Save Money by Weatherstripping

Weather stripping is the process of sealing openings, such as doors and windows. This guide will tell you how to weather strip a few key areas of your home.

Door Frames

Door weather stripping is installed on the door frame except for door sweeps and some thresholds. You can weather strip your doors even if you're not an experienced handyman. There are several types of weather stripping for doors, each with its own level of effectiveness, durability, and installation difficulty. The installations are the same for the two sides and top of a door, with a different, more durable one, for the threshold.

Self Stick Foam

Self stick foam uses a knife or shears and a tape measure. It is extremely easy to install, invisible when installed but not very durable. To install stick foam to inside face of jamb.

Rolled Vinyl

Rolled vinyl with aluminum channel backing requires a hammer, nails, metal snips, and a tape measure. It is easy to install, visible when installed, and durable.

Foam Rubber

Foam rubber with wood backing requires a hammer, nails, hand saw, and tape measure. It is easy to install, visible when installed, and not very durable. Installation is simple, you nail the strip snugly against the closed door, spacing nails 8 to 12 inches apart.

Spring Metal

Spring metal requires sheet metal snips, hammer, nails, and a tape measure. It is not difficult to install. It is invisible when installed and extremely durable. To install, cut to length and tack in place. Lift the outer edge of the strip with a screwdriver after tacking for a tighter seal. This is harder than the preceeding choices, as door frame tolerances vary.

Interlocking Metal Channels

Interlocking metal channels require a hack saw, hammer, nails and tape measure. It is difficult to install because alignment is critical. It is visible when installed. Metal channels are durable but subject to damage because they're exposed and offer an excellent seal. You cut and fit strips to the head of the door first: male strip on the door, female on the head; then the hinge side of door: male strip on the jamb, female on the door. Finally, lock the side on the door with the female on the jamb.

Fitted Interlocking Metal Channels

Fitter interlocking metal channels are very difficult to install, produce an exceptionally good weather seal, are invisible when installed, and are not exposed to possible damage. It should be installed by a carpenter as lineup is critical and routing of the door frames is required. It is not appropriate for do-it-yourself installation unless done by an accomplished handyman.

Door Bases

Sweeps

Sweeps require a screwdriver, hacksaw, and tape measure. They are useful for flat thresholds but may drag on a carpet or rug. To install, cut sweep to fit 1/16 inch in from both edges of the door. Some sweeps are installed on the inside and some outside. Check instructions for your particular type.

Door Saddles or Shoes

Door saddles or shoes require a screwdriver, hack saw, plane, and tape measure. They are useful with wooden thresholds that are not worn, very durable, and difficult to install as you must remove the door and trim a required amount off the bottom. Cut to door width. Install by sliding vinyl out and fasten it with screws.

Vinyl Bulb Thresholds

Vinyl bulb thresholds require a screwdriver, hack saw, plane and tape measure. They are useful where there is no threshold or a wooden one is worn out and difficult to install. The vinyl bulb will wear but replacements are generally available. Installation is difficult as you must remove the door and trim a required amount off the bottom. The bottom should have about 1/8" bevel to seal against vinyl. Be sure it is cut in the right direction for your opening.

Window Frames

Interlocking Thresholds

Interlocking thresholds are very difficult to install but produce an exceptionally good weather seal. Installation should be by a skilled carpenter. Install by moving the sash to the open position and sliding strip in between the sash and the channel. Tack in place into the casing. Do not cover the pulleys in the upper channels.

Sliding Windows

Sliding windows are treated as double-hung windows turned on their side. Casement and tilting windows should be weather stripped with the vinyl nailed to the window casing so that, as the window shuts, it compresses the roll.

Self Stick Foam

Self stick foam is practical on all types of windows where there is no friction. On double-hung windows, this is only on the bottom and top rails. Other types of windows can use foam strips in many more places.