Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just cold temps, winter months mean weather changes that impact every part of daily life in Scottsdale. And while we might be quick to make adjustments to our wardrobe or home comfort setting to meet the challenges brought by Mother Nature, one of the strongest defenses against the weather often goes ignored: our doors.
Your front door is more than just a inviting entrance to your home or first glimpse of style for your visitors. It’s also a significant barrier keeping you from blustery weather that awaits on the other side. 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 safe from the cold during the winter months.
A door that doesn’t keep out the cold can lead to higher energy bills and a generally chilly home. Left forgotten, some problems might lead to the need for a new replacement door. Don’t let things go to that extreme! Winter is a great time to diagnose the symptoms 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 created with wood fibers, begin to contract. When 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 lead to a door catching on the frame. This can be identified in a door that seems more difficult to open and close. In many cases this can first be seen 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 attention, warping can result in larger gaps, frequent sticking and eventual problems with loosened hinges that could lead to severe door damage.
Just as the cycle of varying temperatures can damage doors, changes in humidity can also have an impact on doors over time. These humidity changes frequently come from inside the house. Colder weather presents a specific challenge as home heating systems can cause a decrease indoor air humidity.
Over the seasons, this humidity drop can cause cracking in doors. Dry air will take in moisture from any possible source – including the moisture stored within your wood door – and this can cause troublesome warping and cracking.
Cracking won’t have 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 obvious in the inner paneling and door frame. As paint loses moisture due to reduced humidity, it also loses its flexibility. If the wood under the surface also begins to expand and contract, the paint will shift as well. Notably 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
Colder weather can have a significant impact on your exterior doors. But understanding 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 you might take vitamin C to defend against a winter illness, an bit of prevention can aid in keeping your doors healthy during the most extreme winter weather. Here are some common, and easy, ways to brace your doors for colder temperatures.
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 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 effectively 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 protect against gaps between your door and frame—helping stop 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 boost 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 leaking outside. Especially 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 provides a barrier against warm air escaping 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 can tell cold air is leaking into your room, it’s worth taking a look at the connections of doors of any age to make sure they’re as securely attached to the frame as they’re able to be. Over time, hinges can come loose 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 make sure 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 can strip the socket, destroy the screw and lead to further problems with hinges in the future.
You may not be disturbed by the drier indoor air that comes with wintertime, but your doors certainly can be damaged by it. Using a humidifier is the best way to keep an appropriate moisture level in your space’s air. Choose a humidifier that allows you to adjust and maintain a desired 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 house isn’t just helpful for your doors, but any other wooden furniture you may have. And maintaining indoor humidity can also add to the overall quality of your room’s air—which means less likelihood 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 simple steps are almost as good when it comes to making sure your home’s doors are in peak condition for as long as possible. Is it time to give your home an updated look in your front door? Are you searching for a door that can better defend against years of elements? Call the team at Pella of Scottsdale to find the perfect fit for your home.