Use Weather-stripping to Save Money

Weatherstripping GasketWeather-Stripping

Since weather-stripping is so important for keeping a weather-tight seal for a home, install some ASAP if you don’t have any (you can see daylight around your door or window). With that said, it can be confusing to know which one is best for what application. Whether you have metal windows or wooden ones, after reading this article, purchasing weather-stripping won’t be such of a task.

Although most people associate weather-stripping with adhesive-backed foam there are actually several different types of weather-stripping, due to different situations and applications. Most can be used for either doors or windows. Your local home improvement store should carry most types of weather-stripping currently available.

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Composed below are 8 main types of weather-stripping. Where they go and how to install them.

The first two are pressure-sensitive types of weather-stripping. Pressure-sensitive type stripping for wooden windows can only be used on the friction-free parts. For example, like the lower sash or on the top sash. The movement of the window would pull loose the strips if installed snugly in the gap between the upper and lower sashes. Generally, the only kind of weather-stripping that can be applied to metal windows is the adhesive-backed pressure-sensitive type. Screws would go through the metal and impede movement of the window.


  1. Adhesive-backed foam

     by far is the easiest type to apply, and it is fairly inexpensive. Available in rubber and plastic, adhesive-backed foam is produced  in rolls with an assortment of lengths and thicknesses. The foam forms a seal when compressed by a door or window, making it air tight. An additional advantage,  is a cushioning effect that lowers slamming noise. This type of weather-stripping can last from one to three years. Avoid getting paint on the material  so the foam will maintain its resiliency.

How to Install

Most common leaks in homes are around doors and windows. weather-stripping  blocks those leaks and can reduce drafts, which will save you money on your heating and cooling bills. Install on a warm day preferably. The adhesive will bond better if applied in temperatures of at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

      • Step 1: Clean the surface of where the weather-stripping is to be with soap and water. Make sure no dirt or grease remains. If weather-stripping had been previously installed, make sure you remove it. Tip: you can use petroleum jelly to remove the old adhesive. After cleaning, dry surface with rags.
      • Step 2: Use scissors to cut strip to fit, but don’t remove backing paper yet.
      • Step 3: At one end, slowly peel away paper backing as you push the foam strip into place. If backing proves difficult to peel, try stretching the foam until backing and foam breaks.
      • Step 4: Installing on a door, attach strips on hinge side to door jamb.
      • Step 5: Installing on a door, attach other two strips to doorstop. If corner of door catches weather-stripping as you close it, trim top piece of foam on hinge side. 

  1. Adhesive-Backed Felt

    besides being very economical, is one of the go to kind of weather-stripping. Felt strips come in a variety of widths and thickness. Consider the different qualities and colors (brown, gray, and black) that they provide to better match the application. To apply, follow the same steps as you would to attach adhesive-backed foam. As with any adhesive-backed strip, adhesion forms better if installed while temperature is 60 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

Felt strips also come without the adhesive backing, but this type must be nailed into place.

Felt strips are not attractive to look at and to me look somewhat cheap for sealing gaps on wooden-frame windows. There are places where felt can be an advantage. For example, the interior side of the upper sash. The strips will then function as horizontal gaskets. You can still attach felt strips to the bottom of the lower sash and the top of the upper sash. Tip: felt strips can go around corners.

Here’s how to install:

      • Step 1: Measure and cut felt to fit window. Push strip snugly against gap.
      • Step 2: Nail each end of the strip first without driving nails flush; so there’s room to pry them out. Start at one end and drive a tack every 2 to 3 inches, pulling felt tight as you go. If you find slack when you reach the other end, remove nail and pull strip to tighten and trim off any excess.


  1. Spring-metal strips (V-shape or single)

    comes in bronze, copper, stainless-steel, and aluminum finishes. Most manufacturers package spring-metal strips in rolls, and they include the brads.

Spring-metal type fits into the tracks around the windows. Make sure each strip is about 2 inches longer than the sash so the strips end is exposed when the windows are closed.

Here’s the installation for a window:

      • Step 1: Position vertical strips so flared flange faces outside. Center strip should be mounted to upper sash with flare aimed down, while other horizontal strips are mounted to top of upper sash and bottom of lower sash with flared flange facing out. Using snips, cut spring-metal weather stripping to size. Be sure to allow for window pulley mechanisms.
      • Step 2: Attach strips to window frame. Position strip properly and note any hinges, locks, or other hardware that might interfere. Trim away metal where needed. Then trim ends of strip at an angle where vertical and horizontal strips meet. Tap in one nail at top and one nail at bottom of strip. Do not put in more nails and do not drive top and bottom nails all the way in. Since some vertical strips do not come with nail holes, you may have to make pilot holes with an ice pick or awl.
      • Step 3: Check to make sure strips are straight and properly positioned. Then drive nail in center of strip — but, again, only partway. Add more nails between starter nails. To avoid damaging strip, never drive any of the nails all the way in with hammer. Instead, drive nails flush with nail set.
      • Step 4: Flare out edge of strip with screwdriver to render snug fit.

Here’s how to install around a door:

      • Step 1: Measure and cut spring-metal strips to size.
      • Step 2: Position side strips so flared flange almost touches door stop. Trim away metal where needed to accommodate any hinges, locks, or other hardware.
      • Step 3: Tap in one nail at each strips end. Do not put in any more nails, and don’t drive top and bottom nails in all the way. If strips do not have pre-drilled holes, make pilot holes with ice pick or awl. Check to make sure side strips are straight and properly positioned.
      • Step 4: Drive nail in center of side strip but only partway in. Then add nails spaced at regular intervals between ends. To avoid damaging strip, never drive nails all the way in with hammer. Instead, drive nails flush with nail set. Repeat procedure for other side strip.
      • Step 5: Put top strip in last, and miter it to fit. Flare out edge of each strip with screwdriver to obtain a snug fit.

  1. Self-sticking spring metal

     has a peel-and-stick backing. These are like the standard spring-metal strips just described, but they are far easier to install. This type of weather stripping works best on wood-framed windows.

Here’s how to install:

      • Step 1: Clean surface where strips are to be placed with soap and water. Measure and cut strips to size with tin snips.
      • Step 2: Put strips in place without removing backing paper, and mark spots for trimming (for example, indicate hardware points and where vertical and horizontal strips meet).
      • Step 3: Peel off backing at one end, and press strip in place, peeling and pressing as you work toward other end.

Self-sticking spring metal can be used in the same places as regular spring metal.

  1. Serrated metal

     is felt-or vinyl-backed weather-stripping that combines the sturdiness of metal with the application ease of felt. Most serrated-metal strips come in rolls that include brads.

Usually serrated-metal stripping with a felt-strip insert running the length of the serrated groove, also can be used to seal air gaps around doors.

To install this type of weather-stripping:

      • Step 1: Measure the length of strips required and use tin snips or heavy-duty scissors to cut to exact lengths.
      • Step 2: Nail each strip at both ends before adding a nail to the center after being aligned.
      • Step 3: Continue to nail every 2 to 3 inches along the rest of the strip.
  1. Tubular and Foam-Filled Gasket Weather-Stripping

Tubular gasket stripping is made of extremely flexible vinyl. It is mainly applied outside where it easily conforms to uneven places. Available in white and gray. Do not paint because it causes the tube to stiffen and lose its flexibility.

Foam-filled tubular gasket stripping is the same as tubular gasket stripping except there is a foam core. The foam provides extra insulating and strength. More important, these stripping will hold its shape better than the hollow-tube type. Again, it should not be painted.

Apply weather-stripping to top of upper sash (if it is movable) and to bottom of lower sash. These are usually the only spots where metal windows allow for air movement. If you find any other gaps, attach a vinyl tubular gasket to the area with a special adhesive formulated to hold vinyl to metal.

If the window is easily accessible from outside the house, then tubular weather-stripping is worth considering. It can also be used to improve existing weather-stripping.

Here’s how to install tubular and foam-filled gasket weather-stripping:

      • Step 1: Begin by measuring strips and cutting them to size with scissors. Cutting all strips for window at one time will save you trips up and down ladder later on.
      • Step 2: Position each strip carefully and drive nail into one end. Space nails every 2 to 3 inches, pulling stripping tight before you drive each nail. Most metal windows are grooved around the edges so the metal flanges will interlock and preclude the need for stripping. Sometimes, though, gaps do exist, and you must apply weather-stripping in such instances.
  1. Interlocking metal weather-stripping

    requires two separate pieces along each edge. One part fits inside the other to form the seal. One piece goes on the door, while the other is attached to the jam. Because installation generally requires professional-level cutting (rabbeting), no step-by-step installation instructions are provided for this type of weather-stripping. If you already have interlocking metal weather-stripping, keep it working right by straightening any bent pieces with a screwdriver, pliers or a putty knife. Casement window gaskets are specially made vinyl channels that slip over the lip of the casement frame. No adhesives or tools — except scissors for cutting the gasket to the proper length — are needed. This weather-stripping is generally available only in shades of gray.

  1. Jalousie gaskets

     are clear vinyl tracks that can be cut to fit over the edges of jalousie louvers. They snap in place for a friction fit.

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If you think about it, you can’t afford not to use weather-stripping in your home. By sealing the air leaks with stripping, it can save you up to 30 percent in your heating and cooling costs. The main purpose of this article is to inform and to keep some extra dollars in your wallet. Take the initiative to install weather-stripping and you will be on your way to be prepared for winter.

For information about thresholds and how to weather-tight them, you can read more by going to creating a weather-tight threshold.


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