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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.

Planning a home remodeling? Use our free home renovation estimator to have a fair idea of the total expenditure of your project. 

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 

Sealing doors and windowsWindow Seal, by Oregon Department of Transportation on flickr [CC BY 2.0]

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

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 

Installing foam tapeDave and I do DIY, by Keith Williamson on flickr [CC BY 2.0]

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! 

  • Reinforced foam/vinyl/silicone

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

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. 

  • Door sweeps

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. 

  • Fin seal

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. 

Are you looking for a guide on remodeling? Try our full ultimate guide on home remodel.

Pros and cons of the different types of weatherstripping

Weatherstrip installationPhoto 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
  • Durable
  • Invisible if properly installed
  • Very effective
  • Fairly easy to install
  • You need to make the surfaces flat and smooth before installation
  • Can be a difficult installation when it comes to corners
  • Bronze has to be nailed to prevent it from bending or wrinkling
  • May increase resistance in opening/closing doors or windows
Felt Low cost
  • Easy to install
  • Inexpensive
  • Low durability (unless it’s the expensive all-wool felt)
  • Not very effective in preventing airflow
  • Should not be used in areas with excessive moisture, friction, or abrasion
  • Visible
Foam tape Low cost
  • Extremely easy to install
  • Works well when compressed
  • Inexpensive choice
  • It can be reinforced with staples
  • Durability depends on the material
  • You can expect little wear and tear
  • Visible
Reinforced foam Moderately low
  • Effective sealer
  • Scores well in wind tests
  • Rigid
  • Difficult to install involving sawing, nailing, and painting
  • Quite visible
  • Not eco-friendly as manufacturing produces greenhouse gas emissions
Rolled or reinforced vinyl Low to moderate
  • Easy installation
  • Self-adhesive
  • Some strip gaskets come with slot holes to adjust the height
  • Durable
  • Available in varying colors
  • Quite visible
  • May not adhere to metal
Reinforced silicone Moderate to high Effective sealer
  • Tricky installation
  • Only a hacksaw will cut metal
  • May have butting corners
Magnetic High cost Very effective air sealer Expensive
Door sweep Moderate to high
  • Relatively easy to install
  • Can be adjustable for uneven threshold
  • There’s also an option of automatically retracting sweeps — to reduce the dragging on the carpet
  • Quite durable
  • Visible
  • Automatic sweeps are expensive
Tubular Moderate to high
  • Effective air barrier
  • Self-stick versions available
  • May be challenging to install
Fin seal Moderate to high Very durable
  • Difficult installation
Interlocking metal channels High Exceptional weather seal
  • Difficult installation
  • Needs a professional finish

 

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. 

Last words

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!  

The Essential Guide to Weatherstripping Your House was last modified: October 14th, 2019 by Ramona Sinha
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