3 simple steps to draft-proof a door

When it comes to energy efficiency, the best time to start plugging drafts is in the fall. A simple job that takes a few minutes, such as replacing the seals around your door, can make a big difference in terms of saving money. Here's how to draft-proof doors in three simple steps.

3 simple steps to draft-proof a door

What you'll need

Fixing drafty door issues doesn't require any fancy tools. You'll need:

  • Tape measure and utility knife
  • Nails (use 16 mm or 5/8 inch nails) which may be included with the weather-proofing material you  purchase
  • Hammer
  • Screws and screwdriver
  • Hacksaw
  • Awl (to punch holes)

Among the types of weatherstripping available you'll find:

  • Nail-on vinyl or rubber threshold strip – sometimes referred to as a "U-shape"
  • Door seal or sweep which attaches to the bottom of the door
  • Self-adhesive seal foam tape
  • Foil strips

1. Measure twice, cut once

Before installing anything, ensure the door jamb is clean. If you're working on an old wooden door, scrape off any loose paint to ensure a snug fit.

For drafts at the bottom of doors, where gaps often occur:

  • Measure the width of the door jamb at the inside on the bottom while the door is closed. Then remeasure again to ensure you have the correct length.
  • Cut a length of sweep you need according to your measurement.
  • Older doors can be slightly warped. Similarly, older homes may not have standard size doors. As such, your measurement could potentially differ from door to door.

2. Nail your sweep to the door

Nail your sweep to the bottom edge of the door.

  • Before you hammer in too many nails, first adjust the sweep so that it seals snugly along the edge of the door jamb. It may not look "square" because the floor may slope. Most important is that it seals drafts properly.
  • Make sure the brush or "sweeping" part extends over the edge of the door stop so that it just barely touches the floor when it's closed.
  • Hammer in the remainder of the nails so the sweep isn't loose.

3. Install self-adhesive foam tape

Around the edges of doors is another spot gaps may occur. To plug drafts, self-adhesive vinyl foam tape is a godsend.

  • Simply measure the length of the door on the inside of the jamb.
  • Cut the self-adhesive tape to length.
  • Apply the tape around the sides and top edge of the door jamb. Ensure any old tape is removed and the surfaces are clean.

When you close the door, the foam compresses and voilà! It prevents cold air from leaking in.

  • This tape can be super sticky to use, so you'll want to place it in position when applying since repositioning can be difficult.
  • Self-adhesive foam tape is excellent for weatherproofing doors that are slightly warped and have uneven gaps around the edges of the jamb.

Making your door safe and sound

There are a few extra things you can do to your doors that will make a big difference to both your comfort and security.

Repairing a hole
To repair a hole in a hollow door, first remove any splinters and then fill the hole with expanding foam – the kind used to insulate gaps around windows and doors works well.

  • Leave the foam to cure overnight.
  • Trim away excess and coat with plaster filler.
  • When the filler has dried, sand and paint your patch.

 Filling very small gaps
Sometimes a drafty gap is so thin that self-adhesive foam tape is too much.

  • A strip of of clear silicone sealant  applied to the edges of a door will create an almost invisible barrier against drafts.

Rattling doors
If the door rattles when closed, you may want to add some "spacers".

  • Simply dot the door jamb with a few self-adhesive felt pads, small blobs of silicone sealant about 6 mm (1/4 in.) thick, or use purpose-made stops.

When you shut the door, these "spacers" hold it firmly against the door frame, so the door won't rattle if it's windy outside.

Replacing a peephole
If your peephole doesn't always show you who's there, install a wide-angled viewer.

  • Similarly, if you feel cold air leaking around your peephole, you may need to remove it and add insulation, or else secure it properly in the door if it's loose.
  • If your door is fire-rated, choose a viewer that won't affect the rating. Should you live in an apartment building, check with the manager or superintendent first if he or she will do the work for you.

Follow these three simple steps (and extra tips) to make your doors draft-proof, improve your comfort and security, as well as your home's energy efficiency.

Leaky doors are among the worst offenders when it comes to losing money and energy in winter. The good news is small gaps the let drafts in are easy and inexpensive to fix, using a few simple tools.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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