Step-by-Step Guide for Installing Weather Stripping

Entryway to a home

Written by My Home Handyman

January 29, 2022

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Energy efficiency is more important than ever before. Homeowners everywhere are looking to make the necessary upgrades so that they waste less energy but get greater efficiency in all areas of their homes.

One of the biggest energy costs comes from improper weather stripping. The doors on your home could be improperly sealed, allowing air to flow in and out. This ultimately equates to higher energy bills because your HVAC system is working harder to compensate. Thankfully, installing weather stripping on your doors is simple.

Installing weather stripping

If you suspect that your doors are letting air in and out of your home, the good news is that there is a quick, easy, cheap fix. All it takes is installing the proper weather stripping around the frame of the door to prevent airflow.

With just a hacksaw, coping saw, and hammer, you can be properly prepared to install weather stripping on your own. Choosing the right weather stripping can be a little difficult, however. In this guide, we will walk you through all that you need to do to find the right weather stripping and get it properly installed.

Step 1: Buying the weather stripping

If anything, this is probably the most difficult part of the equation. For those who are new to weather stripping, or even DIY work in general, it can be a little overwhelming at first. But to make things easier, you generally want to go with something that is wrapped foam.

Wrapped foam is great because it retains its shape, is durable, and can conform to just about any gap. Vinyl and silicone are popular because they offer a cleaner look but they probably won’t cover the gaps all that well. While the choice is ultimately up to you, the best bang for your buck is going to be the wrapped foam type.

Step 2: Tighten your door hinges

You can actually do this step before you head out to find weather stripping. Make sure that you check the door to see if your door isn’t letting in a draft due to loose hinges. Over time and with frequent use, the hinges can loosen and cause gaps.

If the screw doesn’t bite at all, you might have to plug the holes and re-drive new screws in. But at that point, there is a good chance that your door isn’t the most efficient to begin with and likely needs the help of weather stripping.

Step 3: Measuring the door jamb

Before you go grab the weather stripping, you need to know the measurements of the top and side of the door jamb. Just close the door, measuring the top of the jamb starting from one side and going to the other.

You can measure the door’s height starting at the threshold and working up to the top jamb. This lets you know how much weather stripping you need to properly seal everything. It also helps to eyeball the gap; something wider would need a wrapped foam simply to fill in those more pronounced gaps that other weather stripping can’t quite cover.

Step 4: Cutting the top piece

After grabbing the weather stripping of your choice, it is time to head home and get to work. The piece that you buy is likely going to be larger than your door jab, so you’ll need to cut it down to size so that it fits properly.

The foam portion can be cut using sharp scissors or even an Exacto-knife. It is the wood flange that you will need a saw to cut properly. A hacksaw or any fine-tooth saw should do the job properly. Line up your cuts so that they are even and accurate.

Step 5: Nailing the top piece into place

When you have your pieces cut, it is time to nail them into place. You should have 1-1/2” nails for this job. All you have to do is nail the wood flange in and then position the weather stripping accordingly. Make sure that the weather stripping foam covers the length against the door and seals properly.

Make sure that you don’t fully drive the nails into place here, simply tacking the weather stripping into place. That is because you want to measure the length of the sides for the door frame to make for a proper fit.

Step 6: Cutting your side pieces

The next step is to cut out those side pieces. Make sure that you use a scrap piece as a guide to mark the profile of the side pieces. With a coping saw, cut that profile in the wood flange. You can still use your scissors to cut the foam properly.

Make sure that you cut a piece of weather stripping to each side so that it fits into place with the profile of the top piece. To get a tight fit, you’ll need to either sand or file the cut; it won’t be much but it takes a little touch. To get the bottom piece, simply measure and cut, following the same steps for a tight fit.

Step 7: Attaching the weather stripping

With your wood flanges all in place, it’s time to attach the weather stripping. Make sure that it covers the entire length of the door and seals in place. When you are confident it is right, tack nails in, starting 2 inches from the end to avoid splitting. Continue adding nails every 12 or so inches.

When you are done attaching the weather stripping, test it out. Make sure that the weather stripping seals, the door latches properly, and locks. You can make minor adjustments as needed before putting the finish nails in.

Final thoughts

Even the most amateur DIYer out there can install their own weather stripping. Between this guide and some helpful videos, you will have all the knowledge that you need to get the job done. Don’t let your inefficient doors jack up your energy bills any longer. Take a little bit of time, $20-$30, and make your home more efficient than ever before.

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