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How much difference does weatherstripping really make?

As we descend in what promises to be a long and cold winter, many homeowners have already started looking for ways to cut down their winter heating bills and keep their homes warm this coming season.

But you might not need to install loft insulation, cavity wall insulation or splash out for a new boiler. Keeping your home warm and breeze free this winter might be as simple as fixing air leaks in your home with caulking and weather stripping. The latter is an affordable and flexible solution that also helps with noise in the home.


Types of weatherstripping

Several factors will come into play when selecting your weatherstripping besides cost and convenience. The front door might require a more secure seal but the lounge door is probably going to get more use and the stripping will be dragging across the carpet, which could lead to earlier erosion.

In a window sash, meanwhile, the stripping needs to accommodate how the panes slide. Thankfully, there are quite a few options to choose from.

V Strip – This is a durable plastic or metal strip in a ‘V’ shape that springs open to fill air gaps. It’s installed along the sides of a double-hung or sliding window and on top of and at the sides of your doors.

Felt – The most inexpensive option, this roll of felt is installed in the door jamb and will only last around a year or two.

Felt tends to be quite susceptible to harsh weather so is not recommended for exterior doors.

Foam tape – A more flexible weatherstripping option that is installed in the same manner as a V strip.

This type of stripping is sold in a variety of sizes and its flexibility makes it ideal for odd-shaped cracks.

Door sweep – As the name suggests, this is a piece of plastic or metal with a brush attached to it that sweeps underneath the door.

The main benefit here is that it’s easy to install and also has the dual benefit of sweeping up dust and debris.

Rubber, vinyl and silicone – Typically installed into milled grooves at the base of doors and windows and the top or bottom of a window sash, these are easy-to-install strips that operate on a simple peel and stick basis.

Does my house already have weatherstripping?

With many modern doors and windows, you’ll find that they come with factory-fresh weatherstripping, but even that is generally of a lower grade than bespoke stripping and will need to be replaced after heavy use.

There are many doors and windows, meanwhile, that have no factory-installed weatherstripping at all.

To test if your doors and windows already have effective weatherstripping, close them on a single piece of paper.

If you can comfortably pull the paper out when the door or window is closed then the seal is broken and you’ll need to replace your weatherstripping?

Just how effective is it really?

That depends – not only on the weatherstripping but on your home, your doors, and your windows. Generally speaking, it also depends on where in the home the weatherstripping is being installed. Most crucially, however, it depends on how it’s been installed.

Here are a few basic guidelines to help you ensure your weatherstripping truly makes a difference.

  • Weatherstripping should only be applied to surfaces that are clean and dry and in warm temperatures. It should also take up the entire door jamb or window sash.
  • Measure twice and cut once.
  • Apply to both surfaces and ensure the material compresses snugly when your doors and windows are shut. Also make sure that it meets tightly at the corners.
  • Apply one continuous strip on each side.