Door Weather Stripping and Installation

vinyl weather stripping
Vinyl weather stripping comes in rolls and is easily applied.

In this tutorial, I’d like to review what you can do to weather strip your doors to better seal them from air infiltration. Did you know that infiltration (air leaking into your home) around doors and windows can be the equivalent of a two-foot square hole in the wall? That’s a lot of wasted heating or cooling money you may be spending. You can feel for drafts around doors and windows with your hand or use a cool tool like the Wizard Stick® which generates vapor “smoke” with heated glycerin to help locate drafts.

Compare Prices  Wizard Stick Smoke Pencil

I want to focus on doors because doors leak about twice as much air as windows and are opened and closed much more than windows so focusing on them make sense. Doors have one type of weather stripping around the top and sides and another type on the bottom at the threshold.

Here are some common door weather stripping options for the top and sides of the door that are easiest to install:

Rolled Vinyl:

Rolled vinyl material has good durability and is moderately priced. It’s also easy to install and does a fair to good job sealing air if properly installed. You just cut the weatherstrip to length with some scissors and tack it into place with the small nails that are usually provided. When installing, make sure to nail the strip to the face of the doorstop with the rounded seal facing the door and protruding past the edge of the door stop by about 1/3 the diameter of the rounded seal. That way the door compresses the seal when it is closed.

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Spring Metal Strips:

Spring metal weather stripping has excellent durability and is also moderately priced. It is a little trickier to install than vinyl. You must cut it with metal snips then you can tack it in place. With this material, you nail the spring metal strips to the sides (jamb) and top (head) of the door frame inside the door stop so that the door compresses the “vee” shaped spring strip when it is shut. You need to carefully fit the weather stripping around the door latch.

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Foam Tape:

Self-adhesive foam tape has poor to fair durability and the lowest cost of any option. Installation is easy, just cut to length with a pair of scissors, make sure the door stops are clean then just peel the paper backing from the tape and press into place. The foam strips are placed on the front edge of the door stop so the door presses against the foam to seal when closed.

Compare Prices Foam Tape Weather Strip

Here are some options for sealing the threshold or bottom of the door

Rubber Door Sweep:

This is a flat rubber strip fastened to a metal holding strip that gets attached to the bottom of the door. Fasten to the door with screws and install so the sweep seals against the door threshold.

Bulb Threshold:

This weather strip is a threshold that has a serrated semi-circular rubber strip or “bulb” that compresses against the bottom of the door when shut. It requires planning the door bottom so that it is beveled slightly toward the outside door face so the door bottom gradually compresses the bulb when being shut. The bulb threshold is attached with screws to the door.


A shoe is an inverted bulb threshold in that it attaches to the bottom of the door and compresses against the threshold. This weather stripping requires removal of the door for installation and can be a little tricky to install. The door bottom may need to be planed to reduce its height in order to allow the shoe frame to attach to the door. The shoe frame is attached to the door with screws.