One of the easiest ways air can be let in—and out—of your home is through leaks in your door when it’s closed. This is where your door’s weather seal comes in handy. But with their frequent use, the weather seal around a door can become worn and need replacing, and air leaks begin to waste energy dollars.
A quick and easy way to seal the leaks around a door is by installing weather stripping. Today, we’re adding weather stripping to two doors—one using a door jamb weather strip kit, the other with self-adhesive foam—which will seal the sides and top of your door to prevent drafts (while saving you money).
This is a two-part series. In the next installment, we’ll install door sweeps to address a draft at the bottom of the door. Looking for more weather-proofing projects? Check out one of our favorites on rainproofing stairs—it's a great solution for getting your home safe and ready for the rainy months.
Door weather stripping: door jamb weather strip kit
On this first door, we’re installing a door jamb weather strip kit, which is essentially a length of tubing attached to a metal flange. The tubing will compress against a closed door and make a seal. The kit consists of two long side pieces and a shorter piece for the top of the door. All pieces will be cut to a length that matches your door with a hacksaw and scissors.
Step 1: Clean the area
Vertical surfaces don’t tend to collect a lot of dirt and grime, but it’s a good idea to wipe down the door frame as well as the door’s edges.
Step 2: Measure the latch side of the door frame
Measure from the top corner of the door frame down to the top of the door threshold. Cut one of the long legs from the kit to that length. If you have a door sweep—or if you're planning to add one—take it into consideration while measuring and adjust the length of your weather stripping accordingly.
Step 3: Screw the latch-side strip into place
With the door closed, hold the tubing of the flange snugly against the door and screw it into place. You’ll notice the holes for the screws are slots—place the screw in the center of the slot. These slots allow you to make adjustments to the flange if or when needed by loosening, adjusting, and retightening the screws.
Step 4: Screw the hinge-side strip into place
Repeat steps 2 and 3 on the other side of the door: measure the height, cut the strip to length, and fasten it into place snugly against the closed door with screws.
Step 5: Attach top strip
Measure between the two long strips, cut the short length to match, and mount it along the top of the door frame with the screws in the slotted holes.
Step 6: Test for snugness
Open and close the door completely (including locking it) several times to make sure your new weather stripping is snug but not too tight. If your door doesn’t close, latch, or lock, then loosen the screws of the side that is binding, move the weather-striping slightly away from the door, and retighten the screws. Conversely, if the door is not snug against the rubber tubing, adjust the weather stripping so it seals well against the door.
Door weather stripping: self-adhesive foam weather stripping
On this door we’re installing a self-adhesive foam weather stripping on the door frame to seal any and all gaps. This type of weather stripping is easy to install and made of closed cell foam, which means if it gets wet it won’t soak up and hold water like a sponge. When the door is closed, this insulation compresses in gaps and seals them.
Step 1: Determine the thickness of foam needed
This step is a bit of a guessing game. You need to determine the thickness of foam needed to fill the gaps around your door. While thicker may seem better, too thick of a foam can keep a door from closing properly—even when the foam is compressed. We chose a 3/16” thick foam. If you have larger gaps, you may need a thicker foam.
Step 2: Prepare the surface
Clean the area. It’s a good idea to wipe down the door frame so the self-adhesive weather-stripping will adhere well.
Step 3: Peel and stick
This weather-stripping is easy to install. Simply peel off the paper backing and press the foam into place. We started on one side of the door frame, cut the strip at the end, did the other side, and then the top. It’s easiest if you go slowly and do not pull or stretch the foam as you apply it. Note that the hinge-side of the door frame has the foam strip applied to the wide, door frame (or “jamb”), while the top and latch-sides have the foam adhered to the “stop” that the door butts up against when closed.
Step 4: Test for snugness
Test the operation of the door to make sure it closes, latches, and locks easily. If it doesn’t, you may need to go with a thinner foam along certain parts of the frame where the gap is smaller or nonexistent. If you still have gaps showing around the door afterward, you may need thicker foam.
With the cold weather making its way to the Pacific Northwest, protect your home from letting out the warm air (or letting in the cold) by sealing your door with weather stripping. You’ll not only keep your home cozy for the fall, you’ll also save yourself money on your next energy bill.