Here at Window and Door Showplace, we get a lot of questions about caring for windows and doors, especially during the cold and rainy seasons. There's a good reason for it. Drastic temperature changes and wet weather combined with associated activities can cause annoying changes, changes that can damage doors and windows quickly, and even damage them suddenly.
Some of the most common questions we get are, “Can windows break from cold weather?” and “How can I keep my house doors from freezing shut?”
These may seem like simple concerns, but when you're just trying to get your daily chores done and the front door is frozen shut, it can seem like Game Over! The good news is, it isn't “game over.” There are ways to deal with and prevent these and other winter door and window problems while helping to ensure your doors and windows remain in good condition and look good at the same time.
For a start, the answer to the first question we mentioned is, “Yes, glass can break in the winter.” If a pane of glass is very cold or frozen, it will be unlikely to break, but easier to break than normal. Second, you can keep your front door from freezing shut by keeping your home at the proper temperature and by making sure it is properly insulated. Now, let's cover 7 common window, door, and glass problems we hear about each year.
Upper Corner Binding
One of the commonest winter door problems is when the upper corner binds, loses its fitment, and sticks. If your door sticks in winter, this can be caused by moisture causing the wood frame or door to swell, shrink, or otherwise lose its fit. This can be fixed by replacing old screws with new ones. In some cases, the jam may need to be planed, and in yet other cases you might need to replace the door.
Condensation & Leaky Windows
Older windows are prone to these kinds of window issues, but with modern vinyl windows, this is largely a thing of the past. Even with modern windows, caulking and seals can wear out, allowing moisture to work its way in. The good news is that this early sign is very visible and lets you know when your windows should be repaired or replaced. Once again, modern vinyl is stronger, doesn't warp as much, and forms a much more reliable seal.
The Door Won't Close or Latch
Many people ask, “Does wood shrink in cold?” Well, it can, but it can also expand. Exterior doors that stay open or won't latch can be a major problem. Drafty doors and other door problems can cost you as much as 11% of your interior heat. Sometimes, replacing old screws is all you need to do to bring your door back into proper aliment. Partially disassembling the frame and adding shims may be necessary to resize an older door. But most of the time a new installation is the better and more lasting option.
Latch Misses Striker Plate
In climates where the difference between summer and winter temperatures is drastic, doors and windows can shift dramatically. Sometimes the striker plate might seem to mysteriously move up or down. Usually, you will only need to tighten screws in the plate and the door hinges. If the frame of the doorway is badly warped, some shimming may be necessary.
Paint Fades in Harsh Weather
It's quite common for extremes of temperature to cause a door or window frame to fade. More often than not, all that's needed is a fresh coat of paint. If your paint is older, there's a good chance that modern paints will be much higher quality, longer-lasting, and more protective. There are other treatments for different types of materials. You should ask a professional what's the best protective coating for your door type.
Eroding Weather Stripping
Weatherstripping must endure the extremes of temperatures and it is deformed every time you open and close windows and doors. This simply means that it is a worn item that should be replaced every few years. This can be easily done with a simple kit, a razor knife, and the right kind of caulking. Modern weather strips might be of superior quality, and investing in the best weather strips available is a good idea. It will save you money.
A squeaky door can be annoying. It can also be a nice security feature if the noise doesn't bother you too much. But if you want to fix the squeak, a little bit of WD-40 on the hinges will usually do the job. If that doesn't cut it, you might need to tighten or replace some of the wood screws. Otherwise, some shim work may be called for.
Most of these problems can be averted easily with preventative measures, or by installing the latest materials, insulation, or a modern window. To learn more, get in touch with the window, glass, and door experts here at the Window and Door Showplace. Our team is eager to answer all of your questions.