Weatherstripping Doors and Windows: Self-Adhesive Rolls Plus More Durable Choices

March 22, 2011

Choose a windy day and run your hand around the frames of your home's doors and windows from inside the house. Don't forget door thresholds. And don't be surprised if you feel hot or cold drafts--perhaps almost gale-force--here, there, or everywhere. Those drafts may be blowing your utility budget to smithereens. A small investment in weatherstripping will start repaying you almost immediately, come rain, icy winds, or summer's heat.

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There's More to Weatherstripping Doors and Windows Than Those Self-Adhesive Rolls

There are many kinds of weatherstripping for your doors and windows. Here are some available types and factors that will influence your choice:

  1. Self-adhesive rolls of foam weatherstripping are available in more than one width. But while they're a great improvement over crumbling, gapping weatherstripping, they may not last long if applied to frequently-used doors and windows. Remove old weatherstripping and thoroughly clean the areas where the adhesive will go.
  2. Reinforced or rolled vinyl is fairly easy to install, and is an upgrade from foam rolls. The rolled type can't be used on metal. The rigid type can even be used on door bottoms, so it takes wear well. Installation is fairly easy, and there are color choices to decrease visual impact.
  3. Tension-seal weatherstripping comes as self-adhesive V-shaped vinyl or as springy metal strips that must be nailed in place. The vinyl type needs a smooth, flat surface and is easier to install. Both provide a very good seal if measured and installed accurately. There may be some resistance in opening and closing the door or window after installation, but that's because the weatherstripping is doing its job. Tension-sealed weatherstripping costs more than the previous two choices.
  4. Tubular silicone, vinyl and rubber weatherstripping are moderately expensive but create great seals when properly installed. All have a flange for tacking or stapling, and require skilled installation, as corners and uneven surfaces can be a challenge.
  5. Magnetic weatherstripping for steel doors is expensive but highly effective. It fits into a kerf in the door stop. Professional installation is recommended.

Sealing the bottom of doors usually requires different products than weatherstripping for windows or the top and sides of doors. If door thresholds are worn they need to be replaced, and a new door sweep may also be needed. But replacing your weatherstripping is both cost-effective but comfort-effective. Visit a hardware or building supply store soon to choose the best product for your home.


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