Different Types of Weatherstripping and How to Weatherstrip Your Home

A guide to choosing weather stripping materials and their uses and applications.
By MOTHER EARTH NEWS Editors
October/November 1991
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Like caulking, the hardest part of weatherstripping is figuring out which material to use. Types of weatherstripping can range from felt, foam, rubber, vinyl and metal weatherstrips. Using this chart, assess your needs in each part of the house, and figure out how much you want to spend. Then, you just need to follow a few simple weatherstripping rules (in addition to the manufacturer's directions):

  • To determine the amount of weatherstripping needed, measure the perimeters of all areas to be weather stripped and then add 10 percent to allow for waste.
  • Before installation, the surface area must be smooth and free of dirt or particles that might prevent the stripping from making a complete seal against the surface.
  • Apply one continuous strip to each joint, making sure that the stripping is tight at the corners.
  • After installation, check to see if it makes contact with the fixed and movable sections of the joint; the material should be slightly compressed when the door or window is shut. Take into account the thickness the stripping will add to a frame; in some cases, the frame or movable parts may have to be planed to permit proper closing.

Types of Weatherstrips

Compression Gaskets Made of Usage
Felt strip cotton, wool or polyester mail slots, storm windows, attic hatch, nonopening windows
Foam tape open-cell (polyurethane), closed-cell (vinyl) open-cell: exterior basement door, attic hatch, storm windows; closed-cell: Dutch doors, metal and wood window casements, nonopening windows, storm windows, exterior basement door, attic hatch, storm door
Sponge rubber neoprene standard door sides, attic hatch, nonopening windows
Gasket and flange vinyl or rubber pet hatch, standard double-hung windows, garage door, exterior basement door, metal window casements, sliding windows, nonopening windows, storm windows, standard door bottom
Reinforced gasket and flange vinyl lip, plastic or wood flange standard door sides and bottoms, storm door, garage door, Dutch doors
Bristles in retainer nylon bristle in metal or plastic retainer sliding doors, sliding windows, storm doors
Tension Strips    
Tension strip metal (copper, brass, bronze, etc.) or plastic (polypropylene, vinyl, etc.) metal: standard door sides, standard double-hung windows, storm windows, Dutch doors, sliding windows and doors, exterior basement door, metal and wood window casements, attic hatch, nonopening windows; plastic: standard door sides, sliding windows and doors, sliding windows, metal and wood window casements, standard double-hung windows
Special Purpose    
Door Sweep vinyl lip with metal, wood or plastic retainer standard door bottom, garage doors, wood threshold
Threshold gasket vinyl gasket; wood or metal threshold

standard door bottom

Magnetic steel magnet and holders in plastic housing pet hatch
Inter-locking formed aluminum or brass Dutch doors
Astragal metal body with vinyl lip Dutch doors

To save even more energy around the house, try these do-it-yourself projects:

Insulating Pipes and Heating Ducts

Oil Burner Tune Up

Quick Checks for an Efficient, Winterized Heating System.

Types of Caulk and Where to Use Caulking

Chalk Characteristics 

Log Home Insulation Saves Energy

 


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