Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just brisk temps, winter months come with weather changes that play a role in every part of daily life in Edmonton. And while we might be quick to make adjustments to our wardrobe or thermostat setting to face the challenges brought by Mother Nature, one of the strongest defenses against the cold often goes overlooked: our doors.
Your front door is more than just a appealing entry to your home or first glimpse of style for your visitors. It’s also a sturdy barrier protecting you from windy weather that awaits on the other side. 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 guarded from the cold during the winter months.
A door that doesn’t seal out the cold can mean increased energy bills and a generally colder home. Left unchecked, 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 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 top working condition.
What To Look For:
When the temperature gets chillier, wooden doors, or those made with wood fibers, begin to contract. When temps get warmer, they expand.
Over a number of seasons, this expansion and contraction can take its toll, causing doors to change their size and shape. Since most doors are crafted to specific door frame sizes, any type 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. Usually this can first be seen at the bottom of the door—because of gravity.
Left unrepaired, this warping can create gaps between the door and the frame that allow in outside air. While these gaps often go unseen, the effect on your home temperature can be significant, even with a small gap. Without attention, warping can bring about larger gaps, more sticking and eventual problems with loosened hinges that could create structural door damage.
Just as the cycle of fluctuating temperatures can damage doors, changes in humidity can also effect doors over seasons. These humidity changes generally come from indoors. Wintertime presents a specific challenge as home heating systems can cause a drop in indoor air humidity.
Over the years, this humidity drop can cause 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 usability effects that can come with warping, but it can play a tremendous 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 do the same, the paint will move as well. Particularly at joining sections of the door panel and frame, this could lead to not only paint cracking but, if left unchecked, paint chipping from the door.
Keeping doors healthy in winter
Colder weather can have a significant impact on your exterior doors. But learning what causes the problems makes it easy to come up with ways to make sure your doors don’t suffer the full force of the elements.
Just like a person might take vitamin C to battle against a winter illness, an dose of prevention can aid in keeping your doors sturdy during the most intense 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 added in the last year, it’s a good time to be on the lookout for gaps around the sides of your doors.
Keeping gaps properly 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 close gaps between your door and frame—helping stop cold air from seeping in. These soft adhesive strips collapse a small amount whenever the door is closed, adjusting to fill any gaps. Strips provide support while also maintaining the look of the door. As a bonus, they also help to increase soundproofing.
Sealing helps prevent cold air from coming through gaps in the doorway, but it’s also important to know that warm air isn’t escaping. Particularly with sliding doors that take up more wall space than other doors, it’s important to make sure that heat isn’t being lost through convection.
Placing a draft-excluding strip along the bottom of sliding doors or at the base of entryway doors creates 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 notice cold air is leaking 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 they’re able to be. 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 ensure 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, ruin the screw and lead to further problems with hinges in the future.
You may not be disturbed by the dehydrated indoor air that comes with winter, but your doors certainly can be affected by it. Using a humidifier is the best way to keep an acceptable moisture level in your indoor air. Choose one that allows you to determine and maintain a preferred humidity level for best results. This will keep from adding too much moisture in the air, which can develop a different set of problems.
A constant humidity level in your house isn’t just important 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 having that dreaded winter cold.
While there’s not 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 peak 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 stand up to years of elements? Contact the pros at Pella of Edmonton to find the perfect fit for your home.