How Does the Weather Affect Your Windows and Doors?

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Living in Canada, one quickly becomes accustomed to dealing with the elements. Whether you're on the East or West Coast or somewhere between, we all enjoy multiple seasons per month and six separate winters per year. We’re all used to layering in the winter, shedding layers in summer, and having two sets of tires per vehicle, skates, skis, and tents.

We're all intimately aware of what a shift in the weather means for our bodies, but ignore what it means for our homes. Doors and window frames shrink and condensate in the cold weather and expand with the heat and humidity multiple times a year. Not having sufficient weatherproofing may be costly financially, but it can also and will affect your health!

At extreme temperatures, window and door fittings will condense and warp, sometimes leading glass to crack or shatter in severe cases. Conversely, the summer heat and humidity will cause fittings to expand, warp, and erode structural integrity leading to replacement. In fittings not adequately sealed, excess moisture will build up, and rot creates an ideal mould environment.

With all that can happen to windows, doors, and their mechanical fixtures in cold weather, it is essential to recognize and understand the effects of weather on your windows and doors.

Condensation

Condensation can occur when warm, humid air cannot escape through windows and can signify that windows have been appropriately fitted with energy-efficient seals. Reducing this type of condensation is relatively simple, and can be managed in a few ways: through a dehumidifier, opening the window for a time, or running the exhaust fans in your bathroom or kitchen. The condensation to be wary of, however, is between the panes of double or triple-paned windows. Condensation of that sort indicates a leak and is the first among a list of issues that will occur if not repaired quickly.

Drafts

Drafts typically occur with older or poorly fitted windows or doors. Gaps and erosion in weather seals allow cold air from the outdoors into your home. In addition to forcing heaters to be on longer, driving up energy bills, drafts left unchecked will continue to damage window and door fittings over time, leading to stronger, colder drafts.

Hardware Failure and Ice Formation

Windows and doors all have latches, handles, or another mechanism to open, close, and lock fixtures as desired. These can all freeze in cold weather and jam; rather than forcing fixtures open, trying to warm mechanisms before use will help protect them from breakage. Exposed fixtures, such as awnings, are particularly susceptible due to being more exposed and often having more complex mechanisms. Similarly, ice can form in the tracks windows use when sliding open or closed, damaging the weather stripping in between and leading to drafts if left unchecked. Replacing window weather stripping regularly is the best way to protect against issues and weatherproofing windows. Using all-weather windows in harsher climates will also help protect fixtures.

Bowing, Warping and Shrinking

No matter what it’s called, these terms all mean the same thing: your doors and windows don't fit their frames. Unlike drafts, condensation, and ice formation, this change in shape can happen any time of year. Frame integrity, especially in structures made of wood, will tighten and condense in cold weather, expand and swell in warm weather, and absorb moisture, causing them to soften and degrade. This acute change of shape will allow for drafts and have to force poorly fitting doors in warm weather in some cases, causing the entire fixture to require replacement. The best way to prevent this is to ensure that all fixtures, especially wood frames, have the proper weather seals.

The best way to protect against weather damage on your home is to be aware of the signs and take action when you do – and Canadian Choice Windows & Doors is here to help! We manufacture, install, and service energy efficient fixtures across Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Ontario. Reach out to a member of our team today.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the weather affect doors?

Doors can be affected by multiple types of weather. Colder weather will cause wooden doors to condense and shrink, creating space for cold air through gaps not covered with replacement window weather stripping. Warmer, humid weather will cause wood to swell, making it more difficult to open and close doors, causing friction damage over time to the door and frame and premature wear and tear on fixtures and locks.

What happens to windows in cold weather?

In cold weather, warm air inside a home will condensate on windows reacting to the freezing temperatures on the other side. If not dealt with, condensation can pool, erode weather seals and, in some cases, create a habitat for mould to flourish. Weatherstripping also breaks down over time as windows are opened and closed, allowing ice to build up in the gaps of worn and torn stripping, exacerbating the damage. The best way to prevent both scenarios is to replace window weatherstripping every few years.

Can cold weather cause windows to crack?

YES! Extreme cold can cause the glass to warp and crack, especially if ice is allowed to form on them. Multipaned, all-weather, and cold weather windows are all designed with colder temperatures in mind and are the best options for extreme cold weather.

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