A guide to weatherstripping doors and windows

October 18, 2019   By Caitlin Cosper

A guide to weatherstripping doors and windows

As the fall begins to cool and winter approaches, it’s important to prepare your home for everything that the cold will bring. Weatherstripping seals gaps around your doors and windows, keeping heat inside your home and saving you up to 15 percent on your monthly energy bills. That’s nearly $20 on the average Texas residential electricity bill – $130.77.

Weatherstripping is ideal for areas of your home that move, such as doors and windows. Caulk or silicone is recommended for areas that don’t move frequently.

There are many different types of weatherstripping, and choosing the right one can feel overwhelming. Keep the cold air at bay by reading our breakdown of the most common types of weatherstripping and tips on installing them.

V Strip (Tension Seal)

The V strip is (you guessed it) weatherstripping in the shape of a V that creates a tight seal when applied firmly to the sides of a crack. V strips are best for double-hung or sliding windows, the top and sides of your doors, and other flat, smooth surfaces.

  • Advantages: The V strip is typically very durable and blends into many surfaces. It is also highly effective when properly installed.
  • Disadvantages: V strips require flat, smooth surfaces and can be tricky to install because they must fit tightly into the corners of your windows and doors. They also can cause resistance when opening your doors or windows.

Felt

Felt weatherstripping is sold on its own or reinforced with a metal strip. This type of weatherstripping is sold in rolls and must be stapled or glued into place around doors and windows or pressed against a door jamb.

  • Advantages: Felt weatherstripping tends to be inexpensive and is easy to install in your home.
  • Disadvantages: Felt is less durable than other forms of weatherstripping, so it will need to be replaced sooner (usually within one to two years). You’ll also need to keep felt weatherstripping away from any form of moisture or friction against other surfaces.

Reinforced Foam

Reinforced foam tape is weatherstripping made from closed-cell foam attached to wood or metal strips. Reinforced foam works best for door or window stops or at the bottom of your door frames.

  • Advantages: This type of weatherstripping is very effective at keeping warm air inside your home and tends to hold up well in rough weather.
  • Disadvantages: Reinforced foam can be difficult to install because it must be sawed, nailed and painted. It also can be tricky to hide.

Door Sweeps

Door sweeps are made from either aluminum or stainless steel with a brush made from plastic, vinyl or felt. These work best at the bottom of doors on the interior side.

  • Advantages: Door sweeps are usually pretty easy to install, and there are many types that can be adjusted for uneven thresholds.
  • Disadvantages: This type of weatherstripping is difficult to hide. Also, it can drag and catch on carpet.

Tubular Rubber and Vinyl

These are made up of vinyl or rubber tubes that form a seal when pressed against a door or window. Specifically, tubular rubber or vinyl weatherstripping is most effective at the base of doors and windows.

  • Advantages: Tubular rubber and vinyl weatherstripping create a highly effective air sealer.
  • Disadvantages: If you find yourself working with a self-stick version, you may run into challenges installing it. Additionally, tubular rubber and vinyl weatherstripping can cost more than other types.

Magnetic

Magnetic weatherstripping functions a lot like refrigerator gaskets and works best on the tops and sides of your doors or double-hung and sliding windows.

  • Advantages: This type of weatherstripping will likely create a better and more effective air sealer than other types.
  • Disadvantages: This is one of the most expensive types of weatherstripping.

See more ways to save energy in the home.

Installing weatherstripping

Once you decide on a type of weatherstripping, you’ll need to properly install it in your home. No matter which type you choose, carefully follow the instructions listed on the package label. However, there are a few common rules:

  • Apply all weatherstripping to clean, dry surfaces.
  • Carefully measure the weatherstripping before cutting it. Remember: Measure twice, cut once.
  • Make sure the weatherstripping is tightly pressed against each surface.
  • When weatherstripping doors, apply a continuous strip along each side, ensuring that the weatherstripping meets snugly in the corners.
  • When purchasing weatherstripping, buy at least 10 percent more than what you think you need.
  • After installing your weatherstripping, make sure it doesn’t cause problems when you open or close your doors and windows.

 

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