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Protecting Your Doors from Winter Weather

Protecting Your Doors from Winter Weather

Whether it be rain, snow, wind or just brisk temperatures, winter months mean weather changes that impact every part of daily life in Ketchum. And while we might be quick to make adjustments to our wardrobe or home comfort setting to face the challenges brought by Mother Nature, one of the best defenses against the weather often goes ignored: our doors.

Your front door is more than just a welcoming entry to your home or first impression of style for your visitors. It’s also a steadfast barrier keeping you from windy weather that waits outdoors. Just like any other aspect of our homes, it’s necessary to make sure your door is not only operating properly, but also keeping your home guarded from the cold during the winter months.

A door that doesn’t keep out the cold can result in more expensive 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 that far! Winter is a great time to review 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 the best working condition. 

What To Look For:

  • Sticking

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

    Over time, this expansion and contraction can have an impact, causing doors to change their size and shape. Since many doors are made to measured door frame sizes, any amount of warping can result in a door catching on the frame. This can be seen in a door that seems more difficult to open and close. Usually this can first be seen at the bottom of the door—due to gravity.

    Left alone, this warping can lead to 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 severe, even with a small gap. Without intervention, warping can result in larger gaps, increased sticking and eventual concerns with loosened hinges that could create significant door damage. 

  • Cracking

    Just as the cycle of changing temperatures can damage doors, changes in humidity can also have an impact on doors over time. 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 the seasons, this humidity drop can cause cracking in doors. Dry air will suck up moisture from any available source – including the moisture stored within your wood door – and this can cause undesirable warping and cracking.

    Cracking won’t have the long-term practical effects that can come with warping, but it can play a serious role in your door’s look. It will be especially obvious in the inner paneling and door frame. As paint drains moisture due to decreased 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 mean not only paint cracking but, if left ignored, paint chipping off.

Keeping doors healthy in winter

Colder weather can have a significant impact on your entry doors. But understanding what causes the problems makes it easy to come up with ways to make sure your doors don’t suffer the brunt of the elements.

Just like you might take vitamin C to battle against a winter bug, an ounce of prevention can aid in keeping your doors healthy during the most extreme winter weather. Here are some common, and convenient, ways to prepare your doors for colder temperatures.

  • Sealing

    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 added in the past year, it’s a good idea to be on the lookout for gaps around the sides of your doors.

    Keeping gaps properly 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 protect against gaps between your door and frame—helping prevent cold air from seeping in. These soft adhesive strips collapse slightly 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.

  • Insulating

    Sealing helps keep cold air from passing through gaps in the doorway, but it’s also important to be certain warm air isn’t getting out. Particularly with sliding doors that take up more wall space than other doors, it’s vital 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 creates a barrier against warm air leaving through the lower track or bottom of the door.

  • Tightening

    Loose hinges may seem like a issue only for homes with older doors. But if you can tell cold air is getting into your room, it’s worth investigating the connections of doors of any age to make sure they’re as securely attached to the frame as possible. Over time, hinges can get detatched from the frame due to warping. Taking a moment to tighten the hinges is a great preventative step to take before the temperatures change with each season.

    To be certain damage isn’t created 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 might strip the socket, ruin the screw and lead to further problems with hinges later.

  • Increasing humidity

    You may not be bothered by the dehydrated indoor air that comes with winter, but your doors certainly can be impacted by it. Using a humidifier is the best way to keep an appropriate moisture level in your space’s air. Choose a model that allows you to determine and maintain a desired humidity level for best results. This will prevent creating too much moisture in the air, which can develop a different set of problems.
  • A constant humidity level in your house 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 indoor air—which means less likelihood of health problems, like having that dreaded winter cold.

While there might not be a vitamin C supplement to keep your doors healthy, these basic steps are virtually as good when it comes to making sure your home’s doors stay in top condition for as long as possible. Is it time to give your home an updated look in your doorway? Are you planning for a door that can better defend against years of weather extremes? Contact the professionals at Pella of Ketchum to find the perfect fit for your home.

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