DIY WeatherStripping: Protect Your Doors from the Elements

Protecting your house from the elements is something every homeowner should be concerned with. Allowing your home to be susceptible to any loss of energy is a costly mistake if you overlook certain entry and exits to your home. No matter the age of your home, it makes good sense to check your home on a seasonal basis to make sure that you are protected from the elements. The most vulnerable parts of the house are the doors and windows. They are openings in our exterior walls that we have willingly created to allow entry of light and fresh air as well as an entry and exit to our homes. These areas are the most important to check for any leaks of air.

Examine your entry door(s) fully closed. Look at where the door meets the frame to see if you can see any light coming through. For an airtight seal, there should be no light coming through. Another way to check for a good seal is with the candle test. On a windy day, you can take a candle and move it around your door frame to see if the flame moves. If you can see that there is no light coming through or if the candle flame stays still, then you have a good airtight seal. If you see light or if the flame moves, then open the door and check the weather-stripping to make sure that it is not damaged or worn in any way. You will want to check the weather-stripping for cuts, sections missing, and to see that it is still flexible (not cracking or fraying).

If you have to replace the weather-stripping, make sure to install new stripping for the entire door frame and not just sections. You can remove the old stripping by using pliers to pull it out of the track or use a small pry bar and hammer to remove the nail or staples. Take care not to damage the door frame when removing the old stripping.

It is important to measure the door frame to get the exact amount of stripping for your door. Nowadays, you can pretty much buy a prepackage amount of stripping that will work for all sized doors. You do not want to just jump to the cheapest kit that will break down quickly – the whole point of this project is to save money, not make it more costly. You can find the weather-stripping at your local hardware store or larger home improvement stores.

Once you have found your replacement weather-stripping, follow the directions on the packaging to install the stripping properly. Common mistakes when installing the weather-stripping is not affixing it properly the first time. If you purchase the kind that you have to nail on the frame, make sure to gently push the stripping against the door while it is in the closed position. Make sure not to over-press it against the door, as this will prevent it from latching properly. If you purchased the kit that installs into a track in the door jam, make sure to cut each section to fit snuggly into position.

By replacing the weather-stripping, you can prevent any of the elements from coming into the house, as well as preventing your heating or cooling from escaping the house. By making sure that your entry ways are airtight you can save from 5% to 10% of your energy costs.

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