In the dead of winter or the height of summer, you would be surprised at how much the weather stripping around your doors helps to maintain your home’s internal temperatures.
Doors let in twice as much air as windows when they aren’t properly sealed and often won’t close right.
There is typically one of four things going on when your door won’t close tightly on the weather strip—the way your door is hanging within the frame, your door knob is the actual problem, the weather stripping needs adjusting, or you have a wooden door that is swelling.
Considering the environmental factors inside your home, namely your HVAC system and your power bill, this isn’t an issue that you want to put off for the weekend.
Even if you can close the door with the deadbolt, something is going on, and it’s likely your weather stripping isn’t creating a full seal.
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How Does Weatherstripping Work?
Weatherstripping is installed all the way around the door, on the flat edges that slide into the frame when you close it. The strip fits into small grooves around the door and sticks out just enough to create a seal when the door closes.
The seal is designed to prevent air from the outside from getting in. Poor weatherstripping can result in a shockingly high power bill, especially in the winter or summer and when the thermostat is located close to the problematic door.
It also allows outside bugs to get inside, such as mosquitoes, cockroaches, flies, stinging insects, and more. In fact, wasps love to set up shop inside the gap between a door and the door frame.
Disregarding the poor seal will cost you more money and possibly create a scenario where you’re dealing with an infestation.
Why Is Your Door Not Closing Tight Against Weatherstripping?
One of the simplest problems—and it usually happens when you are working on the door—is the latch and striker no longer lining up. It only needs to be off by a hair and it will cause problems. It’s one of the first things you should check because it’s the simplest thing to check.
Adjusting the Door
The door frame may have already been problematic and the installation of new weather stripping is just enough to make the problem present itself in the worst way. It’s a pain to fix and you really need two people to do it.
One person to help hold the door in line with another person to remove the screws in the hinges and make the proper adjustments so the latch and striker line up again.
Swelling wood is a common problem with wood doors and it’s far more prevalent in the summer when the heat and humidity cause the wood to swell. Sanding the edges is often a good way to reduce the edges of the door enough so that it fits within the frame again.
It’s not just the door either. A lot of home doors are made of metal, with the etching in the metal creating a wood look when the door is painted. In this case, it might be the frame that’s giving you a problem, which is generally harder to deal with than adjusting the door.
Compressed, Old Weather Stripping
Weather strips are primarily made from nylon, plastic, or vinyl tubing, all of which are pretty strong and durable. However, over time, everything wears down. Eventually, you end up with a compressed weather strip that may partially block the latch and striker mechanism.
When it’s compressed or frayed, there is really not much you can do about it. The only solution is to replace the entire weather strip. Fortunately, weather strips for doors, whether they’re metal, wood, or storm doors, are not very expensive or difficult to install. We recommend something like this.
How To Fix The Gap Between Your Door and Weatherstripping
If the gap you’re dealing with is regardless of good weatherstripping, there is a pretty easy fix. You can purchase self-adhesive, Hardware Door Corners that slide directly into that gap, filling in the empty space and allowing your weatherstripping to acquire a seal.
They typically come in black or white, which will match 90% of the doors out there. Depending on how extensive the gap is between the door and the frame, you can purchase as many of them as you need and simply stack them along the frame, working your way from bottom to top.
They’re self-adhesive but don’t assume they’ll stick. Door frames are the product of years of dirt and oily, sweaty hands coming and going. If you want to ensure a good stick, sand the frame with fine-grit sandpaper and thoroughly wipe it down before you install them.
Your other option is to go with a beefier weather strip or replace the door entirely. Weatherstripping is very easy to install. The old weatherstripping should pull right out and if it gives you problems, work a narrow, flathead screwdriver in the groove to cleanly scrape it off.
Installing the new weatherstrip is even easier. Cut it to a length that matches your door. Most should come with self-adhesive but if it doesn’t, purchase your own weatherstrip adhesive to go with it.
Why Is Weatherstripping Important To Use?
We’ve covered some of this above but the primary reason is it serves as a stop-gap between the temperatures outside and the temperature in your home. It also keeps the insects out and if you live in places like Florida, south Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, that is all important.
It also keeps the nice, comfortable air inside your home from escaping. It’s not just a matter of keeping the weather out, it’s also a matter of keeping your air inside.
All Things Considered
Weatherstripping is one of the most consequential materials within your home. It’s important to keep it maintained and replace it when it’s necessary to do so.
There are several issues that can cause the level of separation necessary to keep your door from getting a good seal.
If yours door is giving you this kind of problem, get it fixed as soon as possible, before you start paying the price on your power bill.