How to Weatherstrip Doors- DIY Weatherization Solutions from Green Dream Group
How to Weatherproof a Door
Doors are frequently a source of drafts in your home, which can end up costing you big bucks in heating and cooling bills. Even if you’re not particularly handy, there are some quick and easy fixes you can do, like installing an adhesive weatherproofing strip or a draft-fighting door sweep. For a more permanent fix, you can install tension strips or an integral door sweep to improve insulation.
Doing Quick and Easy Fixes
Use adhesive weatherproofing strips.Before using adhesive weatherproofing products, thoroughly clean the area according to the directions on the weatherstrips. Once the area is dry, remove the backing of the adhesive strips a little at a time as you press them into place on the door jambs and along the edges of the doorframe.
- Modern doors are usually designed with grooves along the sides and jambs that weatherstripping can be inserted into.
- Sometimes it can be difficult to apply an adhesive strip by yourself. Asking a friend to help you out can make this process quicker and easier.
- Depending on the fit of your door, you may not be able to attach adhesive strips along every edge of the door. If a strip prevents the door from closing properly, it should be removed.
- Adhesive strips are usually sold in different widths and thicknesses, which will allow you to choose the best size for the gaps along the edges of your individual door. Measure gaps with a tape measure or ruler.
Install door insulating felt.One of the benefits of this kind of felt is you can trust it to last for at least a year or two even though it’s relatively inexpensive. Cut the felt into strips long enough to stretch along each edge of the door, then use nails or staples to fasten it around the edges.
- The felt should be thick enough that it compresses when the door closes, but it should not interfere with the closing of the door.
- Normal carpentry staples should work for attaching felt to your door, but for improved durability, you may want to use heavy-duty ones.
- When you replace insulating felt, you'll have to take out the staples before reattaching the new piece. This can create unsightly holes where the felt was installed.
Add a weatherproofing door sweep.Unattached door sweeps slide underneath the gap at the bottom of your door, closing it off at either side with where the sweep thickens. Open your door, and at the center of the sweep (where it thins like a trough) insert the sweep under the door.
- On newer doors, there is usually a groove in the bottom of the door for inserting a sweep.
- Some unattached door sweeps can get bunched up and make it difficult to open or close your door. In these cases, use masking tape to hold the sweep in place.
- Some door finishes may be damaged by tape. If you decide to use tape to hold your sweep in place, attach the tape to an out-of-sight part of the door.
- Use a threshold adapter to close any gap between the bottom of the sweep and the threshold.
Cover door windows with insulating plastic film.Door windows can also contribute a great deal to draftiness. Apply two layers of double-sided tape side-by-side around the window frame. After about 15 minutes, peel off the backing of the tape and then press the plastic film insulation into place.You can also purchase insulating plastic that already has an adhesive strip attached.
- You can improve the insulating power of this plastic by inserting a layer of bubble wrap in the space between the window and the film.
- Most kinds of plastic film insulation require at least an inch or two (2.5 to 5 cm) of film extending beyond all sides of the window.
- Depending on the brand of insulation, you may need to use a hair dryer to bond the film to the adhesive. Always follow the insulation’s instructions for the best results.
Weatherproof inside and out for improved efficiency.If you can apply a weatherproofing product on both sides of your door, in many cases this will double its efficiency. A second, outer layer of weatherproofing adhesive strips or insulating film can greatly reduce draftiness for relatively little effort.
Replace weatherproofing products as necessary.Over time, weatherproofing products will wear down and start to lose efficiency. At the start and end of every season, look over the weatherproofing materials used on your doors. Replace any that look old or deteriorated.
- If you notice cracking, discoloration, unnatural stiffness, looseness, or peeling, it’s probably time for you to replace the weatherproofing material.
Installing Tension Strips
Measure and mark the length for the strips.Your tension strips will need to be as long as the top and bottom of your door. In some situations, your door may only have space for a tension strip along the top or bottom. After measuring the door, mark the strip at the appropriate length.
Cut the strips and fold them if necessary.Use scissors to cut your tension strips at the mark(s) you’ve made. For V-seal tension strips, after cutting, you’ll need to fold the strip in half lengthwise, usually along some kind of a seam.
- Some tension strips are made from durable material, like heavy-duty plastic or metal. These kinds of strips may require tin snips to cut.
Fasten the strips into place.Tack-fastened tension strips should be pounded into place with a hammer at the top and/or bottom of the door. These can then be opened slightly with your fingers to make a tighter seal. V-seal weather strips often have an adhesive backing. For these strips, remove the backing and press the strips into place.
- Opening the V-seal will cause the strip to rise off the ground so it touches the bottom of the door when closed, improving the seal.
- Heavy-duty seals may be difficult to open with your hands. In situations like this, use pliers or a prying tool, like a sturdy screwdriver, to spread V-seals open.
Attaching a Door Sweep
Evaluate the gaps around the edges of your door.If your door was installed in its jamb snugly, you may need to purchase an especially thin sweep. The best way to ensure you buy the right sweep for your door is to measure the gaps with a tape measure.
- If you have a sweep already in place that isn’t doing the job, you may need to remove this first. In most cases, sweeps can be popped free with a prybar.
Attach bristle sweeps to the door bottom.Bristle sweeps usually fit easily underneath most doors. Certain bristle sweeps even have small wheels, which are ideal for uneven floors. Screw bristle sweeps into place along the bottom of your door with a screwdriver.
Use an integral sweep to seal large bottom gaps.Integral sweeps generally add a bit to the height of your door. Because of this, unless there is a large gap along the bottom, you’ll need to adjust the height of the door or remove some wood from its bottom. Screw in the integral sweep to the bottom edge of the door, and under door drafts should diminish, if not totally disappear.
- If you end up shaving wood off the bottom of your door to make room for an integral sweep, make sure you seal it to prevent it from weathering or rotting unevenly.
- Integral sweeps are also useful if you want the sweep to be less noticeable or if you want it to appear like the sweep is a natural part of the door.
- Most weatherproofing products are widely available at hardware stores and home centers.
- Before putting in weatherproofing, clean doors thoroughly with water and a mild detergent, like dish soap. This is especially important for adhesive products, which can lose strength when contaminated with dust.
- Follow the directions that came with your weatherproofing products for best results. Using these incorrectly could result in damage to your door or a poor seal.
Video: How to Weatherstrip an Exterior Door - This Old House
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