How to Increase the Energy Efficiency of Your Wooden Doors
Energy efficiency is on everyone’s mind as of late due to several hot topic issues. Whether you’re trying to conserve energy for “green” purposes, to save money in today’s economy, or a mixture of those things along with other issues, you’re likely looking for ways to cut back on your energy consumption.
Typically, people start thinking of buying fancy appliances and various other things that will help in the long run, but did you know there are several things you can do to your wooden doors to help cut back on energy consumption?
Yes, something as simple as your door choice and a few extra tweaks can make something your home already needs into a major boost to your home’s energy efficiency.
Today, we’ll go over why that is and what you can do to add this amazing feature to your home.
How Do Your Doors Help with Energy Efficiency?
When you think of your home’s energy efficiency, you probably don’t think of your doors. Most people tend to forget about their doors beyond their obvious use for securing entryways. However, the same basic concepts that apply to your windows, walls, and roof all apply to your home’s doors.
Even if you have had the latest energy-efficient technology installed in every other part of your home, doors that are neglected can be outlets for all your temperature-controlled air.
This can be due to gaps in the seal when it’s closed, damage that has occurred, or even the material the door is made of.
Either way, those things can mitigate the impact of all the other “green” technology you’ve installed, because the door ends up functioning as a weak spot in a much larger intricate system. This results in your temperature-control appliances working harder, consuming more energy, and your bill rising.
However, when you take that into account and actively work to make your door more energy efficient, that’s not an issue.
Start with the Right Door Purchase
Before we get into a list of things you can do to make your doors more energy efficient, we need to cover one major factor that will play into the rest of this guide.
The type of door you buy in the first place matters.
If you have steel doors, composite doors, or any of the other types of door products on the market, there usually isn’t much you can do, and you can expect energy efficiency problems regardless.
It’s important that, when purchasing a door for your home, you start with a high-quality real wood door made from solid hardwood.
This is thanks to hardwood’s unique natural properties. If a hardwood door is made well, it will naturally be fairly energy efficient on its own. There are still things you’ll need to do to maintain that or improve it, but it’s a lot better than a steel door.
When you’re buying a new door, save yourself money in the long run, and purchase a high-quality hardwood door to avoid many of the energy efficiency problems a lot of people struggle with.
The rest of the tips we offer will assume that you have a hardwood door or are planning to replace a low-quality door with one.
Tips and Tricks for Improving a Hardwood Doors Energy Efficiency
Tere is a comprehensive list of all the things you can do to make your hardwood door more energy efficient to cut back on energy consumption, lower your energy bills, and experience a better climate-controlled home.
1: Make Sure the Door is Installed Properly
The first tip is an easy one. You want to make sure that your door is installed properly. Of course, if you hire a professional team to handle the installation, you SHOULDN’T have to worry about this problem. However, if you install it yourself, you might end up finding a mistake or two with a quick review of your work. Either way, it’s important to look over the way the door was installed.
Look to make sure that it was aligned properly when the hinge holes were drilled and bolted, that it was the proper size for the doorway, and that there aren’t any glaring mistakes that might cause tiny gaps or other issues.
Even if you’re not worried about energy consumption, you should do this just to make sure the door is installed right. An improperly installed door might warp or damage easier in the long run.
2: Seal Gaps with Energy-Efficient Materials
All exterior doors require seals around them. If those aren’t present, your door is going to let all your heating and cooling out, and you’re going to notice when the electric bill comes in.
If you just bought a house, these seals should already be installed. They’re typically made of sheet metal, rubber, or silicone.
Obviously, if you’re trying to make an energy-efficient doorway, you don’t want a simple metal strip that just blocks air. Those are prone to get bent slightly and create drafts, and the material itself isn’t a great insulator.
Instead, we recommend switching to rubber strips or silicone sealant. Silicone sealant is easy to find and apply, and it doesn’t cost much at all.
To install a silicone seal, you just use the dispensing device that it’s sold in to “draw” lines around your door as you pump the dispenser. You have to be careful not to create strange lines or leave areas too thick or thin, but it’s a fairly easy process, and you’ll find plenty of instructional videos online to help you get the job done right the first time.
This takes care of sealing up the area around the door, and it will help resolve quite a bit of the energy problems most people experience with their doorways, but it’s not enough to just do this if you want to maximize your energy efficiency.
3: Apply the Right Finish
Standard hardwood doors do a fairly good job of insulating your home assuming the edges where they meet with the doorframe are sealed properly. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t be improved.
There aren’t too many ways you can improve the insulation qualities of the door itself once it’s made; especially at home and without any fancy materials.
However, you do have one big option at your disposal. You can use a finish.
Not all finishes will improve your door’s insulation characteristics, but many of them will.
Acrylic paint finishes are somewhat useful and incredibly easy to get ahold of, but you will be better served by waxed-based and enamel coatings in terms of insulation.
This is because, like the silicone or rubber seals around your door, these coatings make it practically impenetrable. It takes a lot longer for the temperature outside to conduct or radiate and damage your home’s energy efficiency rating.
4: Prevent Warping
One way to decrease your door’s energy efficiency incredibly quickly is to allow it to warp.
Warping is when a door twists and contorts. It’s typically caused by the door absorbing moisture in the air and then drying out slowly.
Now, this typically isn’t a problem that is very noticeable. The door doesn’t tend to twist so much that you can visually see the warp. However, it is enough to make slight gaps along the edge of the door that allows air in and out.
Having the right seals, such as rubber or silicone seals, can help prevent this from being an issue since they can expand slightly and cover up the tiniest warp-based leaks. However, even that will fail if the warp gets even a millimeter or two larger than what the seal can cover up.
The best way to prevent warping is to take care of your door properly. This includes keeping the door finished, not allowing it to stay wet and absorb water, and regularly checking it to see if it needs to be replaced.
Once the door is warped, you’re not going to be able to do much about it. So, prevention is the main solution to this problem.
Good finishes for this purpose tend to be ones that prevent moisture in the air from entering the wood of the door. Some oil finishes are great, but they need to be reapplied more frequently to ensure they’re reflecting water, and enamels and glosses can be used for a more maintenance-free solution.
Just make sure that you repair any finish problems that occur, or the unfinished areas can allow moisture to enter and become trapped.
If your door does become too warped, it’s time to consider a replacement. This typically doesn’t happen until long after the door’s expected lifespan if you take care of it. So, it’s likely time for a new door, anyway.
5: Check and Maintain Hardware
This typically isn’t an issue, but it can become one after a lot of abuse or age. Hardware, such as the hinges and screws that hold your door in place and allow it to function, can work its way loose. That, and can also be installed improperly in the first place.
The type of hardware you have doesn’t have an impact on how energy efficient your doorway is, but if it fails and becomes skewed or otherwise out of place, it can create gaps. Like everything else on this list, that can create energy efficiency problems.
Luckily, this is an easy fix. Just take a look at the hardware on your door once a year or any time you’re curious. You should easily be able to tell if it has shifted from its original position due to the cutout being obvious or color differences from the paint being covered for so long.
If the hardware is out of place, thus potentially misaligning your door in its frame, just go ahead, readjust it, and tighten it back down.
Again, this shouldn’t happen for a very long time, but it is possible. Eventually, after decades of abuse and age, wood framing might need to be replaced because it has lost its integrity.
6: Repair Flooring Cracks at the Base of the Door
This is a common problem in very old houses. Under your carpeting or hardwood, there is concrete. That concrete can begin to crack and crumble away over time. This is a big problem you need to fix asap for a couple of reasons.
First, it can be a major foundation problem. That can end up being the most costly home repair you’ll ever have to deal with.
However, it’s not always such a big ordeal. You and every other person who enters your home walk over that edge of concrete every single day, and even if you don’t have substantial foundation problems, the edge of that portion of concrete can chip away with time.
If that happens, it can create leaks underneath your door, and it won’t matter how great your door is; you’ll still have to deal with energy consumption issues.
This is most apparent if you have exposed flooring around your doorway because you’ll physically see the damage. However, you might need to look for exterior signs such as crumbled concrete beneath your door if you have carpet.
As long as it’s just an issue brought on by daily foot traffic, you can repair this with QuickCrete and start implementing the other tips we’ve listed.
7: Consider a Cored Door
A solid wood door is an amazing option. However, if you do want just a bit more performance out of your door, you can opt for a hardwood door with a “core”. This is a material filling an otherwise hollow center in the door, and it can be made from almost anything. If the material has excellent insulation characteristics, it might be worth considering.
Get Your New Hardwood Door Today for Better Energy Efficiency
Of course, all of these tips are only valid for wooden doors. If you need a new, custom wood door to enjoy better energy efficiency, browse the selection at Realwood Crafters.