Last month we looked at ten ways to secure a home during the winter. One key area we looked at was doors, which as we said should form the best form of defence possible because they are the very things that stand between you and the outside world.

Checking the condition of doors on a regular basis throughout the year is vital for both home and commercial premises owners, as is introducing reinforcement where necessary. However, during the winter, certain things happen to doors, and it therefore becomes doubly important to carry out thorough maintenance and additional checks at this time of the year.

Here we take a look at how doors can be affected during the colder weather, and what can be done to counteract the common issues that arise.

Door Swelling and Contracting

External doors and frames, and windows too, are susceptible to swelling when exposed to heat. If you’ve ever noticed difficulties in opening or closing your doors as the weather gets warmer or the sun starts to shine directly onto them, you’ll know the problem. By the same token, as temperatures recede again, so doors will contract back down. In lower temperatures this contracting will cause the doors to swell, leading to moisture absorption. This is likely to result in issues not just for the doors themselves, but for the components that make them work.

Swollen doors will more often than not cause door closer arms to bend, and door locks can end up moving out of line and jamming. All these issues make it difficult to open the door, plus if the door won’t meet with the frame and latch onto it, then locking is going to be a major problem. What’s more, if the door is a fire door, then it could be rendered non-compliant due to not being able to latch.

In a commercial setting, a regular maintenance programme should be part and parcel of the security set-up and at home, regular checks should be made to ensure doors are not posing a security threat. There are initiatives that can be undertaken in order to circumvent some of the most common weather related problems associated with doors. These include fitting cast iron door closers with all-weather fluid for year-round stability, and the use of latchbolt monitor switches which detect when doors are not correctly latched and send a signal to a monitoring station so that action can be taken.

Changes in Air Pressure

In the winter, we do of course keep all the doors and windows shut so as to keep out the cold. This means that no air can enter the building. This change in air pressure causes door closers to operate incorrectly. Either they shut too quickly, or they fail to latch. It can also lead to doors being tricky to open too.

The solution is to fit door closers with a swing-free or free-swing mechanism. These make the doors easier to open. Door closers with adjustable force and back check functions are also a good idea, especially where it is necessary to prevent doors being flung open and potentially damaged as the pressure changes.

Mistakes to Avoid

It can be tempting to spray door closers and locks with antifreeze during the winter, in the hope it will stop them freezing. However, this is certainly NOT something you should be doing. The chemicals in antifreeze are not tested on door hardware which means potentially, they could corrode it. Instead, think prevention rather than cure and take steps to prevent moisture sticking to door hardware. Such steps cold include applying a water repellent spray for example.

Further Advice

You can read more about maintaining door closers through the winter in our previous post on the subject. For tailored advice on security measures at any time of the year, contact Barry Bros Security. You can also visit us in person at our London showroom where there is plenty of expertise on hand to tap into. Site visits are offered for commercial customers.