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Seal gaps around doors and windows

Close-up of a person applying weather-seal caulking compound to a door

Gaps under and around doors, especially external doors, are perhaps the easiest to identify and fix. Sealing these gaps will:

  • stop cold air from getting in during winter
  • stop hot air from getting out during winter
  • keep the heat out during summer.

What to do

Step 1: Safety first

Special care needs to be taken in houses with certain types of internal gas appliances, as they require fixed ventilation to expel the products of combustion from the home and operate safely.

Step 2: Finding draughts

To draught-proof your home you will first need to identify draughts by looking, listening and feeling for light, moving air, rattles and whistles. In particular, check for gaps around doors and at the base of doors that lead to the outside, to the garage and to areas that have permanent ventilation. Some bathrooms, toilets and laundries have fixed open windows, so the doors to these rooms should also be sealed. Check windows as well, as many of the products used to seal draughts around doors can be used to seal windows.

Step 3: Sealing gaps and draughts

Draught excludersThere are many products on the market designed to be fitted to doors to seal gaps, so it pays to do your homework before heading to the hardware store. Note whether the door in question opens inwards or outwards, and the type of flooring it opens over (timber, carpet, tiles, etc.). There are also different products for internal doors, so make sure you choose the right product for each application.

 

If you need to seal around the edges of your doors (the door jamb), check how big the gap is so that you can choose a seal that will fill the gap. These seals are normally made from foam rubber or plastic and are available in rolls. Each door will use approximately 5 metres to seal, but it pays to measure and count your doors before you go shopping. Large gaps around doors and windows may require some carpentry work to make the gaps smaller.

Draught stripping

Step 4: Sealing around windows

Windows often require draught proofing between the openable sash and the window frame. There are a range of products for different situations which will usually have their application clearly marked. Always prepare the surfaces you intend to seal by ensuring they are clean and dry. Dirt and oily residue will prevent adhesive seals from sticking properly.

Tools of the trade

Although attaching a draught seal at the bottom of a door is fairly straightforward, it does require some basic tools. The seals are generally wider than the door and will need to be measured and cut to size before being attached. When attaching the seal to the door, it's a good idea to screw the seal onto the door rather than rely on the adhesive alone. You will need:

  • draught strips 
  • hack saw 
  • drill 
  • nails 
  • tape measure 
  • pencil.

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