Buying and installing a front door can be a hefty investment so knowing if you’re in need of a new front door can be essential. So how do you know it is time to upgrade to a new door? Here are some signs to look out for:
- The Door is Hard to Open or Close:
If your door is difficult to open and close, it may be time to replace it. When you feel your door sticking in the winter and easy to open and close in the summer, that’s a sure sign of energy rushing out your door. If the hinges are sinking, that’s another issue. But if it’s sticking into the door jam, your door probably has exposed areas either down the sides or top or bottom where you can see light.
Seeing light from the inside or outside without the door being open is a problem. If you take a lighter a couple inches around those edges, pay attention to what the flame does. It will try to move right outside the door. This indicates leaking air.
- The Door has Noticeable Dings & Rust:
Dings and rust on a door show that thestructural integrity of the door may be compromised. Most residential doors off the shelf at a home depot or lowes are laminated 24-26 gauge steel on top of a wood frame. This is not a very structurally sound door. These doors barely qualify as residential doors. Think about it like this- you just pull up to your home after spending two hours at the grocery store.
After you put your car in park you pop the trunk ready to bring in your groceries. How many trips do you want to take back and forth to your car? Well if your’e like me, you have 5 bags going up each arm and both hands full of about 4 other bags. When you get to the door you give it a little kick to open for the end of your grocery crusade and you notice, you just put a big ugly dent in your front door.
Does something that dents that easily seem fit to protect your home from someone who really wants to kick it in? If that same door is rusted, you better believe that the moisture isn’t coming from just the exterior but maybe getting into the interior wood frame as well. Energy efficiency aside, I wouldn’t trust something like that to keep my home and my loved ones safe.
- The Door is Weathered, Warn, or Cracked:
Doors can take a beating over their lifetime. They’re slammed, kicked, and exposed to huge tempter changes. If you have an old solid wood door, it has probably seen better days. Many of these doors have expanded and contracted over so many winters and summers that they have cracks, are warped, and are extremely weathered.
When you inspect your old wooden door, treat it like a door that is difficult to open. Look for light coming into the room from the “solid” wood door. Many of these doors have stress fractures in the grains of the door. These stress fractures expose the outside elements to the inside of your home or vice-versa.
- Feeling Air Leaking Around the Door:
If you find yourself shoving a towel around your door during the cold months, then you get a B for effort. You can rest easy knowing at least you’ve identified the problem. But there is a better way to help to keep that energy inside of your home. You do not have to replace the entire door and you don’t have to ruin your monogrammed wedding towels that you received from your Aunt in New York. Many doors these days have a spring-loaded threshold. Check if there are screws at the surface of your threshold. If there are 3 or 4 screws along the surface of your threshold, you maybe able to rise it up to your weatherstripping on your door to help solve the problem.
If you cant raise it and/or you raise the threshold, but the weather stripping is just too old and worn out, you can replace that too. I recommend buying whats called a triple fan sweep for your weather stripping.
You can buy new weather stripping at most hardware stores and installation takes no more than 10 minutes. Replacing that weather stripping will save your money, add to your home’s comfort and save those beautiful towels that you loved enough to stuff at the front of a door.
- Have had a Water or Pest Damage in the Past:
If you have water damage, you know that thewood has to be replaced. Most people with this problem know that if the wood is breaking apart and soft, its not secure enough to support the door structure or to keep your home safe. Obviously, you must replace your entry door if this is a problem you’ve had. The same thing applies with insect damage.
If your exterminator told you that about 50% of the wood’s structure is compromised, your R-Value (energy efficiency through solid objects) has been significantly diminished. Not only is your home easier to break into, but you’re also inviting more pathways for water or insects to future damage your entryway and you are wasting your heating and cooling. Loss of R-Value is significant when it comes to a door because that is your thermal barrier (unless your door is made entirely of glass). Replacement is a must in this situation.
- Finding Moisture Between the Glass Panes:
Just like new windows, a lot of doors with glass packages havedouble-paned glass. Over time with older doors, the seal between those two panes will fail to lead to moisture, mildew and/or mold between the panes of glass. This is a scary thing to see in a door. With windows, some people let it go longer than they should because their windows are made of inorganic materials which makes it easier to prolong the amount of time needed to replace the window because there is no fear of mold or mildew spreading to the rest of the home.
When it comes to your front door, the urgency to replace must be much quicker. Until the past 10 years, all residential doors have had a wood core or frame. If you have seal failure between your door’s glass panes, the mold/mildew are surrounded by organic material. Especially if your entryway is shaded or doesn’t receive much direct sunlight, this can be a huge problem. The last thing any homeowner wants to hear is mold remediation. Just like the windows in your home, when you have a door with moisture between the panes of glass, it’s time to replace it.
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