Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just chilly temperatures, winter months bring weather changes that impact every part of daily life in Hingham. And while we might be quick to make adjustments to our wardrobe or thermostat setting to meet the challenges brought by Mother Nature, one of the sturdiest defenses against the weather often goes ignored: our doors.
Your front door is more than just a welcoming entry to your home or first glimpse of style for your visitors. It’s also a significant barrier protecting you from windy 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 safe from the cold during the winter months.
A door that doesn’t keep out the cold can lead to more expensive energy bills and a generally chilly home. Left forgotten, some problems might result in the need for a new replacement door. Don’t let things go to that extreme! Winter is a great time to review the signs 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 air gets chillier, wooden doors, or those created with wood fibers, begin to contract. As temps get warmer, they expand.
Over time, this expansion and contraction can start to show, causing doors to change their size and shape. Since most doors are cut to exact door frame sizes, any bit of warping can end in 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—because of gravity.
Left alone, this warping can cause 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 result in larger gaps, frequent sticking and eventual concerns 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 effect doors over seasons. These humidity changes frequently come from indoors. Wintertime presents a specific challenge as home heating systems can cause a decrease indoor air humidity.
Over the seasons, this humidity drop can result in cracking in doors. Dry air will absorb moisture from any possible source – including the moisture stored in your wood door – and this can create undesirable warping and cracking.
Cracking won’t bring the long-term practical effects that can come with warping, but it can play a serious role in your door’s appearance. It will be especially noticeable in the inner paneling and door frame. As paint drains moisture due to decreased humidity, it also loses its flexibility. If the wood beneath the surface also begins to do the same, the paint will shift as well. Especially at joining sections of the door panel and frame, this could lead to not only paint cracking but, if left alone, paint chipping away.
Keeping doors healthy in winter
Seasonal weather can have a significant impact on your entry doors. But knowing what causes the damage makes it easy to identify ways to make sure your doors don’t suffer the damaging impact of the elements.
Just like a person might take vitamin C to defend against a winter cold, an ounce of prevention can go a long way toward keeping your doors healthy during the most extreme winter weather. Here are some common, and easy, ways to prepare your doors for colder temperatures.
Doors start to settle into a frame right after they’re installed, and weather takes its toll immediately. So even if your door was added in the past 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 sit around the edges of the door. They are a good way to close 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 maintaining the look of the door. As a bonus, they also help to boost soundproofing.
Sealing helps keep cold air from coming through gaps in the doorway, but it’s also important to be certain warm air isn’t escaping. Notably 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.
Putting a draft-excluding strip along the bottom of sliding doors or at the base of entryway doors produces a barrier against warm air leaving 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 feel cold air is entering 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 can be. Over time, hinges can loosen 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 created 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 might strip the socket, destroy the screw and lead to more severe problems with hinges in the future.
You may not be affected by the dry indoor air that comes with wintertime, but your doors certainly can be impacted by it. Using a humidifier is a good way to keep an acceptable moisture level in your space’s air. Choose one that allows you to determine and maintain a desired humidity level for best results. This will keep from creating too much moisture in the air, which can cause a different set of problems.
A constant humidity level in your house isn’t just important for your doors, but any other wooden pieces you may have. And maintaining indoor humidity can also improve the overall quality of your room’s air—which means less likelihood of health problems, like coming down with that dreaded winter cold.
While there might not be 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 years. 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 extreme weather? Contact the team at Pella of Hingham to find the perfect fit for your home.