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Gardening : HOMEWISE : Weatherstripping Saves on Heating Bills

November 06, 1994| Special to The Times

QUESTION: What are my best options for door weatherstripping?

ANSWER: Sealing air leaks around the house is generally inexpensive and easy to do. Surfaces that are designed to move, such as windows and doors, are the most difficult to seal against air leakage.

Doors are especially troublesome because they are typically opened and closed many times a day, resulting in lots of wear and tear on the weatherstripping. Wood doors can become warped over time, and also tend to shrink somewhat in the winter due to the dryness of cold air.

Luckily, numerous weatherstrip products appropriate for wood doors are readily available. Costs range from about 10 cents up to $1.10 per linear foot.

Weatherstripping

For low cost and ease of application it's hard to beat the foam-strip and plastic V-strip products that come with peel-and-stick adhesive. These products can provide a good seal, but shouldn't be considered a long-term solution on doors that get a lot of use.

The foam material is usually installed so it's compressed between the door and the door-stop. If your doors are warped, the foam may not make a complete air seal. A better choice for warped doors is the V-strip installed to make contact with the edges of the door.

Aluminum strips with a rubber or vinyl insert are one of the best choices for effective, long-term seal for doors. These products are usually nailed or screwed to the door stop. Careful installation is required so the door makes light contact with the rubber or vinyl insert--too much compression can make the door difficult to close and will substantially reduce the life of the product.

Brass or aluminum spring metal weatherstrip has been around for a long time and is designed to contact the edges of the door. Less visible and less obtrusive than the aluminum strips, this type works well for warped doors, and has a long life.

New on the market are narrow rubber strips designed to be installed in grooves cut into the door way. These systems can provide an excellent air seal with an attractive, custom appearance. These aren't appropriate for severely warped doors and require a special tool to cut the groove.

Written by Rich Prill from the Education and Information Network of the Washington State Energy Office.

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