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How to Weatherize Exterior Doors

Do you find your house drafty and uncomfortable in winter? Did you know that there are some simple things you can do to help keep your home cozy and warm even when it’s freezing outside? They are inexpensive DIY projects that even the most novice home improvement person can conquer. Believe me; if I can do them, anyone can….

To start, here are some ideas for reducing drafts around a door:


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Weatherstripping around exterior doors

Step 1- Buy some good quality coated weatherstripping from your local department store. I like EPDM coated products. Do not get the kind where the foam is visible. They tend to corrode quickly.

Step 2 –Remove any old weatherstripping or residue from the opening around the door with a putty knife and rubbing alcohol. The surface has to be very clean for it to stick well.

Step 3- Measure the two sides and top of the door opening and cut three pieces from the roll of weatherstripping. Do not try to turn corners with weatherstripping. Over time the material will pull away from the doorway.

Step 4- Remove the paper backing from the weatherstripping, stick in the appropriate locations and press firmly on the entire length of it to make sure it is attached well.

Step 5- Enjoy a draft free door.

Note: You can also apply this type of press on weatherstripping to the bottom lip of a doorframe. It may not stick in place for too long, but if applied correctly, can last up to a year.  For a longer-term solution, purchase and install a door sweep. Another option for sealing a doorframe is to install semi-rigid and better quality/longer lasting weatherstripping, which are also available at home improvement stores. They must be cut to size and are attached to the doorframe with screws.

Door Sweeps for the bottom of exterior doors

If there is a large gap at the bottom of a door, installing a door sweep might be the ticket. If you are going to attach this to an existing door, you will look for a door sweep that will attach to the front rather than the bottom of the door. These are one-dimensional and usually made of metal and rubber or wood and rubber.

Step 1 – Measure the width of the bottom of the door.


Step 2 – Go to a home improvement store and choose a style and width that will work well for your door.

Step 3 – Cut the door sweep to the appropriate length if necessary.

Step 4 – Drill holes in the door that match up with the holes in the sweep and attach the sweep to the door with screws.


This should help to stop those nasty drafts. If you still feel cold air coming from underneath the door and the door sweep is fitting well, it could be that the air is coming up from the band joist in the basement underneath the door. There are easy ways to seal this area as well, so look for future blog postings on DIY tips for doing that!


By: Helen Reinecke-Wilt




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