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Modern homes are pretty secure in terms of weatherproofing (to a fault if you have a fireplace), but if you live in a creaky old cottage like me, there’ll almost certainly be a few cracks and gaps allowing air to leak from or into the property.
Thankfully, we don’t need to sell and buy new builds to escape this energy-wasting phenomenon, as we can shore things up with a spot of weatherstripping, and I’m going to show you how it’s done!
Before We Begin
It’s quite possible that all you need to do to block the passage of air is tighten up your hinges, so before you spend any money buying the equipment listed below, grab your trusty screwdriver and do the following test.
Open the problem door, grab the handle or knob, then try to lift it upwards.
If the door shifts, then you’ve definitely got some loose hinges on your hands.
Use your screwdriver to tighten the top hinge.
Screws lost their bite in the wall? No worries. Pick up some wood plugs, fill the holes, then re-drive the screws in place.
What You’ll Need To Weatherstrip A Door
What Sort Of Weatherstripping Is Right For Me?
If you take a trip to your local hardware store today, you’ll likely run into three different types of weatherstripping:
- Wrapped foam wood flange
- Wrapped foam metal flange
- Vinyl bulb metal flange
To figure out which is right for you, consider the task at hand.
Foam weatherstripping is the ultimate gap filler, so it's a no-brainer if you’ve got large or awkward gaps to fill.
Vinyl stripping with a metal flange, on the other hand, is very sleek and clean, so if you’ve only got a few slivers to line and you want to keep aesthetics on point, it’s the only way to go.
Choosing between the foam with the wood flange and the foam with the metal flange is a matter of installation preference.
The pre-drilled metal flange gives you a little more flexibility and does away with the burden of screw placement.
However, should you be looking for that cozy, natural finish, the wood flange will be worth the extra effort.
Weatherstripping Your Doors: A Step-By-Step Guide
Got all your supplies? Excellent! Let’s get to work.
Step 1. Cleaning The Area
First things first. Get the area cleaned up so when the time comes to install the weatherstripping you can make a clean seal against the door.
Step 2. Install Your Door Sweep
To install your sweep, measure the width of your threshold, cut the sweep down to size, and screw it into place.
If you’re going for a U-shaped sweep, you’ll need to remove the door entirely.
Step 3. Measuring Your Door Jamb
Get things started nice and easy by taking some simple measurements. With the problem door shut tight, measure the top jamb, frame to frame.
You’ll get the most accurate measurement by running the tape measure slightly past the corner so it runs from frame to frame and then down the side jamb a little.
Step 4. Cutting The Top Piece Of Weatherstripping
Take one section of your weatherstripping and use a pencil to mark out the top jamb measurement.
If you picked foam weatherstripping, use a pair of good scissors to cut the foam section, then cut the flange with a coping saw.
You may be tempted to saw your way through the whole thing, but those gnarly teeth will make a mess of the foam.
If, on the other hand, you picked the foam weatherstripping with the metal flange, switch out the coping saw for a hacksaw and crack on!
For vinyl bulb weatherstripping, a quality pair of scissors will do in a pinch, but you might get a cleaner cut with a sharp utility knife.
Once that’s sorted, continue through the metal with a hacksaw.
Step 5. Fitting The Top Section
With your top piece cut to size, you’re ready to secure it to the door jamb.
Tap a few equally spaced 1 ½” nails into the wood flange of the weather stripping, not all the way through, just so they stay in place.
Position the weatherstripping in the door frame so the foam seals the gap between the door and the jamb.
Tap the nails in a bit further so the weatherstripping stays in place, but don’t drive them all the way in just yet.
If you’re installing foam weatherstripping with a metal flange, use the included screws and pre-drilled screw holes.
Step 6. Measuring Your Vertical Door Jambs
Grab your tape measure and measure the distance between the threshold of your door and the top piece of weatherstripping.
Step 7. Profiling Your Side Vertical Weatherstripping
Before you cut the length of your vertical weatherstripping, it’s essential that you use the off-cut of your top section to mark the profile of the end that will mate with it.
Mark the profile with a pencil then use scissors and an appropriate saw to cut the flange.
Step 8. Cutting The Bottom To Length
With your profile cut, you can use your side jamb measurement to mark the vertical weatherstripping then cut it to length.
For a smooth fit, it’s worth taking a moment to lightly sand the profile and bottom cuts.
Step 9. Fitting The Vertical Weatherstripping
Tap some evenly spaced nails along the length of the vertical section, position it against the side jamb, then tap the nails in a little more so it’s held in place but not fully secured.
The nails should be at least 2 inches from ends to avoid splits, and then every 12 inches in between.
Again, if you’re using pre-drilled metal flanges, use the included screws instead of nails.
Step 10. Rinse & Repeat
Repeat steps 5, 6, and 7 to fit the other vertical section of weatherstripping.
Step 11. Checking The Seal
Open and close your door a few times to check that everything is fitted correctly.
If not, adjust the placement of your weatherstripping and check again. Once everything is positioned correctly, hammer everything into place for good!
Follow this guide to the word, and you’ll be able to cut down your energy bill by between 5 and 10%, which over time, adds up to some pretty hefty gains, and what’s more, you’ll be doing your part to ease the burden on our environment — Hooray!