You can use weatherstripping in your home to seal air leaks around movable building components, such as doors or operable windows. For stationary components, caulk is the appropriate material for filling cracks and gaps.
Choosing Weatherstrip Materials
Choose a type of weatherstripping that will withstand the friction, weather, temperature changes, and wear and tear associated with its location. Weatherstripping in a window sash must accommodate the sliding of panes — up and down, sideways, or out. The strip you choose should seal well when the door or window is closed but allow it to open freely.
Choose a product for each specific location. Felt and open-cell foams tend to be inexpensive, susceptible to weather, visible, and inefficient at blocking airflow. However, the ease of applying these materials may make them valuable in low-traffic areas. Vinyl, which is slightly more expensive, holds up well and resists moisture. 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.
You can use more than one type to seal an irregularly shaped space. Also take durability into account when comparing costs.
To determine how much weatherstripping you will need, add the perimeters of all windows and doors to be weather-stripped, then add 5% to 10% to accommodate any waste. Also consider that they come in varying depths and widths.
Weatherstripping supplies and techniques range from simple to the technical.
Here are a few basic guidelines:
- Should be applied to clean, dry surfaces in temperatures above 20°F (-7° C).
- Measure the area to be weather-stripped twice before making a cut.
- Apply snugly against both surfaces. The material should compress when the window or door is shut.
When weatherstripping doors:
- Choose the appropriate door sweeps and thresholds for the bottom of the doors.
- Weatherstrip the entire door jamb.
- Apply one continuous strip along each side.
- Make sure the strip meets tightly at the corners.
- Use a thickness that causes it to press tightly between the door and the door jamb when the door closes without making it difficult to shut.
For air sealing windows, apply weatherstripping between the sash and the frame. The weatherstripping shouldn’t interfere with the operation of the window.