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May 7, 2012 - 2:36pm

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Weatherstripping doors, operable windows, and other movable building components can save homeowners money by reducing utility bills. | Photo courtesy of ©

  Weatherstripping is an easy and cost-effective way to save money on energy costs and improve comfort by reducing drafts. Many homeowners install their own weatherstripping.


the ease of applying these materials may make them valuable in low-traffic areas. Felt and open-cell foams tend to be inexpensive. susceptible to weather. Also take durability into account when comparing costs. The weatherstripping you choose should seal well when the door or window is closed but allow it to open freely. weather. you will need to detect the air leaks and assess your ventilation needs to ensure adequate indoor air quality. Metal weatherstripping can also provide a nice touch to older homes where vinyl might seem out of place. You can use more than one type of weatherstripping to seal an irregularly shaped space.HOW DOES IT WORK? Weatherstripping reduces air leakage by creating a tight seal between movable building components such as doors and operable windows and the building structure. Weatherstripping in a window sash must accommodate the sliding of panes -. copper. stainless steel. However. caulk is the appropriate material for filling cracks and gaps. weatherstripping could drag on carpet or erode as a result of foot traffic. For stationary components. temperature changes. and inefficient at blocking airflow. holds up well and resists moisture.up and down. CHOOSING WEATHERSTRIPPING Choose a type of weatherstripping that will withstand the friction. See table below for information about the common types of weatherstripping. and aluminum) last for years and are affordable. or out. Before applying weatherstripping in an existing home. For example. Metals (bronze. which is slightly more expensive. when applied to a door bottom or threshold. You can use weatherstripping in your home to seal air leaks around movable building components. 2    . such as doors or operable windows. Vinyl. Choose a product for each specific location. sideways. and wear and tear associated with its location. visible.

All-wool felt is more durable and more expensive. aluminum. Must be stapled. closed-cell foam. open-cell foam. Tape: Nonporous. Low. rigid. Vinyl is fairly easy to install. Can be reinforced with staples. Seals best if staples are parallel to length of the strip. bottom or top of window sash. Manufacturing process produces greenhouse gas emissions. Inside the track of a doublehung or sliding window. fitted into a door jamb so the door presses against it. Very visible.Weatherstripping Tension seal: Self-stick plastic (vinyl) folded along length in a Vshape or a springy bronze strip (also copper. Do not use where exposed to moisture or where there is friction or abrasion. and stainless steel) shaped to bridge a gap. Moderately low Effective sealer. attic hatches and inoperable windows. very effective. Felt: Plain or reinforced with a flexible metal strip. least effective preventing airflow. inexpensive. Durability varies with material used. Good for blocking corners and irregular cracks. varies with material used. Durable. Can be difficult to install. use where little wear is expected. Best Uses Cost Advantages Disadvantages Surfaces must be flat and smooth for vinyl. or tacked into place. top and sides of door. bottom of door. Top and bottom of window sash. inexpensive. window stops. Reinforced foam: Closed-cell foam attached to wood or metal strips. but not especially high for all. Selfadhesive vinyl available. invisible when in place. Look of bronze works well for older homes. glued. Around a door or window (reinforced felt). and painted. or EDPM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) rubber. works well when compressed. must be sawed. Some manufacturers include extra strip for door striker plate. as corners must be snug. Moderate. nailed. sold in rolls. visible. door frames. Can be difficult to install. Bronze must be nailed in place (every three inches or so) so as not to bend or wrinkle. Very visible. Extremely easy to install. The shape of the material creates a seal by pressing against the sides of a crack to block drafts. Low durability. Can increase resistance in opening/closing doors or windows. Door or Low Easy to install. 3    . scored well in wind tests.

Visible. Automatic sweeps are more expensive and can require a small pause once door is unlatched before retracting. Around a door. Tubular rubber and vinyl: Vinyl or sponge rubber tubes with a flange along length to staple or tack into place. Self-stick versions challenging to install.) window stops. bottom of a door (rigid strip only). Moderate to high. Bottom of Door sweep: Aluminum or stainless steel with brush of plastic. Installation can be tricky. Selfadhesive on pliable vinyl may not adhere to metal. Top and sides Magnetic: Works similarly to refrigerator gaskets. butting corners pose a challenge. moderate cost. top or bottom of window sash.Easy installation. High Very effective air sealer. bottom of exterior side of exteriorswinging door. Relatively easy to install. Effective air barrier. some types of rigid strip gaskets provide slot holes to adjust height. double-hung and sliding window channels. Hacksaw required Seals well. Moderate to high. of doors. Automatically retracting sweeps also available. Door or window presses against them to form a seal. Can drag on carpet. Comes in varying colors to help with visibility. many types are adjustable for uneven Moderate to high. sponge. or felt. interior side of in-swinging door. Reinforced silicone: On a doorjamb Tubular gasket attached to a metal strip that resembles reinforced tubular vinyl or a window stop. to cut metal. vinyl. Low to moderate. which reduce drag on carpet and increase durability.   4    . Visible. low to Door or Rolled or reinforced vinyl: Pliable or rigid strip gasket (attached to wood or metal strips. threshold. increasing durability.

Weatherstripping supplies and techniques range from simple to the technical.Sheds rain on the Door shoe: Aluminum face attachment with vinyl C-shaped insert to protect under the door. High. Here are a few basic guidelines:    Weatherstripping should be applied to clean. Interlocking metal channels: Around door Enables sash to engage one another when closed perimeters. For aluminum Fin seal: Pile weatherstrip with plastic Mylar fin centered in pile. Moderate to high. To seal space beneath door. Very difficult to install as alignment is critical. dry surfaces in temperatures above 20°F (-7° C). "Frost-brake" threshold: Aluminum or other metal on exterior. Consult the instructions on the weatherstripping package. The use of different materials means less cold transfer. The material should compress when the window or door is shut. Fairly expensive. installation moderately difficult. Can be difficult to install. Can be used with uneven opening. Moderate to high. exterior. add the perimeters of all windows and doors to be weatherstripped. May require door bottom planing. relatively expensive. then add 5% to 10% to accommodate any waste. and weatherstrip. Moderate to high. To be installed by a professional only. Very durable. available in different heights. Effective. APPLYING WEATHERSTRIPPING To determine how much weatherstripping you will need. Moderate to high. involves threshold replacement. Wears from foot traffic. sliding windows and sliding glass doors. Also consider that weatherstripping comes in varying depths and widths. durable. To seal beneath a door. Measure the area to be weatherstripped twice before making a cut. Combination threshold Bulb threshold: Vinyl and aluminum Door thresholds. wood on interior. Apply weatherstripping snugly against both surfaces. Moderately difficult to install. 5    . Some door shoes have replaceable vinyl inserts. with door-bottom seam and vinyl threshold replacement. Exceptional weather seal.

apply weatherstripping between the sash and the frame. LEARN MORE      Tips: Sealing Air Leaks Air Sealing Your Home Air Sealing for New Home Construction Detecting Air Leaks Caulking External Resources Energy Efficiency in Remodeling: House Air Leakage -.Iowa Energy Center Weatherization Guide: Air Leakage -. Apply one continuous strip along each side.ENERGY STAR® Home Tightening. Weatherstrip the entire door jamb.When weatherstripping doors:      Choose the appropriate door sweeps and thresholds for the bottom of the doors. For air sealing windows. Use a thickness that causes the weatherstripping to press tightly between the door and the door jamb when the door closes without making it difficult to shut.NAHB Research Center Toolbase Services Home Sealing -. The weatherstripping shouldn't interfere with the operation of the window. Make sure the weatherstripping meets tightly at the corners.Michigan Energy Options Find an Air Sealing Professional DOE Weatherization Assistance Program Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency Climate-Specific Resources for Energy-Efficient Homes Share on tweet RELATED ARTICLES Window Types Tips: Sealing Air Leaks 6    . Insulation and Ventilation .

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