Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What I Learned About Weather Stripping a Door

Last week winter finally arrived in Michigan.  Temperatures dropped and reminded me of how drafty my doors are.  (And now it's like spring again, but that's Michigan.)  It only took me six years to finally tackle this project, but I spent all day Friday with my good friend and neighbor shutting down the massive airflow into my house.  This is a classic case of a simple project turning into an all day affair.

Pictures can't really help to convey the draft we had.  Just turn on a fan next to you and there you have it.  Anyhow, my back door was the biggest problem out of all the doors.  There was literally about 3/4 of an inch gap between the door and the frame on the upper left side.  And of course I forgot to take a picture of it before we started, but I do have before and after pics of the weather stripping.

BEFORE: Old weather stripping

AFTER: New weather stripping

I don't have a step-by-step process for you, but I will share a few tips.
  • If you are replacing the bottom weather stripping, it is definitely a two person job.  You will need to remove the door.  I am lucky enough to have a friend who is our local "handy woman".  She knows how to do stuff and she is good!  I was really just her assistant.
  • There are several different kinds of weather stripping.  Know what kind your door needs.  Does yours have a channel or do you need a peel and stick?  Do you need rubber, foam, open or closed foam?  You hardware store should be able to recommend what makes sense for your situation.
  • Don't assume anything. Don't assume the style of weather stripping at the store fits your door. Take the old weather stripping with you to the store to save you trips back again.
  • Again, don't assume.  Just because the bottom weather stripping fits one of your doors, it may not fit your other doors.   Every door is different.  Go to the hardware store prepared.
Remove stripping and bring it to the store with you.
  • Talk to the right person at the hardware store.  Our local Ace Hardware really has a very informative and knowledgeable staff.  We were lucky enough to talk to a man who spent about 10 years putting doors in and had seen it all.  He was definitely the right person.
  • Our back door was so bad that I thought we would need to do a complete redo.  There are things you can do to adjust your door without reframing it or buying a whole new door.  Find out what they are from a qualified source.  Here are some tricks we learned for my back door:
    • It may be that your door settled over the years.  Try putting in longer cabinet screws to adjust any settling your door may have done.  The longer screws will pull the door upward to adjust any wonkiness and help realign it. 
    • If that doesn't work, try hinge shims.  They make shims especially shaped for hinges.  We added two to our bottom hinge, along with weather stripping the perimeter and it did the trick!  The bottom hinge worked for us, but your situation may be different.

After four runs to the store, taking the door off, putting it back up, taking it back down because the bottom weather strip was too short (how did we not notice that before we put it back up???), adding hinge shims to the bottom hinge, putting it back up, taking two more doors up and down and about eight hours later, we got through three doors! Fewww! And we still have two more doors to go, but we are ready!


  1. Hi Kim! Great post! We've been known to stuff rags around our front door to stop the draft. Finally improved some with some weather stripping last year but it's still drafty. Since I'm shooting for a new door, I'm not going to mention this post to my hubby though. But, I LOVE Trevarrow. They are so helpful there. BTW, I'm posting under anonymous cause I'm too lazy to figure out how to do it another way.....


    1. Michelle, thanks for stopping by! Good luck with the new door quest:)!

    2. What's the name of your handy woman, have a couple jobs here she could help with! (ha ha)



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