Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just cold temps, winter months mean weather changes that play a role in every part of daily life in Asheville. And while we might be quick to adjust our wardrobe or heater setting to meet the challenges brought by Mother Nature, one of the sturdiest defenses against the cold often goes overlooked: our doors.
Your front door is more than just a inviting entry to your home or reflection of style for your visitors. It’s also a steadfast barrier keeping you from colder weather that awaits outdoors. Just like any other facet of our homes, it’s important to make sure your door is not only operating efficiently, but also keeping your home protected from the cold during the winter months.
A door that doesn’t seal out the cold can mean increased energy bills and a generally chilly home. Left unchecked, some problems might end with the need for a new replacement door. Don’t let things go that long! Winter is a great time to check for the signs 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 weather gets chillier, wooden doors, or those created with wood fibers, begin to contract. As 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 specific 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. More often than not this can first be seen at the bottom of the door—because of gravity.
Left unrepaired, this warping can lead to 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 noticeable, even with a small gap. Without intervention, warping can lead to larger gaps, increased sticking and eventual issues with loosened hinges that could lead to significant door damage.
Just as the cycle of changing temperatures can cause changes to doors, changes in humidity can also have an impact on doors over time. These humidity changes frequently come from inside the home. Colder weather presents a unique challenge as home heating systems can cause a decrease indoor air humidity.
Over the years, this humidity drop can result in cracking in doors. Dry air will suck up moisture from any nearby source – including the moisture stored in your wood door – and this can create troublesome warping and cracking.
Cracking won’t bring the long-term structural effects that can come with warping, but it can play a serious role in your door’s appeal. It will be especially noticeable in the inner paneling and door frame. As paint gives up 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 be moved 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 from the door.
Keeping doors healthy in winter
Colder weather can have a meaningful impact on your front doors. But knowing what causes the issues makes it easy to identify ways to make sure your doors don’t suffer the brunt of the elements.
Just like we might take vitamin C to defend against a winter cold, an ounce of prevention can help in keeping your doors sturdy during the most extreme winter weather. Here are some common, and easy, ways to strengthen your doors for colder temperatures.
Doors start to settle into a home the moment they’re installed, and weather takes its toll just as quickly. So even if your door was installed in the prior 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 part of protecting your doors. Sealing strips can sit 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 bit whenever the door is closed, pressing 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 coming through gaps in the doorway, but it’s also important to know that warm air isn’t escaping. Notably with sliding doors that take up more wall space than other doors, it’s important to make sure that warm air isn’t being lost through convection.
Putting a draft-excluding strip along the bottom of sliding doors or at the base of entryway doors provides a barrier against warm air leaving 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 checking the connections of doors of any age to make sure they’re as securely attached to the frame as can be. Over time, hinges can loosen from the frame due to warping. Taking a moment to fix the hinges is a great preventative step to take before the temperatures change with each season.
To make sure 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 could strip the socket, ruin the screw and lead to worse problems with hinges in the future.
You may not be disturbed by the dry indoor air that comes with wintertime, but your doors certainly can be damaged by it. Using a humidifier is a good way to keep an acceptable moisture level in your indoor air. Choose a model that allows you to adjust and maintain a chosen humidity level for best results. This will keep from putting 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 furnishings you may have. And maintaining indoor humidity can also increase the overall quality of your room’s air—which means less possibility of health problems, like having that dreaded winter cold.
While there might not be a vitamin C supplement to give your doors a boost, these simple steps are nearly as good when it comes to making sure your home’s doors remain in their best 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 Asheville to find the perfect fit for your home.