DIY Home Improvement Tips: Weatherproofing

It’s never too late to do extra weatherproofing around the house, especially when the cost of heating the house is so expensive these days. Weatherproofing is the simple task of stopping all the outside air from leaking into the home and visa-versa. The cost of supplies to do easy weatherproofing will pay off quickly considering the relative low price.

The doors and windows in our houses are usually the biggest reasons for leaks. They can’t be completely airtight so they can open and close. Weatherproofing these small gaps around the edges can really cut down on energy loss. There are several types of weatherstripping available and it’s better to use the cheapest and replace it in a few years than to use none at all. They come in several materials with the metal types being the longest lasting. There are also types available in foam filled plastic and vinyl. Weatherproofing the doors can dramatically cut down on leaks. There are weatherstripping seals available to attach to the bottom of doors to cut down on drafts. All of these items are readily available at local home improvement stores and hardware stores with easy do it yourself instructions and are a great way to begin weatherproofing.

Sometimes the garage doors are forgotten when it comes to weatherproofing. They have rubber gaskets at the bottom that can be installed or replaced when needed. After a number of years these rubber gaskets will deteriorate. You can also add weatherstripping to the sides of the garage doors as well. The home improvement stores have this type of weatherstripping made especially for garage doors

Caulking is another cost-effective way to stop leaks in the house. Adding some caulking around windows is an apparent way to add weatherproofing but any entrance to the house will need sealed as well. Caulking around clothes dryer vents and exhaust fan vents are another easy way to add weatherproofing. Any gaps that are larger than a ½ inch will need to be filled with expandable foam. It comes in a can with a straw to apply the foam material into cracks and crevices, but use caution when applying because a little goes a long way. It expands a lot after application and then the excess can be cut away when it dries. This insulating foam expands and fills any area so thoroughly that it also can keep out insects as well as weatherproofing the home. The expandable foam can be used to seal around water spigots, telephone and cable lines and any other areas where cold air can enter.

An area that can be forgotten when we’re weatherproofing is baseboards and floorboards. If you suspect there are large gaps allowing air into the home, then remove the small base molding that is sometimes known as “quarter round” molding. This is the molding that goes between the baseboards and the flooring. Insulating expandable foam can then be sprayed in the crevice behind the baseboards. I recommend practicing with the expandable foam before actually using it for weatherproofing. This will give help you determine the expansion amount of the foam.

Don’t forget to add weatherproofing to the electrical outlets in the house. It can be a surprise to feel just how much air can leak in through these outlets. The home improvement stores also sale thin insulating foam plates made just for sealing and weatherproofing electrical outlets. You might have to trim them slightly for a good fit, but that’s usually not necessary. They are made from thin white foam and already have the outlet holes ready to punch out. You can just remove the outlet plate covers and put the weatherproofing foam in the cavity over the outlets. Put the cover back on and be glad for one less cold air entry into the home.

This next weatherproofing solution is an inexpensive way to insulate windows, especially if new windows just aren’t in the budget. There are clear plastic sheets available in kits ready to install over the interior windows. These kits come with double-sided tape to attach the plastic and then the special type of plastic can be heated with a hair dryer to shrink it. This helps to make the plastic much less noticeable. I have sometimes found the double-sided tape that comes with the plastic window covers is not enough to hold the plastic in place so I buy an extra roll of clear tape in a larger width. These plastic window covers really do help to seal the drafts from old (or even new) leaky windows. If there are window wells in your basement, don’t forget weatherproofing those as well as closing the vents under the crawlspace of the house.

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