The big chill

How to seal a door for winter: Tips on keeping out the cold!

Winter is coming, but a big electricity bill doesn’t have to follow. Learn how to seal a door for winter with this easy-to-follow guide.  

How to seal a door for winter: An overview

To save energy this winter, it’s important to check your home for air leaks. The usual suspects for temperature loss during the cold months are cracks and gaps between doors. 

To check the status of your home, go around and inspect all the seals, including outside caulking, gaskets and door sweeps. If any of the seals are worn, chipped or cracked, it’s time to replace them. 

If you have glass windows on your door, insulating the glass with a piece of thermal window film will help seal the door in the winter. 

How to seal door gaps in winter: Replacing door gaskets

Door gaskets are simple to replace, this task only takes a few minutes and requires very few tools. 

Here’s what you need to replace the gasket around the perimeter of the door. 

  • needle nose plyers
  • new weather strip door gaskets
  • putty knife

Here’s how to seal door gaps in winter with gaskets.

  1. Grip the old weather strip gasket firmly with the plyers and pull it loose from the door frame. Start in the corner for an easier grip. 
  2. Push the ridged edge of the new gasket (the spline) into the door frame, starting in the corner. Use a putty knife to gently help the spline into the door frame if it’s difficult to push by hand. 

Now that you’ve secured the perimeter of the door, let’s seal the bottom. 

How to seal a door from cold air: Choosing and installing a sweep

A gap at the bottom of the door is normal. Doors need to sit off the ground a little, or else they scrape the floor when opened. But gaps also can lead to drafts. A door sweep is a useful tool to help control the draft that comes in the house. 

There are multiple kinds of door sweeps to choose from. Interlocking sweeps, automatic door bottoms, adhesive backed, magnetic, and U-shaped vinyl sweeps. Each type of sweep is specialized for a different type of door and has a different installation method. 

To choose the right sweep for your door, consider the type of door – is it residential or commercial? How big is the gap under the door? What’s the material? For most residential homes, a U-shaped vinyl sweep is the best choice, but always check the length of the gap and make sure you choose a sweep that reaches the floor. 

Here’s how to seal a door for winter with a U-shaped vinyl sweep.

  1. Remove the old sweep from the door by prying it away with a screwdriver or pulling it with your hand. If it’s screwed into the door, remove the screws and slide it off. 
  2. Measure the length of the door and cut the new sweep to the appropriate length.
  3. Slide the vinyl sweep onto the door, pushing it all the way into place. 
  4. Screw the sweep into place at the predrilled screw holes.  

Most newer doors have door corner seals, but if yours doesn’t, consider adding them. Door corner seals add an additional layer of protection from the elements.