Weatherize Your Home: Weatherstripping


can seal around movable joints, such as or doors. You need to choose a type of weatherstrip-ping that will withstand the friction, , temperature changes, and wear and tear associated with its location. For example, when applied to a door bottom or threshold, weatherstripping could drag on carpet or erode as a result of foot traffic. Weatherstripping in a window sash must accommodate the sliding of panes— up and down, sideways or out. The weatherstripping you choose should seal well when the door or window is closed while allowing it to open freely.

Choose a product for each specific location. Felt and open-cell foams tend to be inexpensive, susceptible to weather, visible, and inefficient at blocking airflow. However, the ease of applying these mate-rials may make them valuable in low-traffic areas. Vinyl, slightly more expensive, holds up well and resists moisture. Metals (bronze, copper, stainless steel, and aluminum) last for years and are affordable.
They can also provide a nice touch to older homes where vinyl might seem out of place. You can use more than one type of weatherstripping to seal an irregularly shaped space. Take durability into account when comparing costs. The table below describes and compares commonly used weatherstripping.

To determine how much weatherstripping you will need, add the perimeters of all windows and doors to be weather stripped. Then add 5 to 10 percent to accommodate any waste. Also take into consideration that weatherstripping comes in varying depths and widths.


Weather-stripping supplies and techniques range from simple to the technical. Consult the instructions on the weather-stripping package. Here are a few basic guidelines:

  • Weatherstripping should be applied to clean, dry surfaces in temperatures above 20° F (-7° C).
  • Measure the area to be weather stripped twice before you cut anything.
  • Apply weatherstripping snugly against both surfaces. The material should compress when the window or door is shut.
Apply weatherstripping around the movable joints of your doors and windows
Apply weatherstripping around the movable joints of your doors and windows.

Best Uses



Tension seal: Inside the track of a Self-stick plastic (vinyl) double-hung or sliding folded along length in a window, top and sides V-shape or a springy bronze of door. strip (also copper, aluminum, and stainless steel) shaped to bridge a gap. The shape of the material creates a seal by pressing against the sides of a crack to block drafts.

Moderate; varies with material used.

Durable. Invisible when in place. Very effective. Vinyl is fairly easy to install. Look of bronze works well for older homes.

Surfaces must be flat and smooth for vinyl. Can be difficult to install, as corners must be snug. Bronze must be nailed in place (every three inches or so) so as not to bend or wrinkle. Can increase resistance in opening/closing doors or windows. Self-adhesive vinyl available. Some manufacturers include extra strip for door striker plate.

Felt: Plain or reinforced with a flexible metal strip; sold in rolls. Must be stapled, glued, or tacked into place. Seals best if staples are parallel to length of the strip.

Around a door or window (reinforced felt); fitted into a door jamb so the door presses against it.


Easy to install, inexpensive.

Low durability; least effective preventing airflow. Do not use where exposed to moisture or where there is friction or abrasion. All-wool felt more durable and more expensive. Very visible.

Reinforced foam: Closed-cell foam attached to wood or metal strips.

Door or window stops; bottom or top of window sash; bottom of door.

Moderately low.

Closed-cell foam an effective sealer; scored well in wind tests. Rigid.

Can be difficult to install; must be sawed, nailed, and painted. Very visible. Manufacturing process produces greenhouse gas emissions.

Tape: Nonporous, closed-cell foam, open-cell foam, or EDPM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) rubber.

Top and bottom of window sash; door frames; attic hatches and non-operable windows. Good for blocking corners and irregular cracks.


Extremely easy to install. Works well when compressed. Inexpensive. Can be reinforced with staples.

Durability varies with material used, but not especially high for all; use where little wear is expected; visible.

Rolled or reinforced vinyl: Pliable or rigid strip gasket (attached to wood or metal strips.)

Door or window stops; top or bottom of window sash; bottom of a door (rigid strip only).

Low to moderate.

Easy installation. Low to moderate cost. Some types of rigid strip gaskets provide slot holes to adjust height, increasing durability. Comes in varying colors to help with visibility.

Visible. Self-adhesive on pliable vinyl may not adhere to metal.

Door sweep: Aluminum or stainless steel with brush of plastic, vinyl, sponge, or felt.

Bottom of interior side of in-swinging door; bottom of exterior side of exterior-swinging door.

Moderate to high.

Relatively easy to install; Visible. Can drag on carpet. Auto-many types are adjustable matic sweeps are more expensive for uneven threshold. and can require a small pause once Automatically retracting door is unlatched before retracting. sweeps also available, which reduce drag on carpet and increase durability.

Magnetic: Works similarly to refrigerator gaskets.

Top and sides of doors, double-hung and sliding window channels.


Very effective air sealer.

Tubular rubber and vinyl: Vinyl or sponge rubber tubes with a flange along length to staple or tack into place. Door or window presses against them to form a seal.

Around a door.

Moderate to high.

Effective air barrier.

Self-stick versions challenging to install.

Reinforced silicone: Tubular gasket attached to a metal strip that resembles reinforced tubular vinyl.

On a doorjamb or a window stop.

Moderate to high.

Seals well.

Installation can be tricky. Hacksaw required to cut metal; butting corners pose a challenge.