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Weatherstripping is an effective way of sealing all the openings of your house, including doors and windows. The purpose of weatherstripping is to prevent the harsh elements of nature such as rain, water, and wind from entering your abode — while keeping the interior air trapped in.
Prepping up your home for winter? One of the first things you need to focus on is weatherstripping your house. You can use the effective method to seal all the air leaks around the movable components of your house, such as doors or operable windows.
FYI: Caulk will be the ideal material for filling cracks and gaps in the stationary building components of your house.
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Weatherstripping doors or windows will make your home feel warmer — with no gaps to allow the cold outside air in. It will also trap the inside warm air for the most perfect and cozy winter.
Did you know, sealing gaps with weatherstripping can save you 10 to 15 percent on your energy bills? Yes, it does. No wonder, you need to take your weatherstripping seriously!
Whether you want to use weatherstripping for a DIY project or hire a professional for the home improvement, you must be aware of the most common weatherstripping choices you have in terms of material and profile.
But with so many different types of weatherstripping at your local hardware store, choosing the right one for a specific purpose can be a tad difficult. Don’t worry, we’ve simplified the process for you.
In this article, we have curated a list of the most popular types of weatherstripping so that you’ll know which one to install in order to chase the chill away.
Popular types of weatherstripping
Here’s a list of the common types of weatherstripping to make things easy for you. We’ll also zero in on the pricing as well as the pros and cons of each type later in the article.
V Strip aka tension seal (vinyl, copper, aluminum, and stainless steel)
V strip is a durable plastic or metal strip. As the name suggests, it folds into a ‘V’ shape. Interestingly, it springs open when it’s bridging the gaps. It’s perfect for sealing the sides of a double-hung window as well as a sliding window, or on the top and sides of a door. It creates a snug seal by pressing against the sides of a crack to block drafts.
This DIY weatherstripping is pretty easy to use. Just cut out the desired length with a pair of scissors, peel, and stick. Install with finishing nails. And there it is, all ready!
If instead of weatherstripping your windows you are thinking of replacing them, try our free estimator tool to see how much your window replacement cost would be!
Felt weatherstripping comes in rolls, either as plain or reinforced with a pliable metal strip. Keep in mind that it usually lasts only a year or two. And that’s why it’s typically inexpensive. DO NOT use it in areas that are exposed to moisture or where there is friction or abrasion.
It goes well around a door or window sash. Also, in the door jamb — allowing it to compress against the door.
Its installation is also pretty easy. All you need is to cut the roll into the desired length with a utility knife and staple or nail it in place. Simple, isn’t it?
Foam tape is made from an open or closed-cell foam or a sticky EPDM rubber. This type of weatherstripping is ideal for irregular-sized cracks as it’s available in varying widths and thicknesses. It’s best installed in the top and bottom areas of window sashes and inside door frames.
The tape is as easy as it gets when it comes to installation. Cut out the desired length and stick!
When it comes to closed-cell foam, you also have the option of choosing reinforced foam or vinyl or silicone. All of them are effective sealers. However, keep in mind that the installation is a bit more difficult. It has to be sawed, nailed, and painted. And, it’s quite visible.
FYI: Reinforced foam scores well in the wind tests. Rolled or reinforced vinyl is a pliable or rigid strip gasket that’s attached to wood or metal strips. It best suits your door or window stops. You can also use it on the top or bottom of a window sash or the bottom of a door.
A reinforced silicone is attached to a metal strip and is ideal for door jambs or a window stop.
Magnetic weatherstripping works similarly to your refrigerator gaskets. It’s an effective air sealer that’s best suited for the top and sides of a door. You can use it even on double-hung and sliding window channels.
Keep in mind that the cost is a bit on the higher side.
For the sake of first-time homeowners, let’s revisit door sweeps. These are flat pieces (of plastic, aluminum, or stainless steel) that are fitted with a strip of nylon, plastic, or vinyl, or a sponge brush. Typically, they fill the space between the door and threshold. And, usually, go along the bottom of the interior side of a door.
Just cut out the width you require to match your door size and install the sweep with screws.
Tubular rubber, vinyl, or silicone
This type of weatherstripping is an effective air barrier. The narrow sponge rubber or vinyl tubing typically come attached to a wood or metal mounting strip while the silicone ones are usually inserted into milled grooves.
The ideal place to install them is at the base of doors and windows, top or bottom of a window sash, and between a door and its jamb.
The installation depends upon the type it is. Silicone seals are pressed into a channel you create with a router. For the other two, you can either peel and stick or fasten with screws through slot holes.
This type of pile weatherstrip comes with a plastic Mylar fin in the center. It’s an ideal choice for aluminum sliding windows and sliding glass doors. More importantly, it’s very durable if you know how to install it properly. Do know that its installation can be a tad tricky.
Interlocking metal channels
These interlocking channels enable the sash to engage one another when closed. They are ideal for the area around your door perimeters.
Needless to say, the alignment part is very critical. Improper installation will not do justice to this exceptional weather seal. It’s best if you hire a professional for the job.
And, it’s no surprise that the cost of this premium product is high.
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Pros and cons of the different types of weatherstripping
Photo by David Fine [Public domain] from wikimedia commons
Check out the table below for some easy takeaways:
|Type of weatherstripping||Pricing||Pros||Cons|
|Tension seal or self-stick plastic||Moderate; the cost depends on the material||
|Foam tape||Low cost||
|Reinforced foam||Moderately low||
|Rolled or reinforced vinyl||Low to moderate||
|Reinforced silicone||Moderate to high||Effective sealer||
|Magnetic||High cost||Very effective air sealer||Expensive|
|Door sweep||Moderate to high||
|Tubular||Moderate to high||
|Fin seal||Moderate to high||Very durable||
|Interlocking metal channels||High||Exceptional weather seal||
Choosing the right weatherstripping
You need to know all the facets of the weatherstripping you choose for your home. Before applying it, you will need to do some homework too. Here’s how to take the first step towards selecting the right type of weatherstripping and applying it for a seamless job:
- Detect all the air leaks in your home. It’s easier to seal them if you know their exact location.
- Apply the weatherstripping to a clean, dry surface.
- Measure the location twice before cutting your strip or tape.
- Assess your ventilation needs in order to ensure adequate indoor air quality.
- Choose a type of weatherstripping that will withstand extreme weather, any friction, temperature changes, and wear and tear. For example, if you’re applying it to a door bottom or a threshold, make sure it doesn’t drag on the carpet or erodes easily due to heavy foot traffic. If you’re using weatherstripping in a window sash, ensure that it accommodates the sliding of panes (up and down, sideways, or outwards).
- Apply the strip snugly.
- Ensure that your weatherstripping seals well when the door or window closes completely. It should allow them to open freely.
- When it comes to your exterior doors, remember to weatherstrip the entire door jamb, use one continuous strip along each side, and ensure that the strips meet tightly at the corners.
- Choose weatherstripping that is perfect for that specific location. For instance, the inexpensive felt and open-cell foams tend to be inexpensive and easy to apply. However, they are susceptible to weather and inefficient at blocking airflow. You can use these in low-traffic areas. For high-traffic areas, vinyl (slightly more expensive), is more suitable as it holds up well and resists moisture.
- Take durability into account when comparing weatherstripping costs. Go for metal weatherstripping (bronze, copper, stainless steel, and aluminum) if you want it to last really long. The options are affordable too. FYI: Bronze looks really good on older homes.
- Opt for more than one type of weatherstripping if you want to seal irregularly shaped space.
- Always look for the registered trademark on the weatherstripping and go for quality ones.
We hope this all-encompassing guide on weatherstripping will help you in choosing the right one for your home. It’s essential that your final selection makes the chills go away during the winter season. After all, a cozy and snug home is a happy home!
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