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How to Fix a Drafty Door

Does Your Door Have a Tight Enough Seal?

Did you know that a ⅛-inch gap around the perimeter of your door can let in as much air as a small window left open halfway?

Air gaps let the harsh winter weather in and allow the heat to escape. This can force your heater to work much harder than it should, causing a spike in your energy bills and making it hard to keep your home at a stable temperature.

During the summer months, warm air might cause you to crank the air conditioning up to keep your home at a comfortable temperature, but again, this nice cool air is leaking back outside into the heat.

Energy bills aren’t getting lower anytime soon which is why energy efficiency is a top priority in a home or building. Besides higher energy costs, a drafty door can let in moisture and critters, both of which can do quite a bit of damage.

All of these factors can take a toll on your personal comfort. 

Why Do Door Drafts Happen?

A draft occurs when gaps form around doors (and windows), allowing outside air inside your home or building. 

When drafts do happen, windows are often blamed and a drafty door may be overlooked. Drafty doors can be caused by degraded weather stripping that has become worn, torn or broken over time. Animals and children can pull at it, it can break down in the elements, or it could have been incorrectly installed in the first place.

First, inspect all parts of your door:

Check to see whether:

  • The hinges are in good repair and secure

  • Screws aren’t loose or missing

  • The door sweep is properly installed

  • The threshold of the door is tightly attached

  • There is any warping (if the door is made of wood)

Warped doors will need replacing by a professional. Rest assured, at Modern Windows, we have a wide variety of high-quality doors for you to choose from.

How to Tell When You Have a Drafty Door

As we mentioned, inconsistent heating or cooling and unusually high energy bills can be like a flashing neon sign that your home or building may not be as airtight as you think. 

If energy usage is an issue, it can be helpful to have your home or building professionally evaluated. Receiving a comprehensive energy audit can pinpoint potential issues, not just with drafty doors, but with insulation and any issues with your home’s envelope.

If you suspect a draft is coming from a door, try placing a piece of paper in front of your door. If the paper starts moving, you’ve found the source of the problem. This super easy test will help you figure out your next move.

If you find that you’re running heating and cooling all the time and suspect a drafty door is the culprit, here’s how to fix it:

How to Replace Your Door’s Weather Stripping

As far as guarding your door against a draft, there are basically two components: the weather stripping and the door sweep. 

Replacing weather stripping doesn’t require extensive home improvement knowledge, just a little bit of elbow grease.

The most common types of weather stripping are metal, plastic or foam. Silicone is another popular choice because of its increased durability against ever-changing temperatures and humidity. As we experience hotter summers and colder winters in BC, silicone-based weather stripping is a solid option to help protect against drafty doors and windows.

  1. Carefully remove the old weather stripping.

  2. Measure the gap between the door and jamb, then the door and stop when the door is closed.

  3. Select your weather stripping based on how big the gap is that needs to be filled. 

  4. Cut your choice of weather stripping material down to the correct size needed.

  5. Place the weather stripping on the top part of your door frame first.

  6. After you’ve measured, cut, and placed the top piece, do the same steps for the side pieces.

  7. Ensure all pieces create an air-tight seal against the door and make sure the door shuts completely.

Remember, the more precise the measurements, the stronger the seal will be.

The weather stripping will ensure draft prevention from the top and sides of your door, where a door sweep will cover the space between the threshold and the door’s bottom. When in doubt, most do-it-yourself kits have step-by-step guides readily available!

How to Replace Your Door Sweep

You can find cost-effective door sweeps from most local hardware stores.

  1. Begin by measuring the width of the inside of your door.

  2. Cut your new door sweep to whatever measurement you need by running a sharp pair of scissors along the door’s bottom.

  3. Use a hacksaw to trim the flange down to meet your measurements.

  4. Screw the door sweep onto the door.

  5. Double-check to ensure you can open and close your door without anything getting caught or resisting the motion.

Your door sweep won’t last as long if it drags too much on the carpet or floor. Make sure it’s positioned correctly so there’s only a small space to open and close completely without catching on the door sweep. 

The bottom corners of a door are often overlooked when it comes to drafts. Use pieces of thick felt to finish the complete seal. You can easily nail these foam pads in the bottom corners by measuring the length you need to fill in the last gaps.

Other Solutions For An Airtight Seal

Replacing your weather stripping and floor sweep are typically the cheapest and easiest solutions for a drafty door.

  • Using foam tape and foam insulation is another viable solution.

  • Rolling up a towel or piece of heavy fabric against the bottom of the door works well.

  • Draft snakes are very effective against drafts. Those are long tubes filled with sand that you can place at the foot of a door to block drafts.

  • If a door snake isn’t doing the trick, try hanging an old quilt over your door (or potentially look at getting a new door)

Modern Will Find The Right Solution

If none of these tips work, it could be that your doors (and windows) are in need of replacement. At Modern Windows, we offer a huge variety of energy-efficient doors and windows, including custom made vinyl and aluminum windows, doors with insulating polyurethane cores, energy efficient patio doors and so much more! There are currently many rebates available to homeowners who upgrade windows and doors to more energy efficient models.

Our solutions will not only maximize your energy efficiency, but add your personal touch to your home’s exterior with a wide selection of designs, textures, finishes and colours. For a no-obligation quote about our expert services for all exterior finishings for your house, phone or email us today.

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