Game of Thrones may be gone from our screens. But even as we enjoy the sun-drenched transition from summer to autumn, we need to remember that ‘winter is coming’! The motto of the fictional House Stark serves as a stark warning to homeowners of the very real need to get their properties ready for winter. Your home keeps you safe, warm and dry during the worst of the cold season. But your external doors are potential points of vulnerability. Unless you take active steps to keep out the cold and wet, it can creep into your home. What’s more, you could be losing heat: the warm air you’re paying for can seep out, driving up your energy bills during the winter months.
As with most things, a little preparation goes a long way. While the last remnants of the summer are still with us, now’s the perfect time to start getting your exterior doors ready for winter weather. Here we’ll look at some ways to fortify your door against the cold weather, and ensure that your house stays toasty and warm throughout the winter months.
Check glazed panels for leaks or damage
Your external doors are vulnerable to damage, cracks and leaks in a number of places. One of the most common of these is your glazing if you have patio doors or a front door or back door with windows. Over time, the sealant or caulk where the glass meets the door can deteriorate. This means that it can let cold air or even rainwater into your home. What’s more, this can give rise to unsightly mould and mildew over time.
If you notice moisture ingress on the inside of your external doors, or clouding of your windows, this indicates that the seal around the door has failed. You may want to consider replacing your door before winter sets in. Alternatively, you may be able to re-seal the window with a caulking gun. You may need to remove the frame around your glazing before doing this.
Remove the sealant around your window. Scrape away any damaged or crumbling sealant with a knife or spatula. Next, apply the new caulk evenly all around the window where it meets the door.
Apply weatherstrips to your door frame
When your external doors don’t make proper contact with the frame, this can also be a cause of draughts and even moisture leaks. As the seasons pass, temperature and humidity can affect the moisture content within the wood, and the timber can expand and contract if it has not been properly treated. This may result in tiny gaps that were not present when the door was installed. These may be barely visible, but they can still admit cold air into your house in winter.
Fortunately, weatherstripping is an easy and budget-friendly solution to this. Weatherstrips are little rolls of foam rubbery material. They are designed to be both malleable and highly thermally-efficient. Weatherstrips are usually self-adhesive, so they can be applied to your door frame and cut to size easily. Once applied, they do an excellent job of creating a tight seal around your external doors that repels draughts and keeps warm air in your home where it belongs.
Use rope caulk to seal tiny cracks and gaps
If you hear howling winds through your external doors, this could be a troubling sign. This usually means that there are tiny cracks and gaps in your door through which the wind is escaping. This bodes ill for the winter weather. Fortunately, there’s a way to address this issue that even a DIY novice can attempt.
Caulking rope, available at most DIY shops, is a putty-like sealant material that’s sold in a rope-like shape. It can be applied easily to cracks and gaps, ensuring that no chilly draughts are allowed to seep through. What’s more, when winter is over and spring awakens, rope caulk is easy to remove.
Install a draught excluder
Sometimes, the simplest solutions are the best! The undersides of your external doors are a common place for cold air to creep in, and for warm air to seep out. So, if you don’t have the energy for heavy DIY, simply place a draught excluder under your external doors. These strips have a metal or plastic fixing plate that can be easily attached to your doors with screws or adhesive. They use either bristles or a strip of rubber to trap cold air outside. They can be cut to size with ease, ensuring a perfectly snug and thermally efficient fit.
Don’t forget your letterbox!
A draught excluder doesn’t just work wonders for the underside of your external doors. You should also apply one to your letterbox. These are easy to install on the inside of your external doors. A metal frame encompasses your letterbox with bristles covering both sides allowing enough of a cap for letters and packages to be slid through.
In times of heavy snowfall, use the snow to your advantage
If you live in a rural area, you may be particularly vulnerable to snow in the winter months. But did you know that you can actually use the snow to your advantage? The next time a blizzard blows, think of it as a blessing in disguise! Once the snow starts to stick, some people pad their doors or the sidings of their homes with snowbanks. Snow is a surprisingly effective insulator, and this layer of ‘snowsulation’ can help you to keep chill winds at bay and seal in warmth.
Of course, if you wish to pad your front door in this way, you’ll need to use the back door to get in and out of your house.
Upgrade your door hardware
If you want to give your door an upgrade, but don’t have the budget to replace it, you may want to consider upgrading or adding to your external doors’ hardware instead.
For instance, a door threshold can be a great way to prevent rain from seeping into your home. This looks much like a draught excluder, except it has a solid metal or plastic construction rather than using a rubber strip or bristles.
Other door accessories like doorknobs, locksets, latches or hinges can also be a gateway for cold air in winter if worn or incorrectly fitted. Replacing these (or at least replacing broken screws or damaged connections) can help to ensure that your doors are winter ready.
Is it time to replace your external doors?
We’ve looked at lots of ways to revitalise your external doors and get them ready for winter. But how do you know if it’s time to give up the ghost and replace your external doors? If you notice any of the following, it may be more effective and cost-efficient to get new doors:
- Difficulty opening or closing the door
- Black mould and mildew collecting in the corners of your glazing
- Soft spots in the wood
- Your energy bills getting higher in the winter, even if you take the precautions above
Get your house winter ready with Vibrant Doors!
A new external door from Vibrant Doors can help your home to stay warmer and cosier during the colder months. We stock a wide range of external doors including bifolding and external French doors from the UK’s most trusted brands. If it’s time for a door upgrade, why accept less than the best? Take a look at our huge range of hardwood, oak, redwood, hemlock and composite doors. You’re sure to find something that not only beautifully complements the look of your home, but ensures thermal efficiency in winter.