A Guide to Door Bottoms and Sweeps

Gaps underneath your doors not only let in drafts but also dirt, rain and noise but installing door bottoms or sweeps will cut these annoyances out. Closing the gaps under your doors will also make your rooms more energy efficient and save you money on your utility bills. Most types of door bottoms and sweeps are easy to install yourself and cheap to purchase. To help choose what type of draft excluder will be best for your needs read a little more about each option below.

Door Bottoms

A door bottom adds protection to the bottom edge of your door against damage to the wood. It will also provide a more secure fit between the door and the threshold to stop cold air from circulating your home.

There are 2 common styles of door bottom: U-shaped and L-shaped. A U-shaped door bottom slides onto the underneath of the door and can be adjusted so that it covers the gap to the threshold. When searching for this style you need to know how thick your door is. An L-shaped door bottom fits onto one side of the door and extends underneath to bridge the gap to the threshold. Sometimes it can be necessary to cut your door a little shorter so that the door bottom fits into the gap and works effectively.

Door Sweeps

A door sweep consists of a brush made from plastic or vinyl bristles secured in place against the door with a carrier. The carrier is available in a number of different finishes and materials to suit your décor such as gold, brass or aluminum metal or various colors of plastic. They are also available in natural wood finishes so that they blend in with the door. Door sweeps are normally installed on the exterior of an out-swinging door and the interior of one that swings inwards.

A disadvantage of a door sweep is the drag they have on a carpet making it difficult to open and close to door. They can also leave a mark behind on the carpet which will wear a track into the carpet over time. It can be difficult to strike the balance between minimizing the drag and having the sweep work effectively.

Automatic Door Sweeps

There are a few styles of automatic door sweep which remove the problem of drag on flooring or carpets. These sweeps are slightly more expensive and can be more difficult to install. They can also require a small pause after unlatching the door so that they are properly retracted. One style of automatic door sweep swings up from a pivot point and is easier to install than one which lifts vertically. However, the latter style fits more inconspicuously than the pivot model and forms a nice tight seal against the floor with a piece of soft plastic or vinyl when the door is closed. The pivot door sweep is cheaper to purchase than the vertically lifting one.