Door Weatherstrip Replacement
Door weatherstrip replacement is an often overlooked but important part of the overall maintenance of your home. With today’s heating and cooling costs it is more important than ever to maintain an energy efficient home. Each time your door is opened energy used to condition the air inside your home is lost. If your door weatherstrip is damaged or misaligned this energy loss is constant. Besides energy loss; missing, damaged or loose door weatherstrip may admit insects and spiders, which in my experience, is often a more decisive call for maintenance action than energy loss.
Age and extended use may cause any door weatherstrip to fail, but often a damaged door weatherstrip is an indication of other problems that should be addressed before replacing the seal. Before replacing a door weatherstrip check for the following:
- If there is a draft or insects are entering but the weatherstrip seems intact the door may be warped, improperly installed or the threshold may need adjusting. A warped door or door jambs that are out of parallel will cause the door to seal tightly in some areas and loose or not at all in other areas. Warped doors or nonparallel jambs should be replaced professionally.
- Loose or stripped hinge screws may allow the door to sag away from the hinge side of the jamb. This may cause wear on the door edge and jamb; wear or improper fit of the door weatherstrip; or misalignment of the lock-set or dead-bolt with their strike plates. Repairing the stripped screw holes and tightening the screws will usually bring the door back into proper alignment.
- Sometimes a sagging door is cause by foundation settling or structural failure due to rot or termites. This is best diagnosed and repaired professionally.
- Pets scratching at the door to get back in often damage the weatherstrip near the bottom of the door, usually on the latch side. Installing a storm door will protect the door weatherstrip although the storm door may become the focus of future scratching. Another option is the installation of a pet door, which will eliminate the need for your pet scratching at the door. For those that don’t want a pet door in their entrance door, lockable storm doors with built in pet doors are available.
Once any issues listed above have been addressed the door weatherstrip may be replaced. Modern door weatherstrips are usually either compression type or on some steel doors magnetic. Older doors may have tack on metal or vinyl weatherstrip. For older doors an exact match to the existing weatherstrip may no longer be available. If an exact match can not be found there are several retrofit styles that may work. Often, excessive wear and a poor fit make replacing the entire door unit a worthwhile investment.
Door weatherstrip for newer doors is readily available at most hardware stores. Replacing it is not too difficult but care should be taken to ensure that it is cut to the correct length and properly seated in the receiver groove located in the door jamb.
Please note: When removing the existing door weatherstrip be aware that tiny pin nails are sometimes driven through the jamb to prevent the ribbed part of the strip from disengaging from the grove in the jamb. If these pin nails are present they must be driven deeper with a small nail or nail set until they are no longer securing the weather strip in the groove. Take care not to split or damage the door jamb; by yanking on the weather strip before the pin nails are punched through, or while using the nail or nail set to punch the pin nails through.
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