How To Repair Door Drafts With New Weather Stripping

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    A friend asks about their front door and wants to know how difficult it would be to replace the weather stripping thats going bad. Unfortunately these things go unnoticed until it starts getting really cold out and then its really not optimal to remove a door to replace the weather stripping.

    If the problem is bad enough it really is worth doing even if you are going to end up getting the whole house cold for an hour or so while you are working and the cold might actually make you work faster so thats a bonus.

    The first thing you want to consider is the type of molding and I find that the best results are to use what the manufacturer decided was best.

    Weather stripping can come in a variety of types from vinyl plastic strips that lock together and older doors will often have the same shape v molding but in steel instead of plastic which I like a lot. Foam weather stripping is also very popular and manufacturers often use a vinyl foam type tube bead that will compress to take up the shape of the door if there are imperfections. The cheapest generic foam pad type strips i would stay away from. They are not hard to install and if you are in an apartment they might be an option but they won’t last long and then you are performing the repair again. Spending an extra $5 is worth it for keeping your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

    Kits are available at many stores but your home store will have a variety of them to choose from. You might also want to contact the manufacturer or find replacement weather strip moldings that are OEM replacements. They will cost more but may be of a better quality so consider this as an option.


    Replacing Weather Stripping On Your Front Door

    Always have your replacement molding available before you start removing the old one. If you need to bring a piece to the store for comparison then cut a small piece off the end with a utility knife don’t remove the whole thing.

    The second thing is replacing the bottom weather strip that gets a lot of abuse will almost always require you to remove the door. This is not always optimal in the dead of winter so throwing a large towel or a special made door pillow in front of the door is not a bad option until you get a warm day and there are always warm days or warmer ones in the winter.

    If you need to remove the door then start by doing this. Using a common 16penny nail first open your door about 1/4 way and then insert the nail into the hole on your hinge that holds the hinge pin. Tap the hinge pin up and out of the hole. For best handling I like to remove the top and bottom hinge pins first and then tap the center pin free. With your one hand hold the door then reach over and remove the center pin. Slide the door off of the hinges and lean it against your wall.

    If it is cold out a plastic tarp can be taped to the outside of your door opening to reduce the cold from getting in.

    Remove the old weather stripping from the door jam on both sides and the top. Then remove the weather stripping from the bottom of the door.

    Wash all of the areas that will accept the new molding and dry fully. You can use a hair dryer if you have one to make sure they are not moist. Moisture will reduce the clinging power of the adhesive on the weather strip.

    Apply the new weather stripping as directed or in the way it was originally placed on the door and jam. Remember if you are using a flexible molding you do not want to stretch it.

    I find that pealing back about 3 inches to get the end of the weather strip in position then allowing the side strips to hang in place and then peal back about a foot at a time and lightly tap it into place works well.

    Don’t cut the end off for length until you get to the other side of the jam or you could come up short. A very sharp utility knife or scissors work well.

    The door will provide the pressure to seal the stripping in place you just want to make sure it is adhered well enough that it won’t shift when you close the door.

    The bottom stripping should be attached as needed with the adhesive backing or possibly with a few small nails.

    Once your weather stripping is in place replace the door on its hinges and test your work. Close the door and allow it to remain shut for a couple minutes. Look for light around the door jam.


    Final Note

    Removing a door in the winter is difficult so never get into removing hinges from the door and jam which can take an extended time to replace and or repair unless you do not have an alternative. Pulling the pin will be enough to service the door except on security doors with external hing pins.

    This is probably a good time to think about adding a storm door to your home. Storm doors are excellent for keeping out the weather and they will reduce your heating and cooling costs. Another benefit is being able to open your main door while still being behind another door when people come knocking.

    This repair is relatively easy but you probably can expect some difficulty lining up your door hinges. Just take your time and soon your door will be draft free.



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