Part of your standard maintenance as a homeowner should be to check doors, windows, and garage doors for gaps in the weatherstripping. Old, damaged or completely absent weatherstripping means that your home could be leaking cool air in the summer and hot air in the winter. Repairing these gaps makes your house much more energy efficient— in fact, up to 20% more. So, ready to start weatherstripping?
Weatherstripping comes in a wide variety of materials and styles, each with their own specific uses, benefits, and disadvantages. Let’s take a look at a few of the materials and uses for these common types of weatherstripping.
Also known as V-strip or V-channel weatherstripping, tension-seal weatherstripping uses a strip of vinyl, aluminum, or stainless steel folded into a V-shape to seal the tops and sides of doors. This practice can be used for the sides of double-hung or sliding windows, too. Tension-seal weatherstripping is very durable and can’t be seen once installed; however practical, it can be difficult to install and may make it harder to open and close windows.
Sold in rolls, felt weatherstripping is the least expensive way to seal doors and windows. Felt weatherstripping lasts the shortest amount of time, and is the least effective among the types listed, but it is easy to install, and comes either plain or reinforced with a pliable metal strip. If you go this route, opt for all-wool felt, as it is more durable than other types of weatherstripping felt.
This weatherstripping method uses either flexible or rigid rolled-vinyl gaskets in door and window stops, the bottoms of doors, and window sashes. They are very easy to install and are moderately priced, but they are visible once in place.
Foam weatherstripping is a type of compression weatherstripping, and comes either as reinforced (attached to wooden or metal strips) or as tape. Reinforced foam weatherstripping is good for door and window stops, the bottoms of doors, and window sashes. When reinforced, foam weatherstripping is very effective, but it can be difficult to install. On the other hand, the easy-to-install tape foam weatherstripping is good for irregular-shaped corners and cracks, but it’s not as durable as some of the other methods.
Door shoes and door sweeps are both attached to the bottom of a door to seal the gap between the door and the floor. A door shoe is made out of U-shaped aluminum that’s fitted with a vinyl insert and attaches around the bottom of the door, while a door sweep is a wooden or metal strip fitted with a nylon blade that attaches to the outside of the door. These are generally very durable, but they can be difficult to install and may require planing the bottom of the door.
What is planing? To plane a door simply means to shave away material to allow the door to open and close smoothly without sticking.
The frost-brake threshold combines metal, wood and vinyl into a system that decreases cold transfer and is meant to replace your current threshold. It is very effective, but it can also be difficult to install.
The difference between rubber weatherstripping and vinyl weatherstripping is minor; both can be self-adhesive, are rigid or flexible, and are relatively inexpensive.
Reinforced foam weatherstripping is generally more effective than rubber weatherstripping, but it is also harder to install.
Rubber weatherstripping is more effective, more durable, and more expensive than felt weatherstripping, but it can be harder to install than felt weatherstripping.
Now that you’ve settled on the type of weatherstripping that works best for your project, the next step is to install it! You’ll want to measure the perimeters of all of the doors and windows that need weatherproofing and then add an additional 10% to account for accidents and/or waste.
Weatherstripping also comes in various thicknesses and widths to account for the wide variety of doors and windows, so be sure to take note of the sizes you’ll need for yours.
For more information on how to seal a door, visit Constellation’s blog post about weatherizing your home.
Replacing weatherstripping around a window is the same process as replacing weatherstripping around a door.
Pro-tip: you can also prevent air leaks by installing energy-efficient windows.
Now that you know how to seal a garage door, how to seal a door, and how to select all types of weatherstripping, let your to-do list write itself! Play the pro and check for air leaks all around your house. Let us know if you’ve found any unexpected air leaks, and about your experience on fixing them!
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According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, the average American spends an average of 90 percent of their lives indoors. As a result, many Americans are exposed to a wide range of indoor air pollutants over long periods of time.
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