how to fix a drafty door

view of a door with wind blowing underneath in the gap between the bottom of the door and the floor
Tools Needed
1 Screwdriver
2 Tape measure
3 Hammer
4 Nails
5 Weatherstripping kit
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Materials Needed
1 Sweep
2 Foam Tape
3 Scissors
4 Door Snake
5 Towel
6 Caulking
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Total Cost
$10-$25
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Estimated Time
15-30 Minutes
Skill Level: Beginner
The total cost and duration may vary when hiring a handyman!

Project Overview

person kneeling in front of a door

We waste enough money and energy trying to keep our homes warm in the winter. Don’t let this energy and money leak through the cracks in your drafty doors. Poor insulation in your doors can have a number of causes. If you can figure out what the problem is, it will make it much easier to repair. Some of the solutions below might be helpful. If you are unable to distinguish what the exact problem is, then just try the solutions below, and your home will be more comfortable, efficient, and inexpensive to heat and cool.

Step-By-Step Instructions

1

Tighten Hinges

If you have a drafty door, the first thing you will want to check is for loose hinges. This is the first thing you want to check for because if your problem is loose hinges, it is a far easier and cheaper fix than any others. To check for loose hinges, all you need to do is lift the door from the knob. If the door budges either up or down, that means your hinges are loose.

If you discover that your door has loose hinges, just take a screwdriver and tighten the screws. However, if you tighten these screws and still feel a draft, you probably have another problem as well.

2

Weather Stripping Top and Side Jambs

person applying weather stripping to the door frame

If you believe that damaged weather stripping is the cause of your draft, you are able to buy weatherstripping kits at many hardware stores. The first step is to buy your kit and read the directions. Then you will want to measure the top of your door frame, followed by the side. You want to make sure these measurements are as precise as possible. Remember that you are trying to stop the draft and make your door airtight.

To ensure that you get this airtight fit, test the weatherstripping before really nailing it in the frame. Ensure that it is compressed just enough, not too much. Make sure that your door will close, latch, and lock.

3

Install New Sweeps

person installing a new door sweep

If you notice that the draft is coming from below the door, especially if you notice you can see light through the bottom of the door when it is closed, then you will need to install new door sweeps. Door sweeps are more durable than weatherstripping. However, for some, weatherstripping will be the ideal option, even in the threshold. To check to see if sweeps will work for you, look at the height of your flooring. Is it an even height with the threshold of your door? Is the flooring higher than the threshold? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you will not be able to use sweeps on your door.

Of course, the first thing you will want to do is measure the length of the threshold to see how long your sweep will need to be.  Then, you will cut the flexible flap and flange to size. Put the door sweep in where you plan to install it. Then measure, mark, and drill your pilot holes.  Position the new sweep, apply pressure, and drive the screws in where needed. To test the seal and fit, open and close your door. To ensure a great seal, you then want to cut out two pads out of 1/8 inch felt and nail them on the bottom of each side of your door frame.

4

Use Foam Tape

person using foam tape to seal the gaps in the door frame

If you live in an older home or have doors that are slightly warped, foam tape might be a good option to draft-proof your doors. You might also want to consider foam tape if you feel that some of the other suggestions are beyond your skill level. Just be aware that this solution is not as long term as many others. Foam tape is very easy to use. Just make sure the surface is clean.

Then you will measure the foam weatherstrip tape, cut it to size, pull the back off of the tape, stick it in your door stop where needed, check to make sure the tape and door make a seal, and make any necessary adjustments to stop the draft. You want to apply the tape to the door stop on the latch side of the doorjamb and the top. However, when you apply the tape to the hinge side of the jamb, you want to apply the tape to the actual jamb, against the door stop.  

5

Use a Door Snake or Towel

towel folded up against the bottom of the door

Another possible inexpensive solution to drafty doors are door snakes. These can be purchased at many big box stores or online. It is also possible to make your own so that you can customize it. There are many online tutorials to make your own door snake. If you do not have the extra money to spend on a door snake, although it is less effective, you can use a towel.

6

Caulk

person using a caulk cartridge applicator

Recaulking your doors and windows is another inexpensive choice. Of course, this is a more intensive and time consuming process. If you are feeling a draft through your door, check both outside and inside and see if the caulking has deteriorated over time. It is a good time to recaulk both doors and windows regularly. Shim the jambs behind each hinge making sure that the jamb remains plumb.

Conclusion

Don’t watch your energy bill rise when there are such simple and inexpensive solutions that you can complete yourself, and the best part is that if you decided to do all of these projects, you could still complete them within a day. Instead of sitting on the couch watching TV this weekend, take the day to do something more productive. Improve your home, lower your energy bill, and feel a sense of accomplishment by trying some of these projects at your home.

How To Fix A Drafty Door

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Questions And Answers

How much does it cost to buy and install a new front door?
Most stronger, longer-lasting front doors will run between $350 and $750 plus. If you want a higher quality brand, the cost may be a bit more. In addition, if you want someone to install the front door, this would vary based on contractor rates but may be around $200.
How do I clean my front door?
If your front door is painted, always be sure to clean it with diluted product. If you don’t it could strip the color from your door. To get dirt and marks off your front door, use dish soap and water. Paper towels should be used to dry your door.
How do you fix a door frame?
To fix a door frame, you must first take off the broken part. You will then nail in the new frame, place the door stop, put the strike plate in and install the molding. This project does not take very long for most people.
What does the color of your front door mean?
The color of your front door does matter. It is the first thing people see when driving by and coming up to your home. For example, light blue means you are hopeful. Dark blue means you may have strong family ties. Yellow means you are a morning person.
What does it mean to have a black door?
If you have black door, that signifies great things about you and your home. It can stand for authority, power, sophistication and strength. Anyone who goes by or comes over will know you are serious about protecting your home and your family members too.
Can you paint a vinyl front door?
Yes. You could paint your vinyl front door. However, you need to complete the adhesion process first. Once you have prepared the door, you can use an additive or primer, to assure the job is done properly.
How much does it cost to replace a door and door frame?
The cost of replacing a door and frame will vary greatly. It is going to depend on the type of material the door is made of and how customized it is. You sho.d expect to spend at minimum $500 for an exterior door and at least $300 for interior replacement.
Is a steel or fiberglass door better?
Fiberglass doors and steel doors are both great doors. If struck hard enough a fiberglass door can crack, steel does not. Other than that, these doors are both really great options. Steel is the more affordable of the two but fiberglass may be slightly better in all other aspects.
What kind of paint do you use on a front door?
First, you need to know whether the door has oil-based or latex paint. You don't want to mix and match, it needs to be the same. Next, you need an exterior paint. Finally, most people prefer a glossy paint for their exterior door. It tends to highlight the architectural features.
What is the best color to paint your front door?
Most importantly, you want the color of your door to blend with the rest of the exterior. White and red seem to be the most commonly used colors for a front door. After red and white, it is found that is brown, blue, and green come next in popularity.
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