Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just brisk temps, winter months bring weather changes that impact every part of daily life in Binghamton. And while we might be quick to change our wardrobe or home comfort setting to meet the challenges brought by Mother Nature, one of the strongest defenses against the cold often goes ignored: our doors.
Your front door is more than just a welcoming entrance to your home or first impression of style for your visitors. It’s also a steadfast barrier keeping you from blustery weather that awaits outside. Just like any other part of our homes, it’s important 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 block out the cold can result in higher energy bills and a generally colder 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 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 constructed with wood fibers, begin to contract. When weather get warmer, they expand.
Over the years, this expansion and contraction can start to show, causing doors to change their size and shape. Since most doors are crafted to specific door frame sizes, any type 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. Usually this starts at the bottom of the door—due to gravity.
Left unrepaired, this warping can create gaps between the door and the frame that bring in outside air. While these gaps often go unnoticed, the effect on your home temperature can be significant, even with a small gap. Without intervention, warping can bring about larger gaps, frequent sticking and eventual issues with loosened hinges that could lead to significant door damage.
Just as the cycle of fluctuating temperatures can damage doors, changes in humidity can also effect doors over seasons. These humidity changes often come from inside the home. Colder weather presents a specific challenge as home heating systems can cause a decline in indoor air humidity.
Over the seasons, this humidity drop can lead to cracking in doors. Dry air will absorb moisture from any nearby source – including the moisture stored within your wood door – and this can mean undesirable warping and cracking.
Cracking won’t result in the long-term structural 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 below the surface also begins to expand and contract, the paint will shift as well. Especially at joining sections of the door panel and frame, this could result in not only paint cracking but, if left alone, paint chipping away.
Keeping doors healthy in winter
Colder weather can have a meaningful impact on your front doors. But learning what causes the issues makes it easy to find ways to make sure your doors don’t suffer the full force of the elements.
Just like you might take vitamin C to defend against a winter cold, an ounce of prevention can help in keeping your doors in good shape during the most severe winter weather. Here are some common, and simple, ways to prepare 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 installed in the last year, it’s a good idea to be on the lookout for gaps around the sides of your doors.
Keeping gaps effectively 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 block gaps between your door and frame—helping keep cold air from squeezing through. These soft adhesive strips collapse slightly whenever the door is closed, pressing to fill any gaps. Strips provide support while also preserving the look of the door. As a bonus, they also help to increase soundproofing.
Sealing helps keep cold air from passing through gaps in the doorway, but it’s also important to be certain warm air isn’t getting out. Particularly with sliding doors that take up more wall space than other doors, it’s vital to make sure that warmth 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 leaking through the lower track or bottom of the door.
Loose hinges may seem like a issue only for homes with older doors. But if you can tell cold air is getting 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 action 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 might strip the socket, ruin the screw and lead to worse problems with hinges later.
You may not be affected by the drier indoor air that comes with winter, but your doors certainly can be damaged by it. Using a humidifier is the best way to keep an appropriate moisture level in your home’s air. Choose a model that allows you to adjust and maintain a preferred humidity level for best results. This will defend against putting too much moisture in the air, which can cause a different set of problems.
A constant humidity level in your space 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 home’s air—which means less possibility of health problems, like catching that dreaded winter cold.
While there might not be a vitamin C supplement to give your doors a boost, these easy steps are virtually as good when it comes to making sure your home’s doors remain 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 withstand years of elements? Call the professionals at Pella of Binghamton to find the perfect fit for your home.