Weather Stripping Installation Tips

Weather stripping installation tips to block the drafts from coming in a home. The cracks around doors and windows are the main cause of air leakage in most homes. Weather-stripping those cracks can reduce heating and air conditioning costs as much as 30 percent.

In many houses, window sashes and doors are grooved to interlock with metal flanges around the frames. If your house lacks this sort of built in weather stripping, the illustrations on these and the following pages will show you how to install other types pf protection.

There are some simple tests to determine your weather-stripping needs. On a cool, windy day, feel for air leaking in by placing your hand on several places along door and window cracks. Another method is to hold a tissue next to the crack to see if it flutters. Or, shine a flashlight along door and window edges from the outside at night while someone inside watches to see if light penetrates.

Once you know your trouble spots you can select the weather stripping best suited to the job. Materials suitable for both doors and windows come in flexible rolls of metal, felt, plastic foam, rubber or vinyl. Types designed for the sides and tops of doors are rigid strips edged with foam, felt or plastic. Several varieties of door bottoms also can be purchased.

All come prepackaged with nails or screws, and include enough stripping to cover at least one door or window. Another type fits a channel routed into the doorjamb or window frame. A professional should install it.

All stripping is installed so the resilient part seals out air by pressing against the door or window. Do not make the seals too tight or windows and doors will not open and close smoothly.

Before beginning, make sure the doors and windows work properly. Doors that do not hang straight may have to be shimmed or sanded to eliminate binding. Sometimes windows will not shut all the way: the top rail of the lower sash and the bottom rail of the upper sash should meet evenly across the center of the window. If they do not, scrape paint or dirt off top and bottom rails and their channels. It may be necessary to sand the top or bottom of the window.

For double-hung windows, the best easily installed seal is the springy metal stripping shown on these pages. Such strips are nailed only along one edge; the other edge springs out to block leaks. Metal stripping is installed so it cannot be seen when the window is shut. Felt, rubber and vinyl weather stripping are easier t install, but not as long lasting and must be mounted in full view on the sash or frame. Casement and gliding windows are more difficult to seal require special solutions

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