As a homeowner, the honey-do list of improvements seems endless. With so much on your home project plate, it can be hard to see the line between what is mildly irritating and what truly needs to be replaced. As with many house maintenance tasks, small issues generally lead to bigger, more detrimental ones.
When it comes to your doors, knowing when to update can be especially confusing because there is no exact lifespan. The material, age, and installation of the door all play a role in how long it will last. To help determine when it’s time to take the plunge and replace your door, read through these five telltale signs.
Sign #1: You can feel a draft.
Older doors are much more likely to allow drafts and leaks to creep in and out of your home — and that’s not worth any amount of vintage charm. This can be a little tricky to identify because the door may look perfectly fine, and all the while your (expensive!) air conditioning could be leaking out around the edges and wasting energy. Try standing in front of the door (on the inside) and running a hand a few inches away from where the frame meets the door. If you feel a change in temperature or see a gap, it’s time for a replacement. Another indication of a too-large gap is light creeping in. In some cases, new insulation will resolve the issue, so be sure to check that first. Beyond that, a new, better insulated door will keep your air flow in check and maybe even shave a few dollars off your monthly energy bill.
RELATED READ: 6 Easy Ways to Increase Energy Efficiency in Your Home
Sign #2: You can visibly see warping or cracked paint.
Sometimes door damage isn’t subtle at all. Harsh weather — and especially extreme temperature swings and exposure to moisture — can cause significant warping or cracking in a door. If a door gets to the point of visible damage, it’s not only susceptible to air leaks and bugs (eek!), but could also be structurally unsound. Unfortunately, a warped door cannot be mended and will eventually crack and rot. Do yourself a favor and replace the door before it gets to the point of creepy-crawlies coming in.
Sign #3: Opening and closing has become a chore.
This is one of the most clear-cut signs that a door is on its last leg. If you have to give the ol’ heave-ho to your door with each opening, it may be time to install a new one. A door that’s difficult to open and close is usually due to aging, although it might also be from an improper installation. General squeaking and sticking can be irritating and worsen over time, but it’s not always a clear sign that it’s time for an update. Try oiling the hinges first. If the door is still a (loud) struggle to open after that, then you know it’s time for a new one.
Sign #4: The floor shows the signs.
Consider scrape marks on your wood floors a red flag that it’s time to update your door. This is yet another sign of warping and weather damage, and is most common in older homes. However, a poor installation job could also be the culprit. Either way, a new door is the way forward.
Sign #5: You don’t feel safe.
Doors are functional first and foremost, and you should feel safe and secure behind yours. If your door feels like it could be easily broken into, it’s time to upgrade. Older doors usually come with older locks — and that can be a real concern when it comes to keeping intruders out. Do you feel like your door is OK, but the lock is in poor shape? You might be able to extend the life of your door by simply updating the hardware. Bear in mind that door locks are not designed to last the entire lifetime of the actual door, and that you can easily add a new multi-point lock, or even a keypad lever or deadbolt.
RELATED READ: 6 Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Locks
Does your door check one or more of these boxes? Time to update. Find a fit for your home now!