We all learned in primary school how heat causes things to swell and cold causes them to contract. And if you’ve ever dealt with an exterior door made of wood, or even the interior ones as well, you’ve likely noticed that certain times of the year it’s a PITA to get those doors to latch and lock correctly. That’s because wood breathes. It changes with temperature, humidity and pressure. And when you’re working with a wood door on the outside of a building, one side of the door (exterior) experiences a completely different environment than the other side of the door (interior). This can lead to a host of debilitating problems for your business.This can include the locks not working correctly, the finish becoming damaged, the door frame also changing and failing to align with the strike plate, etc. This can cause your storefront doors to become a security risk and potentially near unusable for customers and employees as well.

 

And this post isn’t just for people dealing with exterior wood doors. Metal entryway doors like steel and aluminum, as well as their frames, also change with the weather. Most metals have a pretty big thermal expansion coefficient – they can swell so much they barely fit in the frame. This can cause damage, look unpleasant for a commercial door, or even just interfere with your business. Doors that won’t latch and lock correctly are a security risk for your business. It doesn’t stop at the door and the frame – seasonal changes affect door hardware as well.

 

Temperature Changes can Mess with the Hardware on your Commercial Doors

 

Cold weather affects the locks on your security doors and storefront doors alike, and if you’re not ready for it, you might find yourself locked out of your own facility on a really chilly day. A wood door can actually contract around a deadbolt, intruding on its ability to go in and out. Humid cold can cause moisture to build up inside a lock and freeze, making it hard to get your key all the way in there, and for the locking mechanism to move correctly. Cold, wet weather is also going to take a toll on hinges, strike plates, kick plates and the like, because each piece of hardware on the door will react a bit differently to the environment. When every piece changes just a little bit, and not all in the same way, you can end up with a loose lock, a door that won’t latch, a door you can’t shove closed because of a contracted frame, etc. None of which is desirable for your business’ doors.

 

Hot weather causes everything about your storefront doors to expand. With both metal and wood exterior doors, the door can expand so much it rubs on the door frame, causing the lock or door to seem like it’s jammed. It’s annoying more than anything. Also – little-known fact – keys are also affected by hot weather. If left somewhere really warm too long, like a car, a key can distort and not fit the lock anymore. While you may be patient with your storefront door, your customers and employees may not. It’s easy to break a key or be so forceful with the door that you can break glass. It’s best to be aware of these issues to prevent or mitigate potential damage to your external doors.

 

Okay, so, weather sucks and you should be ready for seasonal issues with your business’ storefront doors, security doors, loading dock doors – every door. Just be ready. But it’s not all bad; there are several maintenance tasks for your business’ doors you can do throughout the year to minimize these inconveniences.

 

Maintaining your Business’ Commercial Door Hardware

 

First, if you’re tired of dealing with a warping door that constantly changes shape and makes your life inconvenient, consider installing an exterior fiberglass door in its place. Fiberglass doors don’t warp, and they can’t be damaged by water or humidity. But if you’re less inclined to invest in a new door installation, you could have a locksmith come and change the locks to ones that fit the door’s “new” shape better. And, as always, regularly inspect your business’ doors and their hardware, including cleaning them and oiling the hinges and locks regularly. Well-oiled hinges, knobs and locks will work better, even in extreme temperature changes. By taking these proactive steps, you can minimize the impact of weather-related issues on your business and keep your storefront running smoothly. Your storefront’s doors are your first impression to your clients. Maintaining them through weather conditions will play a key role in a positive first impression and smooth running for your employees.