Saturday, December 11, 2010

Weather Proofing the Front Door

One of the best things you can do to conserve energy is to weather proof your house. Our house is old, ramshackle and very leaky. We try to seal it up but it can be difficult. Before this project I think the gap around our front door probably added up to a full square inch of open space even after a previous attempt to seal it with foam tape. We had been using a kind of beanbag thing at the bottom of the door to seal that part but I hate those things; they are always in the way when you are trying to get through the door, especially when entering from the outside and we were less inclined to use it in the summer because it's harder to feel the effect when it's not in place.

I was installing a permanent solution to the gap at the bottom of the door when I noticed this gap along the side.

The store bought sticky-backed foam weather stripping stuff never really did the trick. Our gap is not uniform so tape thick enough to work at the bottom blocks the door from closing at the top and if it works at the top it doesn't really help at the bottom. On top of that the foam partially disintegrated over a couple of years, especially where the dogs rub against it as they pass by. As you can see in the picture even with the foam, the gap is very obvious in places.

A while back our good friend Mr. Jalopy gave us some used inner tubes from his bike shop/everything store Coco's Variety. We asked for them so we could make some slingshots but as I looked at the gap and considered a time and money sucking trip to the hardware store I wondered if the bike tubes could work as weather stripping.

The solution was to trim the tube so that it's natural curve keeps it in contact with the door when it closes but goes completely flat where the gap is pretty tight. I had to cut around the door catches but it still swings shut easily and even buffers against slamming a little.

Now thinking back I probably could have done something similar with the gap at the bottom of the door but I had already bought this squeegee-like thing from the hardware store for $10. It worked like a charm. I took this picture of the gap after having marked where the screw holes needed to be drilled.

The new seal works like a charm. It's completely invisible when the door is shut and kind of adds to our ramshackle aesthetic when it's open. I probably could have been more careful with the installation but the first time through I didn't want to spend too much time on it in case it didn't work. We have several casement windows that could use a similar treatment around the house which I can do individually as time permits.


  1. Hi there. I have this exact problem in the house that I rent (it's very old). Not sure if I will be able to score old inner tubes. Any suggestions for other materials that might work?

  2. Vron, have you tried going into a bike shop? Many bike shops that do repairs have left over inner tubes, more than they can possibly use. Try some area bike shops.


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