When you feel a cold draft or you notice that your utility bills are higher than they should be, it’s likely you have air infiltration or inadequate insulation. One of the common culprits in the home is your exterior doors. Replacing exterior door weatherstripping may reduce your energy costs and stop those drafts from entering the home. This project is easy and inexpensive, even for a novice.
Step 1 - Remove old Weatherstripping
First, remove the old weatherstripping if there is any. Open the door and look along the top, the sill, and the door jamb. If you find old weatherstripping held in place with an adhesive, grab it near an end and gently pull. Once you have a section loose pour some alcohol over it to help in dissolving the adhesive. Use a putty knife or a paint scraper to pull the weatherstripping away from the frame and door. Once removed you can clean any remaining adhesive with Goo Gone adhesive remover or soapy water and a scrubbing pad to clean the surfaces of any residue.
If the old weatherstrip on the door sill is an aluminum strip type and also needs to be replaced, check for retaining screws and remove them if there's any, and if it's just stuck on with an adhesive strip (unlikely), pry it gently from the base of the door with a small pry bar or the claw of your hammer.
Step 2 - Choosing the right product
Door Weatherstripping usually comes in a precut kit that includes the two side pieces slightly longer than the doorjambs, a similar but shorter piece that will accommodate the top once you cut it to length, and possibly the sill piece, usually with an aluminum attachment strip to better cope with the foot traffic. The sill weatherstrip can also be purchased separately leaving you the choice of a more rugged type to better withstand the heavier wear.
So before buying the weatherstrip, measure the height and the width of your door so that you can purchase the right kit and sill piece. It comes in standard sizes to fit most doors, so get the one that is the closest fit.
Step 3 - Install the New Weatherstripping
Cutting the sill piece first at the exposed length to be covered will prevent you from having to make intricate cutting around the jamb pieces. Once you have it cut, secure it in place with its adhesive strip, unless it's supplied with screws or nails, depending on which way it goes on. Place it in position with the door closed and while you're applying slight pressure with it against the door sash. It should not be so tight as to impede the door movement when closing it.
The strike jamb weatherstrip is the next piece to install. It should be cut to perfectly fit in-between the header and the top of the weatherstrip at the sill. Here again, it must be installed with the door closed so it only applies minimum resistance against the door sash so as to not hinder the door closing. Repeat the same steps for the hinge jamb.
As you might expect, the header's weatherstrip is cut last to exactly fit between the two weatherstrips already installed on both door jambs. You simply cut it to length and install it as previously described for the jambs.