Protecting Your Doors from Winter Weather
Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just chilly days, winter months bring 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 home comfort setting to face the challenges brought by Mother Nature, one of the best defenses against the weather often goes overlooked: 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 windy weather that awaits outside. Just like any other part of our homes, it’s important 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 seal out the cold can result in more expensive energy bills and a generally uncomfortable home. Left ignored, some problems might lead to the need for a new replacement door. Don’t let things go that far! 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:
When the air gets chillier, wooden doors, or those made with wood fibers, begin to contract. As temps get warmer, they expand.
Over time, this expansion and contraction can have an impact, causing doors to change their size and shape. Since the majority of doors are crafted to exact door frame sizes, any bit of warping can end 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—due to gravity.
Left unrepaired, this warping can cause 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 attention, warping can bring about larger gaps, frequent sticking and eventual issues with loosened hinges that could lead to significant door damage.
CrackingJust as the cycle of changing temperatures can take its toll on doors, changes in humidity can also create problems with doors over seasons. These humidity changes generally come from inside the home. Wintertime presents a specific 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 cause troublesome warping and cracking.
Cracking won’t bring 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 loses moisture due to decreased humidity, it also loses its flexibility. If the wood beneath 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 lead to not only paint cracking but, if left unchecked, paint chipping away.
Keeping doors healthy in winter
Winter weather can have a notable impact on your entry doors. But knowing what causes the issues makes it easy to come up with ways to make sure your doors don’t suffer the full force of the elements.
Just like we might take vitamin C to battle against a winter cold, an bit of prevention can go a long way toward keeping your doors sturdy 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 right after 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 idea to be on the lookout for gaps around the sides of your doors.
Keeping gaps properly sealed is an important part of 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 squeezing through. These soft adhesive strips collapse a small amount whenever the door is closed, adjusting 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 keep cold air from coming through gaps in the doorway, but it’s also important to be certain warm air isn’t escaping. 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.
TighteningLoose 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 tightly attached to the frame as possible. Over time, hinges can get detatched 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 be certain damage isn’t caused 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 worse problems with hinges later.
Increasing humidityYou may not be disturbed by the drier 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 home 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 likelihood of health problems, like coming down with that dreaded winter cold.
While there might not be a vitamin C supplement to keep your doors healthy, these easy steps are virtually as good when it comes to making sure your home’s doors are in their best condition for years. Is it time to give your home an updated look in your doorway? Are you looking for a door that can better withstand years of extreme weather? Call the professionals at Pella of Kelowna to find the perfect fit for your home.