Seal Out the Heat: Repairing Weather Stripping for Summer

As the seasons change, keeping your home cozy and energy-efficient becomes crucial. One simple way to enhance your home’s comfort and curb energy waste is by ensuring your doors and windows are properly sealed. Weather stripping plays a pivotal role in this, but when it wears out, you may notice drafts and air leaks creeping into your living spaces. Here’s your guide to checking and replacing weather stripping to maintain an airtight home.

Identifying Worn Weather Stripping

Over time, weather stripping can deteriorate due to exposure to elements, frequent use, and other environmental factors. Annually inspecting your weather stripping for signs of wear is key. Look for peeling self-adhesive foam tape, brittle rubber or vinyl, and bent or cracked metal strips. These are clear indicators that it’s time for a replacement.

Removing Old Weather Stripping

To remove old weather stripping, start with the peel-and-stick foam strips by gently pulling them off by hand. For weather stripping secured with nails or screws, you’ll need to carefully remove each fastener. Ensure you clear out all remnants from the door or window frame to prepare for new weather stripping.

Choosing the Right Weather Stripping

When selecting new weather stripping, consider the application and longevity:

  • Adhesive-backed foam tape is cost-effective and easy to install, ideal for windows and doors that close against a flat surface. However, keep in mind that it typically lasts only 3 to 5 years.
  • V-shaped weather stripping or tension-seal is more durable and suitable for double-hung windows or tight doors. Options range from inexpensive vinyl to higher-end copper or bronze, which are more aesthetically pleasing and last longer.
  • Tubular rubber or vinyl gaskets work best for sealing large or irregular gaps, offering a robust seal. They are available in both adhesive-backed and nail-in varieties, with nail-in types generally offering greater durability.

Preparing the Surface

Before installing new weather stripping, ensure the door or window frame is clean, dry, and smooth. Remove any old adhesive, fill in and sand down old nail and screw holes. A clean surface ensures better adhesion and a smoother installation process.

Installation Tips

  • Follow temperature guidelines for peel-and-stick products, typically requiring at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal adhesion.
  • Start with a small section to ensure the door or window can open and close freely.
  • Accurately measure and cut the weather stripping to fit each section of your frame. Use shears for rubber and vinyl and tin snips for metal stripping.
  • For V-shaped stripping, ensure the open side faces outward to effectively block incoming elements.

Installing Weather Stripping

  • Adhesive styles: Peel off the backing gradually and press the strip firmly into place. Work slowly to avoid sticking the adhesive to unintended areas.
  • Nail-in styles: Secure the stripping by nailing through the preset holes. For double-hung windows, install the lower half first, lower the sash, and then complete the upper half.

By replacing your weather stripping, you not only seal your home from drafts and leaks but also enhance its energy efficiency and comfort. With the right tools and a bit of time, you can ensure your home is well-protected against the elements, saving on heating and cooling costs in the process.