Heritage Restoration, Inc.

Closing the Door On Drafts- Weather Stripping Options

Any suggestions on how I can reduce the draft from my doors?

Doors are a particular problem because some are used every day and can allow a lot of air to pass through them. A 1/8-inch gap around a door is as big as a 3-inch hole in the wall. Here are some ways to do so:

Weather-stripping is designed to reduce air-flow by filling the gaps between the door and the frame, allowing the door to open/close and expand/contract. Most types of existing weather-stripping can be modified or replaced.

The key is knowing either who made the door or weather-stripping, or to know what exactly to look for on the Internet. But beware, some are designed to be temporary and some can create significant damaging to the frame and door. Here are some types:

Metal Interlocking is a great sturdy weather-stripping typically made of tin.

  • Effectiveness: Excellent
  • Skill required to install: Professional level
  • Longevity: Several Lifetimes

V-Strip is fairly durable. They can be metal (bronze, aluminum, copper and steel) or vinyl and polypropylene.

  • Effectiveness: Good
  • Skill: DIY to Professional
  • Longevity: 2-20 years

Adhesive-Backed Tape/Foams are flexible and come in a variety of sizes.

  • Effectiveness: Fair
  • Skill: DIY
  • Longevity: 1-3 years

Felt weather-strips come in either plain or metal reinforced rolls, or in narrow furry strips to be caulked or tacked in place.

  • Effectiveness: Fair/Poor
  • Skill: DIY
  • Longevity: 3-5 years

Foam, Silicone, Plastic and Vinyl Seals can be flipper foam seals, tubular vinyl, sponge-rubber tubes, plastic leafseals, or tubular silicone. They are some of the best weather-stripping methods on the market. They are preinstalled or can be retrofitted into existing doors.

  • Effectiveness: Excellent
  • Skill: DIY to Professional
  • Longevity: 2-40 years

Door Bottom Weatherseals are the most critical when it comes to air loss, yet can also be a bit tricky. There are basically 3 types:

• In The Threshold for new doors use an adjustable wood or metal strip up or down. Older versions were part of the interlocking metal system, and were not adjustable.

  • Effectiveness: Good
  • Skill: Professional
  • Longevity: Can wear off, so 10-20 years

• On The Door Bottom are the most effective but finicky. Adjustable styles are extremely effective but require professional installation. Applied door sweeps are typical on new doors, or they can be retrofitted onto existing doors.

  • Effectiveness: Good
  • Skill: Skilled DIY to Professional
  • Longevity: Lifetime with maintenance

• On the Surface door sweeps mount on the back or front, depending on the highpoint of the threshold and door swing. They come in all materials, colors and sizes.

  • Effectiveness: Fair
  • Skill: DIY
  • Longevity: 1-5 years

Adjust the catch

A loose door leaks air. Check to see how the door closes with the latch bolt (flapper) into the strike plate (metal on the frame). The door should close with a positive seal all the way around. A well-set strike plate does not allow the door to move much when it is engaged (some movement is expected within the door seal, or weather-stripping). Warped doors present an issue that is difficult to resolve, although a slight warp can still provide a good seal.

Storm door

Again, the goal to savings is to reduce air-flow and to trap air. Storm doors offer a cost effective, sacrificial layer that saves energy and the wear on your door. Storm doors can be wood, metal, fiberglass or plastic, and can add to the overall aesthetic of a home’s main feature, the front door. Again, price can dictate quality, so spend more on the one used most, and less perhaps on the door used less frequently.

So stay warm, save money and get those door sealed!

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