Weatherstripping is a strong and silent super-hero in your home. It plays a key role in improving the function of your doors and windows and in doing so also delivers comfort and energy efficiency. These products are placed around the edges of operable exterior doors and windows specifically to seal out air. Without weatherstripping your house would be a very drafty and bug infested place.
Preventing air leakage around door and window openings is important because it dramatically reduces heat loss. This makes the home much more comfortable and less costly to heat or cool. Before the invention of weatherstripping, considerable amounts of expensive “conditioned” air would be lost from around windows and doors.
Outside air also carries dust, pollen, smoke and tiny bugs. Blocking outside air from entering the home reduces allergies and helps to keep the inside of your house less dusty and buggy. Thanks to weatherstripping, quality homes built in the last 10 years have become more and more air tight. As a result they are much cleaner and less costly to operate. In fact some homes are so airtight that special HVAC equipment must be used to bring in fresh air from outside; highly filtered of course.
How weatherstripping is made and installed
Weather-seal products must be made of durable and “compressible” material. This is because the material is repetitively squeezed between the operating door or window and its frame. Flexible vinyl, rubber, plastic or felt work best. Some metal, interlocking versions are available for custom entry doors. These are made of brass strips that lock firmly into grooves in the door jamb or threshold . These types are not flexible, but when the door or window frame is closed, the strips engage each other to tightly seal off the gaps.
Thresholds at the base of exterior doors are considered part of the weatherstrip system. As a test, get down on your hands and knees and look under your entry door(s). If you can see daylight, your weatherstripping is either non-existent, or bad. Plan to fix this problem right away.
Most newly manufactured windows and exterior doors come with weather seals pre-installed from the factory. Factory weatherstripping can be easily replaced if damaged. Check with the manufacturer to get proper replacements or buy generic material at the hardware store. Generic material can be applied to any exterior door. Old wood windows can be retrofit with weatherstripping also. A good contractor should be able to do this properly.
- Checking for air leaks and updating your weatherstripping can be one of the most cost-effective upgrades you can do.
- Inspect the gaps around your doors and windows and if you can see daylight or feel moving air if you do, it is likely because you have a leak that can be stopped with new weatherstripping.