I’ve got cold air pouring in all over my house. Is there one type of weather stripping I can use?
– G.R. Chesterfield, Mo.
The recent cold air has brought the weather stripping issue up once again. There are many ways in which a homeowner can help minimize cold air drafts.
Exterior doors will usually have two forms of weather stripping. One will be for the bottom of the door and the other for the sides and top. Most newer doors will have a “kerf-style” weather stripping along the sides and top. This is a piece of vinyl which fits into a groove, or kerf, cut into the framing of the door jamb. If this has deteriorated, it is easy to replace. The replacement weather stripping can be obtained at most hardware stores, and usually comes in a 7’ strip.
With a pair of pliers, pull out the old kerf style and insert the new. You may need a small screwdriver, just to get the new weather stripping tucked into the groove. Older doors may have a bronze “V” shaped weather stripping. This type will usually last the longest, but occasionally will need to be adjusted. This can be done by using a screwdriver or putty knife to spread the top part of the “V” out a little more, causing it to come in contact more with the door and the framing. In most cases, it is the area where the handset or deadbolt go into the jamb which will have air coming through, mainly because the bronze weather stripping doesn’t cover this area. Use a foam type of weather stripping for this small area.
The bottom of the door can also have different types of weather stripping. Most new doors will have a rubber type of seal which is either nailed or inserted into the bottom of the door itself. Although this type can be replaced, it will require taking the door off of the hinges, and usually going to a specialty store that handles door parts, such as Genesco or Treecourt Builders Supply. If you have a metal threshold in the doorway, many times these have a vinyl gasket which can get worn. If you find the correct size of gasket, they are fairly simple to replace. Some older doors will have retrofit weather stripping at the bottom, such as a door sweep or door shoe. These are usually easy to replace by simply removing the screws and installing the new one. Most hardware stores will carry a variety of these, but they will usually have to be cut down to the width of the door.
Weather stripping can greatly reduce the drafts in your home and is worth the time and expense that you invest in the project.
Tools: Hack saw for cutting, screwdriver, proper weather stripping
Time: For a door, about ½ to 1 hour