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 Santa Fe. 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 strongest defenses against the elements often goes ignored: our doors.
Your front door is more than just a inviting entryway to your home or reflection of style for your visitors. It’s also a steadfast barrier keeping you from blustery weather that awaits outdoors. 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 protected from the cold during the winter months.
A door that doesn’t block out the cold can result in more expensive energy bills and a generally chilly home. Left forgotten, some problems might lead to the need for a new replacement door. Don’t let things go that long! Winter is a great time to diagnose 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 prime working condition.
What To Look For:
When the weather gets chillier, wooden doors, or those constructed with wood fibers, begin to contract. As temperatures 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 bit 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 begins 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 overlooked, the effect on your home temperature can be significant, even with a small gap. Without repair, warping can lead to larger gaps, frequent sticking and eventual problems with loosened hinges that could create structural door damage.
Just as the cycle of varying temperatures can take its toll on doors, changes in humidity can also effect doors over seasons. These humidity changes generally come from inside the home. Wintertime presents a unique challenge as home heating systems can cause a decrease indoor air humidity.
Over time, this humidity drop can lead to cracking in doors. Dry air will suck up moisture from any possible source – including the moisture stored inside your wood door – and this can mean troublesome warping and cracking.
Cracking won’t have the long-term usability effects that can come with warping, but it can play a significant role in your door’s appeal. 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 shift as well. Particularly 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
Colder weather can have a notable impact on your exterior doors. But learning what causes the issues makes it easy to find ways to make sure your doors don’t suffer the damaging impact of the elements.
Just like a person might take vitamin C to battle against a winter bug, an ounce of prevention can aid in keeping your doors healthy during the most severe winter weather. Here are some common, and convenient, ways to strengthen your doors for colder temperatures.
Doors start to settle into a frame the moment they’re installed, and weather takes its toll just as quickly. So even if your door was placed in the past year, it’s a good thought to be on the lookout for gaps around the sides of your doors.
Keeping gaps correctly 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 block gaps between your door and frame—helping prevent cold air from leaking. These soft adhesive strips collapse slightly whenever the door is closed, adjusting to fill any gaps. Strips provide support while also preserving the look of the door. As a bonus, they also help to improve soundproofing.
Sealing helps stop cold air from seeping through gaps in the doorway, but it’s also important to know that warm air isn’t getting out. Notably with sliding doors that take up more wall space than other doors, it’s vital to make sure that warm air isn’t being lost through convection.
Adding a draft-excluding strip along the bottom of sliding doors or at the base of entryway doors creates 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 notice cold air is getting 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 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 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 might strip the socket, destroy the screw and lead to further problems with hinges in the future.
You may not be bothered by the dehydrated indoor air that comes with the cold season, but your doors certainly can be impacted 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 keep from creating too much moisture in the air, which can lead to 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 catching that dreaded winter cold.
While there might not be a vitamin C supplement to give your doors a boost, these basic steps are almost as good when it comes to making sure your home’s doors are in peak condition for as long as possible. Is it time to give your home an updated look in your entryway? Are you searching for a door that can better defend against years of elements? Contact the professionals at Pella of Santa Fe to find the perfect fit for your home.