Insulating around old windows/doors


Old 05-14-02, 08:45 AM
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Insulating around old windows/doors

Our house is about 55 years old. There was NO insulation in it. We had some blown in, but there is still a huge draft that comes from the windows and doors. What can I do about this..? We can't afford new windows, but we need to plug up the spaces around the windows.
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Old 05-22-02, 08:56 AM
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You can go to this is another page on this site that sells products. It gives a brief description of the different products, you can either purchase it on site or go to HD, Lowes, etc. They probably have it too. You may want to compare prices too. There are instructions on the packages.
Old 05-22-02, 08:43 PM
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The opening that windows and doors are installed into is called a rough opening. In most cases, the space between the casing and the rough opening framing is around 2 inches the perimeter of the window or door. The reason for this is the load of the wall is transferred around the opening.

If you want to insulate this area, you can use foam that you can purchase at any hardware store, HD, or Lowes. If comes in cans and make sure a straw comes with it. People have tendancy to steal the straws because they lost theirs.

To insulate this space between the casing and framing, you have to remove the molding around the window or door. Be careful taking them off because you're going to put them back after you're finished. If the moldings are painted, use a razor to break the paint seal around the molding on both the wall and jamb before you take off the molding.

Once the moldings are off, take a small nail and drive it into the wall about 1 inch from the jamb and 3 inches from the bottom of the window or door. You're trying to locate this space and once you do drill holes large enough for the straw can fit into in this space around the perimeter of the window or door every 3 inches. You don't have to worry about the holes, the foam will probably fill them and the molding is going to cover them. You start filling the space with the foam at the bottom, then the sides and the top last.

If you were careful removing the moldings, make sure the nails are not bent and they go on easily into the original holes. If there's a little foam coming out of the holes you drilled, that's good because the foam is a good adhesive and will hold the moldings in place. If a lot of foam is there, remove it before putting back the molding.


1. Wear old clothes, gloves, protective eye wear and a hat.

2. Read instructions carefully.

3. Buy a bottle of acetone or nail polish remover and have some rags handy.

4. Cover the floor where you'll be working with a sheet or old blanket.

5. Whenever you leave this work area, check the bottom of your shoes and clothing for foam.

6. If an accident does occur and the foam drops on the floor, you can get it up by wetting a rag with the acetone or nail polish remover and wiping it up immediately. If you didn't notice the foam dropped and a period of time has pasted, you might have to let it cure and then scrape it up.

Good Luck with your project.
Old 05-23-02, 05:42 AM
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There are different kinds of foam with different kinds of applicators. The ones at HD all use straws. There is one that has an expansion ratio of 3 to 1 and another 2 to 1. One you hold upside down to apply and the other right side up.

I suggest you buy one can of each. OUTSIDE in an area where you won't mind if foam drops and wear old clothes, try each can out after reading the instructions carefully. Choose the one YOU find easier to work with. It may cost you more to do so, but you'll be a lot happy with the results.

As far as how many cans you'll need to do a window, it depends on the size of the wall cavity you're filling and the amount of foam in each can. This will vary. Buy more than what you think you'll need, you can always bring them back and sure beats having to go to HD just for a can to finish the job. Don't buy them until you determined with one you want.

I strongly suggest that you take your time. Do one window at a time, especially if this is your first time doing this. You're going to make mistakes and don't be discouraged by it. It's part of the learning process. So don't choose your living room to be the first window you try.

You didn't say how old your home is, I'm assuming that your windows are being held up by CBW's and not weights attached to ropes or chains. If they are, you're going to have to install a CBW's before you can insulate. If you don't know what they are, you can go to and it expains to you what they are.
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