Weatherstrip To Stop Air Leaks
Comfort and saving money rank high on any homeowner’s list. However, these goals can be tough to achieve as drafty windows and doors send chills down spines and utility bills soaring.
Eliminating drafts pays big dividends. Aside from making your home more comfortable and saving money on your utility bill, an energy-efficient home helps conserve our natural resources. What’s more, eliminating drafts is one of the least expensive, most cost-effective improvements that you can make to your home. All of the doors and windows in the average home can be weatherstripped for about the same cost as dinner and a movie – in about the same amount of time.
A trip to your local home center or hardware store will reveal a virtually infinite array of weatherstipping materials. Ultimately, the type of material used depends upon two major factors – the configuration and construction of the door or window and your budget.
Choosing the right weatherstripping for the job will make for easier installation and a better net result. For example, when weatherstripping a door, you will need to consider the top, sides and bottom of the door. The top and sides can be tackled with various styles of weatherstripping while the bottom of the door will require entirely different types of materials.
Adhesive-backed foam, felt strips, serrated metal/felt, spring metal, interlocking metal and a tubular vinyl gasket are the most popular weatherstripping designs to eliminate drafts at the top and sides of a door. Of these choices, the adhesive-backed foam and tubular vinyl gaskets are the most popular among do-it-yourselfers.
The adhesive-backed foam consists of a foam rubber strip about 1” wide with peel-away paper. It is usually sold in rolls of about 17’. A step up is the tubular vinyl gasket weatherstripping. It consists of a vinyl tube with a nailing lip. Better variations of this style of weatherstripping include a solid aluminum nailing strip to which the vinyl tube is attached. Both of these materials can also be used to weatherstrip certain types of windows. Many retailers sell the vinyl tube/aluminum strip packaged in precut lengths with enough material to do the top and sides of one door.
The spring “V” metal strip and interlocking metal are the best permanent types of weatherstripping. Polyethylene and dense, foam rubber are the best nonmetal materials. Nylon pile can flatten out over time.
Eliminating drafts at the bottom of a door is an altogether different process. The key to sealing drafts at the bottom of a door is to have the bottom of the door and the threshold work in harmony – without sticking. There are various means to accomplish this.
First, a look at thresholds. A threshold can be constructed of wood, metal or plastic – or a combination. In addition, the threshold can interlock with the bottom of the door, it can have a vinyl gasket or consist of nothing more than the basic threshold itself. The most common type of threshold is constructed of aluminum without the gasket or interlocking feature.
A threshold is an object of abuse. Aside from any wear and tear it sustains from the constant opening and closing of a door, it is subject to lots of foot traffic. Thus, vinyl gaskets tend to become damaged and interlocking mechanisms bent. Therefore, in the case of a threshold, less is more.
On the other hand, a door bottom or “door shoe” can be the real key to avoiding a drafty door. An aluminum door shoe is shaped like the letter “U,” fits snuggly over the bottom of the door and has a vinyl gasket that seals to the threshold. The door shoe is attached to the bottom of the door with screws through slotted holes that allow for seasonal adjustment. If the vinyl gasket should become worn out it can be replaces without the need to replace the entire door shoe.
Another means of controlling drafts at the bottom of a door is with a door sweep. The door sweep is simply a strip of aluminum that holds a flap of vinyl securely in place. When the door is closed, the flap of vinyl rests snuggly against the threshold. Like the door shoe, the door sweep is attached to the bottom of the door with screws. The door sweep is one of the least effective choices for controlling drafts at the bottom of a door.
An often-overlooked source of drafts is at the bottom of a garage door. Folks with one-piece tilt up garage doors can install a door sweep similar to the type used on swinging doors. Though larger and longer, the concept is the same. Most overhead doors are manufactured with a vinyl gasket or “astrigal” at the bottom of the door. Unfortunately, over time, this gasket can become brittle and cracked, thus losing its effectiveness. The good news is that it can be replaced in a matter of minutes. Depending up the style of your door, you may be required to order this material for a garage door company.
Avoiding the draft. What was a “no-no” in the ‘60’s has become the politically correct thing to do for the environment. The more things change the more they stay the same.