Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just cold days, winter months mean weather changes that play a role in every part of daily life in Fargo. And while we might be quick to make adjustments to our wardrobe or heater setting to deal with the challenges brought by Mother Nature, one of the sturdiest defenses against the cold often goes unmentioned: our doors.
Your front door is more than just a inviting entrance to your home or first impression of style for your visitors. It’s also a sturdy barrier protecting you from blustery weather that waits on the other side. Just like any other part of our homes, it’s necessary to make sure your door is not only operating well, but also keeping your home guarded from the cold during the winter months.
A door that doesn’t seal out the cold can result in higher energy bills and a generally chilly home. Left ignored, some problems might end with 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 made with wood fibers, begin to contract. After 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 the majority of doors are made to exact 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. More often than not this starts at the bottom of the door—because of gravity.
Left unrepaired, this warping can lead to 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 severe, even with a small gap. Without intervention, warping can bring about larger gaps, increased sticking and eventual problems with loosened hinges that could lead to significant door damage.
Just as the cycle of fluctuating temperatures can take its toll on doors, changes in humidity can also effect doors over time. These humidity changes often come from inside the home. Wintertime presents a unique challenge as home heating systems can cause a drop in indoor air humidity.
Over the years, this humidity drop can lead to cracking in doors. Dry air will take in moisture from any available source – including the moisture stored in your wood door – and this can mean undesirable warping and cracking.
Cracking won’t result in the long-term practical effects that can come with warping, but it can play a serious role in your door’s appeal. It will be especially obvious in the inner paneling and door frame. As paint gives up moisture due to decreased humidity, it also loses its flexibility. If the wood below the surface also begins expanding and contracting, the paint will be moved as well. Notably at joining sections of the door panel and frame, this could lead to not only paint cracking but, if left ignored, paint chipping from the door.
Keeping doors healthy in winter
Winter weather can have a significant impact on your entry doors. But knowing what causes the problems makes it easy to identify 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 help in keeping your doors in good shape 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 home right after they’re installed, and weather takes its toll soon after. So even if your door was added in the past 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 sit around the edges of the door. They are a good way to close gaps between your door and frame—helping keep cold air from seeping in. These soft adhesive strips collapse slightly whenever the door is closed, squeezing to fill any gaps. Strips provide support while also protecting the look of the door. As a bonus, they also help to boost 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. Especially with sliding doors that take up more wall space than other doors, it’s crucial 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 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 leaking 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 possible. Over time, hinges can get detatched from the frame due to warping. Taking a moment to adjust 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 rather than a drill to protect your door. Twisting the screw further than necessary can strip the socket, ruin the screw and lead to more severe problems with hinges later.
You may not be affected by the dry indoor air that comes with winter, but your doors certainly can be impacted by it. Using a humidifier is a good way to keep an appropriate 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 space isn’t just important for your doors, but any other wooden furnishings you may have. And maintaining indoor humidity can also improve the overall quality of your indoor air—which means less chance of health problems, like having 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 stay in their best condition for the forseeable future. Is it time to give your home an updated look in your doorway? Are you planning for a door that can better stand up to years of weather extremes? Call the pros at Pella of Fargo to find the perfect fit for your home.