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Protecting Your Doors from Winter Weather

Protecting Your Doors from Winter Weather

Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just chilly days, winter months mean weather changes that influence every part of daily life in Lethbridge. And while we might be quick to change our wardrobe or heater setting to face the challenges brought by Mother Nature, one of the best defenses against the cold often goes overlooked: our doors.

Your front door is more than just a welcoming entryway to your home or first impression of style for your visitors. It’s also a steadfast barrier protecting you from windy weather that awaits outdoors. Just like any other aspect 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 mean higher energy bills and a generally chilly home. Left forgotten, 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 diagnose the signs of a door that might be failing, as well as the steps you can take to make sure your door is in the best working condition. 

What To Look For:

  • Sticking

    When the weather gets chillier, wooden doors, or those made with wood fibers, begin to contract. As temperatures get warmer, they expand.

    Over time, this expansion and contraction can start to show, causing doors to change their size and shape. Since the majority of doors are crafted to specific door frame sizes, any bit of warping can lead to a door catching on the frame. This can be observed in a door that seems more difficult to open and close. More often than not this starts at the bottom of the door—due to gravity.

    Left alone, 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 significant, even with a small gap. Without repair, warping can bring about larger gaps, more sticking and eventual problems with loosened hinges that could end in severe door damage. 

  • Cracking

    Just as the cycle of varying temperatures can damage doors, changes in humidity can also create problems with doors over the years. These humidity changes often come from indoors. Colder weather presents a unique challenge as home heating systems can cause a drop in indoor air humidity.

    Over the seasons, this humidity drop can lead to cracking in doors. Dry air will take in moisture from any possible source – including the moisture stored in your wood door – and this can create undesirable warping and cracking.

    Cracking won’t have the long-term structural effects that can come with warping, but it can play a serious role in your door’s appearance. It will be especially evident in the inner paneling and door frame. As paint gives up moisture due to low humidity, it also loses its flexibility. If the wood below the surface also begins to do the same, the paint will shift as well. Notably at joining sections of the door panel and frame, this could result in not only paint cracking but, if left ignored, paint chipping away.

Keeping doors healthy in winter

Winter weather can have a significant impact on your front 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 battle against a winter bug, an dose of prevention can go a long way toward keeping your doors sturdy during the most severe winter weather. Here are some common, and convenient, ways to brace your doors for colder temperatures.

  • Sealing

    Doors start to settle into a house the moment they’re installed, and weather takes its toll soon after. So even if your door was added in the last year, it’s a good idea to be on the lookout for gaps around the sides of your doors.

    Keeping gaps effectively sealed is an important step for protecting your doors. Sealing strips can sit around the edges of the door. They are a good way to protect against gaps between your door and frame—helping stop cold air from squeezing through. These soft adhesive strips collapse slightly whenever the door is closed, adjusting to fill any gaps. Strips provide support while also protecting the look of the door. As a bonus, they also help to boost soundproofing.

  • Insulating

    Sealing helps prevent cold air from passing through gaps in the doorway, but it’s also important to be certain warm air isn’t escaping. Especially 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. 

    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.

  • Tightening

    Loose hinges may seem like a concern only for homes with older doors. But if you feel cold air is entering into your room, it’s worth investigating the connections of doors of any age to make sure they’re as firmly attached to the frame as can be. Over time, hinges can get detatched 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 instead of a drill to protect your door. Twisting the screw further than necessary could strip the socket, destroy the screw and lead to further problems with hinges later.

  • Increasing humidity

    You may not be affected by the drier indoor air that comes with winter, but your doors certainly can be affected by it. Using a humidifier is an effective way to keep an ideal moisture level in your home’s air. Choose one that allows you to determine 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 add to the overall quality of your room’s air—which means less likelihood of health problems, like catching that dreaded winter cold.

While isn’t a vitamin C supplement to keep your doors healthy, these basic steps are nearly as good when it comes to making sure your home’s doors are in their best condition for the forseeable future. Is it time to give your home an updated look in your entryway? Are you looking for a door that can better stand up to years of weather extremes? Call the pros at Pella of Lethbridge to find the perfect fit for your home.

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