Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just brisk temps, winter months bring weather changes that influence every part of daily life in Syracuse. 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 sturdiest defenses against the elements often goes ignored: our doors.
Your front door is more than just a inviting entryway to your home or first glimpse of style for your visitors. It’s also a steadfast barrier defending you from blustery weather that waits outside. Just like any other aspect of our homes, it’s necessary to make sure your door is not only operating well, but also keeping your home guarded from the cold during the winter months.
A door that doesn’t seal out the cold can lead to more expensive energy bills and a generally uncomfortable home. Left forgotten, some problems might end with the need for a new replacement door. Don’t let things go to that extreme! Winter is a great time to diagnose the indications of a door that might be starting to fail, 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 temperature gets chillier, wooden doors, or those constructed with wood fibers, begin to contract. When temps get warmer, they expand.
Over the years, this expansion and contraction can take its toll, causing doors to change their size and shape. Since many doors are cut to exact door frame sizes, any type of warping can lead to a door catching on the frame. This can be observed in a door that seems more difficult to open and close. Usually this begins at the bottom of the door—due to gravity.
Left alone, this warping can cause gaps between the door and the frame that let in outside air. While these gaps often go unnoticed, the effect on your home temperature can be significant, even with a small gap. Without repair, warping can result in larger gaps, increased sticking and eventual concerns with loosened hinges that could end in severe door damage.
Just as the cycle of varying temperatures can cause changes to doors, changes in humidity can also have an impact on doors over time. These humidity changes often come from inside the house. Wintertime presents a specific challenge as home heating systems can cause a decrease indoor air humidity.
Over time, this humidity drop can cause cracking in doors. Dry air will take in moisture from any nearby source – including the moisture stored in your wood door – and this can mean troublesome warping and cracking.
Cracking won’t have the long-term practical effects that can come with warping, but it can play a serious role in your door’s look. It will be especially noticeable in the inner paneling and door frame. As paint loses moisture due to reduced humidity, it also loses its flexibility. If the wood beneath the surface also begins to do the same, the paint will move as well. Particularly at joining sections of the door panel and frame, this could mean not only paint cracking but, if left unchecked, paint chipping away.
Keeping doors healthy in winter
Seasonal weather can have a significant impact on your front doors. But understanding what causes the problems makes it easy to identify ways to make sure your doors don’t suffer the brunt of the elements.
Just like a person might take vitamin C to defend against a winter cold, an dose of prevention can aid in keeping your doors in good shape during the most severe winter weather. Here are some common, and easy, ways to brace your doors for colder temperatures.
Doors start to settle into a home the moment they’re installed, and weather takes its toll immediately. 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 added around the edges of the door. They are a good way to block 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, squeezing to fill any gaps. Strips provide support while also protecting the look of the door. As a bonus, they also help to improve soundproofing.
Sealing helps stop cold air from seeping through gaps in the doorway, but it’s also important to know that warm air isn’t escaping. 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.
Placing a draft-excluding strip along the bottom of sliding doors or at the base of entryway doors provides a barrier against warm air leaking through the lower track or bottom of the door.
Loose hinges may seem like a concern only for homes with older doors. But if you can tell cold air is entering 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 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 done 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 could strip the socket, damage the screw and lead to further problems with hinges down the road.
You may not be bothered by the dehydrated indoor air that comes with the cold season, but your doors certainly can be impacted by it. Using a humidifier is the best way to keep an acceptable moisture level in your indoor air. Choose a model that allows you to adjust and maintain a preferred humidity level for best results. This will keep from 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 important for your doors, but any other wooden furniture you may have. And maintaining indoor humidity can also improve the overall quality of your room’s air—which means less chance of health problems, like catching that dreaded winter cold.
While there’s not a vitamin C supplement to keep your doors healthy, these simple steps are virtually as good when it comes to making sure your home’s doors remain in their best condition for years. Is it time to give your home an updated look in your front door? Are you planning for a door that can better stand up to years of extreme weather? Call the professionals at Pella of Syracuse to find the perfect fit for your home.