If your house has old doors, winter can be a drafty time of year. Luckily, there is an easy, do-it-yourself fix to help you keep the cold air out and the warm air in where it belongs. Here is my guide to sealing your doors before the real cold sets in.
Examine your current weatherstripping for any rips, bends or wear and tear. In older doors, the seals usually deteriorate before the doors themselves, which will allow air to pass through. If you can feel a draft coming from the edges around a closed door, it’s time to give them a little facelift. However, if the door is damaged, sagging, or rattling, it might be time for a new one entirely.
Measure the top and sides of your door jambs with precision; you want the fit to be snug and airtight. I always say, measure twice and buy once! Once you measure the doors, you’ll find the materials that you need either at the local hardware store or online on any home improvement retail site. In addition to weather stripping, you might also need a sweep, which is the strip along the bottom of the door that looks like a tiny broom and keeps the gap between the door and the floor sealed. If yours is damaged or has broken off in parts, now is a good time to replace it. Luckily, basic individual weatherstrips and sweeps can cost as little as $10 each, which is a lot less than investing in a new door.
Just like painting, when you start weatherproofing you’ll need to begin on a clean surface. Scrape any old debris so the gap is free and clear. You want to make sure your gap is in good shape to lay the strips evenly and you need to have enough room for the strips to grip properly.
Finally, you can install your new weatherstripping. Cut it to size before you put it in the groove and ensure that you don’t stretch the material to fit – it will return to its original size and leave you short. Secure it firmly into the groove and open and close the door to look for any protrusions or gaps.
Weatherstripping is a quick, inexpensive fix that will help you stay warmer in the winter and give your heating bill a noticeable break. But just like any home improvement tasks, if you’re not comfortable using basic tools and equipment, you might want to leave the job to a professional. Either way, keep your family warm this winter and take some time for yourself to enjoy the holiday season.
Bob O'Donnell is the owner of O'Donnell Bros, Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions for Bob to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Ask the Pro”. All questions may be considered for publication. To contact Bob for your remodeling needs, call O'Donnell Bros, Inc. at (860) 589-5155 or visit www.odonnellbros.com. Advice is for guidance only.