The Detroit Post
Friday, 03 December, 2021

Do Weather Strips Work

Danielle Fletcher
• Sunday, 03 January, 2021
• 13 min read

Weatherstripping doors, operable windows, and other movable building components can save homeowners money by reducing utility bills. You can use weatherstripping in your home to seal air leaks around movable building components, such as doors or operable windows.

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Choose a type of weatherstripping that will withstand the friction, weather, temperature changes, and wear and tear associated with its location. For example, when applied to a door bottom or threshold, weatherstripping could drag on carpet or erode as a result of foot traffic.

Weatherstripping in a window sash must accommodate the sliding of panes -- up and down, sideways, or out. The weatherstripping you choose should seal well when the door or window is closed but allow it to open freely.

Felt and open-cell foams tend to be inexpensive, susceptible to weather, visible, and inefficient at blocking airflow. Metals (bronze, copper, stainless steel, and aluminum) last for years and are affordable.

Metal weatherstripping can also provide a nice touch to older homes where vinyl might seem out of place. Weatherstripping Best UsesCostAdvantagesDisadvantagesSelf-stick plastic (vinyl) folded along length in a V-shape or a springy bronze strip (also copper, aluminum, and stainless steel) shaped to bridge a gap.

The shape of the material creates a seal by pressing against the sides of a crack to block drafts. Inside the track of a double-hung or sliding window, top and sides of door. Moderate; varies with material used. Durable, invisible when in place, very effective.

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Door or window stops; bottom or top of window sash; bottom of door. Moderately noneffective sealer, scored well in wind tests, rigid. Can be difficult to install; must be sawed, nailed, and painted. Good for blocking corners and irregular cracks. LowExtremely easy to install, works well when compressed, inexpensive.

Durability varies with material used, but not especially high for all; use where little wear is expected; visible. Rolled or reinforced vinyl: Self-adhesive on pliable vinyl may not adhere to metal; some types of rigid strip gaskets provide slot holes to adjust height, increasing durability.

Comes in varying colors to help with visibility. VisibleAluminum or stainless steel with brush of plastic, vinyl, sponge, or felt. Automatic sweeps are more expensive and can require a small pause once door is unlatched before retracting. Works similarly to refrigerator gaskets.

Top and sides of doors, double-hung and sliding window channels. HighVery effective air sealer. Tubular rubber and vinyl: Vinyl or sponge rubber tubes with a flange along length to staple or tack into place.

Around a door. Moderate to ineffective air barrier. Self-stick versions challenging installing. Tubular gasket attached to a metal strip that resembles reinforced tubular vinyl. Hacksaw required to cut metal; butting corners pose a challenge. Aluminum face attachment with vinyl C-shaped insert to protect under the door.

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Some door shoes have replaceable vinyl inserts. Fairly expensive; installation moderately difficult. To seal beneath a door. Moderate to fifth use of different materials means less cold transfer.

Effective. Moderately difficult to install, involves threshold replacement. Pile weatherstrip with plastic Mylar fin centered in pile. For air sealing windows, apply weatherstripping between the sash and the frame.

Weatherstripping is the process of sealing openings such as doors, windows, and trunks from the elements. Automotive weatherstripping is used extensively aboard automobiles, and can be found anywhere the interior compartment must be sealed from the environment.

For example, the weatherstripping must function the same while the vehicle is parked and at full speed; be flexible to accommodate motion vibrations; endure extreme temperatures of hot and cold; withstand long periods of sun exposure; and resist automotive liquids such as oil, gasoline, and windshield washer fluid (methanol). Weatherstripping also plays a part in maintaining satisfactory ride quality in the vehicle, being partially responsible for sealing noise out from the passenger compartment.

Furthermore, this relative movement can cause noises such as squeaks, rattles, and creaks to be heard within the vehicle. Poorly performing weatherstripping should be reported to the car dealership if the vehicle is under warranty, as fixes may be known.

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The efficacy of weatherstripping can be significantly increased by specialty coatings during manufacture. Fiber texture, type and density can be adjusted to provide superior sealing without impacting resistance to movement, rotational friction or fit.

Custom weatherstripping, compared to pre-weatherstripped units, requires much more time and is considered to be a specialized skill. Metal caps on the window top and on sashes redirect rain to drip off instead of infiltrating.

Besides the immediate unpleasantness of a chilly gust invading the warmth of your home in winter, there’s also the impact that drafts can have on your energy bills. According to Energy Star, the installation of weatherstripping can save you up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs.

But to coax the greatest value from its insulating properties, weatherstripping must be installed correctly. If any grime remains after scrubbing with soapy water, consider using fine-grit sandpaper to eliminate residual buildup.

Plan on buying enough weatherstripping to run across the width and height of the door, plus about 10 percent extra (just in case). Felt weatherstripping (view example on Amazon) offers the benefits of being cheap and very easy to cut and install, but because it’s not very durable, it’s rarely used on doors.

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Even if your weatherstripping has adhesive, you may wish to reinforce the installation with heavy-duty staples or small tacking nails. The most common type of door sweep consists of a metal band from which a strip of rubber juts down (view example on Amazon).

Because these screws tend to be small and not self-tapping, it’s best to predrill holes for them by means of an electric drill/driver. That’s a small-time commitment to ensure that you remain comfortable through the winter, without spending a fortune on to keep the house warm.

Though it’s a simple project, weatherstripping really is one of the most effective ways to stop drafts and the discomfort they cause. ­­Rising energy costs can make a cold, drafty house a misery that grows increasingly expensive.

Sealing your home with tight-fitting weather stripping can make you feel warm all winter long. Yet there are thousands of homes in which a 1/8-inch-wide crack exists all the way around the door, and this gap is just about the equivalent air loss of that 6-inch-square hole.

Letting these cracks exist is like throwing dollars out the door or window. If you can feel cold air coming in around doors and windows on a windy day, you know the answer.

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If you are uncertain, you can create your own windstorm at the precise spot where you suspect air might be leaking. What you will probably conclude, however, is that your home has several drafty areas that would benefit from weather stripping.

In this article, we'll show you how to install weather stripping on all parts of your house. Available in both rubber and plastic, adhesive-backed foam comes in rolls of varying lengths and thicknesses.

As an added advantage, these strips also provide a cushioning effect that silences slamming. Most manufacturers package spring-metal weather stripping in rolls, and they include the brads necessary for installation.

It comes in a variety of widths, thicknesses, qualities, and colors (brown, gray, and black). Most manufacturers package serrated-metal weather stripping in rolls that include brads for installation.

Tubular gasket weather stripping is made of extremely flexible vinyl. Interlocking metal weather stripping requires two separate pieces along each edge.

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If you­ already have interlocking metal weather stripping, keep it working right by straightening any bent pieces with a screwdriver, pliers or a putty knife. No adhesives or tools -- except scissors for cutting the gasket to the proper length -- are needed.

Read the next page to learn how to put all of these types of weather stripping to good use. Installing weather stripping to block those leaks can reduce drafts and save you a bundle on your heating and cooling bills.

Available in both rubber and plastic, adhesive-backed foam comes in rolls of varying lengths and thicknesses. If the strips were installed snugly against the gap between upper and lower sashes, the movement of the window would pull it loose.

It comes in a variety of widths, thicknesses, qualities, and colors (brown, gray, and black). Felt strips also come without the adhesive backing, but this type must be nailed into place.

Although this kind of weather stripping seems like a simple installation, it does require patience. Step 1: Position vertical strips so flared flange faces outside.

Position strip properly and note any hinges, locks, or other hardware that might interfere. Step 3: Check to make sure strips are straight and properly positioned.

To avoid damaging strip, never drive any of the nails all the way in with hammer. Step 4: Flare out edge of strip with screwdriver to render snug fit.

It comes in a variety of widths, thicknesses, qualities, and colors (brown, gray, and black). Start at one end and drive a tack every 2 to 3 inches, pulling felt tight as you go.

If you find slack when you reach other end, remove nail, pull to tighten, and trim off any excess. The adhesive forms a better bond if applied when the temperature is at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Generally, the only kind of weather stripping that can be applied to metal windows is the pressure-sensitive type. Tubular gasket weather stripping is made of extremely flexible vinyl.

If the window is easily accessible from outside the house, then tubular weather stripping is worth considering. Step 2: Position each strip carefully and drive nail into one end.

Space nails every 2 to 3 inches, pulling weather stripping tight before you drive each nail. Most metal windows are grooved around the edges so the metal flanges will interlock and preclude the need for weather stripping. On the next page, we'll discuss techniques for installing different types of weather stripping onto doors and sliding windows.

Installing weather stripping onto sliding windows and doors presents some unique challenges. Sliding windows, those in which the sash moves laterally, come in both wood and metal frames.

Special gaskets are designed for sealing gaps in jalousie and casement windows. Double-hung wood windows almost always require weather -stripping, although if the top sash is never opened, you can solve an air leak problem by caulking to seal any cracks.

Be sure to follow the correct installation procedures for each type of weather stripping. Weather stripping your doors can seal those gaps, get rid of drafts, and help to reduce your heating and cooling bills.

Before you start weather stripping, inspect the door to be sure it fits properly in the frame opening. The distance does not have to be precisely the same all the way around, but, if the door rests crooked in the frame, weather stripping may make it impossible to open or close.

Naturally, if there is great variance in the opening between the door and frame, it will be difficult to fit weather stripping snugly at all points, and gaps will result. Always move the plane toward the center of the door to avoid splintering off the edges.

It works effectively when installed properly and is not visible with the door closed. In the packages designated as door kits, most manufacturers include the triangular piece that fits next to the striker plate on the jamb.

Most manufacturers package spring-metal weather stripping in rolls, and they include the brads necessary for installation. Although this kind of weather stripping seems like a simple installation, it does require patience.

Step 2: Position side strips so flared flange almost touches door stop. Trim away metal where needed to accommodate any hinges, locks, or other hardware.

Check to make sure side strips are straight and properly positioned. To avoid damaging strip, never drive nails all the way in with hammer.

Flare out edge of each strip with screwdriver to render snug fit. Step 2: Put strips in place without removing backing paper.

Mark spots for trimming (for example, hardware points and where vertical and horizontal strips meet). Available in both rubber and plastic, adhesive-backed foam comes in rolls of varying lengths and thicknesses.

As an added advantage, these strips also provide a cushioning effect that silences slamming. Adhesive forms a better bond if applied when temperature is at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2: Clean surface where weather stripping is to be attached with detergent and water. If pressure-sensitive weather stripping had been previously installed, use petroleum jelly to remove any old adhesive.

Step 3: Use scissors to cut strip to fit, but don't remove backing paper yet. Step 4: Starting at one end, slowly peel paper backing as you push sticky foam strips into place.

If corner of door catches weather stripping as you close it, trim top piece of foam on hinge side. Serrated-metal weather stripping, usually with a felt-strip insert running the length of the serrated groove, also can be used to seal air gaps around doors.

Many of the metal types feature a flexible vinyl insert that creates a tight seal when the door closes against it. Other thresholds consist of one unit on the floor and a mating piece on the bottom of the door.

In most cases, the threshold with a flexible vinyl insert is the easiest to install. Interlock systems are quite effective when properly installed, but they require a perfect fit, or they will not work satisfactorily.

Metal thresholds are frequently held down by screws concealed under vinyl inserts. Step 2: Install replacement threshold by driving screws through metal unit and into floor.

If you don't want aluminum threshold, cut replacement from wood, using original one as pattern. Tack both ends of sweep to door, then install remaining nails or screws.

Still, another type fits on the outside, with a section of it flipping upward to miss the threshold when the door is opened. When the door is closed, this section flips back down to provide a seal against the threshold.

You can adjust this type of door sweep so it renders a snug fit. And the good news is that you can make these improvements to your home without having to call a professional.

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