed by the dry indoor air that comes with the cold season, but your doors certainly can be impacted by it. Using a humidifier is a good way to keep an acceptable moisture level in your home’s air. Choose a humidifier that allows you to set and maintain a preferred humidity level for best results. This will prevent creating too much moisture in the air, which can develop a different set of problems.
  • A constant humidity level in your house isn’t just helpful for your doors, but any other wooden pieces you may have. And maintaining indoor humidity can also increase the overall quality of your indoor air—which means less likelihood of health problems, like catching that dreaded winter cold.

While there might not be a vitamin C supplement to maintain your door’s health, these simple steps are virtually as good when it comes to making sure your home’s doors are in their best condition for as long as possible. 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? Call the pros at Pella of Kelowna to find the perfect fit for your home.

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