How To Install Weatherstripping On Exterior Door
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How To Install Weatherstripping On Exterior Door

Replacing that old, worn weatherstripping on you entryway doors is an easy project and can save you big bucks in heating costs.

Up here on Walch's Mountain the winters can be long and hard. We had over six feet of snow last winter with winds so strong that trees snapped like tooth picks. Power outages can last for days at a time, that why we all have whole-house generators and fuel supplies capable of powering them 24/7 for a month. The weather may not be that severe where you live, but it's time to think about replacing the worn weatherstripping on all your entry doors. This is an easy project that even a first time do-it-yourself person can complete in a few hours for less than $20 per door. The hardest part of this project for the beginner will be coping the inside corners.

Tools needed

  • Hammer
  • Nailset
  • Tape measure
  • Scissors
  • Hacksaw
  • Coping saw
  • Cordless drill/driver


  • Weatherstripping kits (one per door)
  • Door sweeps (one per door)
  • 1 and ½ inch finishing nails

Replacing weatherstripping on modern doors.

Replacing weatherstripping on newer door is usually a matter of pulling the old, worn out foam weatherstripping from its groove in the door or door frame and slipping in the new weatherstripping. The hardest part of the project is finding the replacement weatherstripping for the doors that you have. The easiest way to get the right replacement weatherstripping is to take a piece of the old weatherstripping to your hardware store or home center and have the experts there order the right kit for your doors. It's easier to work with older doors, doors that don't have their weatherstripping installed in grooves on the door or on the door's surrounding frame.

Types of weatherstripping available

The most common types of weatherstripping kits available are shown here:

  • Wrapped foam/wood flange
  • Wrapped foam/metal flange
  • Vinyl bulb/metal flange

These are the most common types found in hardware stores and home centers. There're many other types available, but they will have to be special ordered for you from the catalog available at your hardware store or home center. Personally I prefer the wrapped foam with a metal flange because it will cover a wide range of gaps and is highly adjustable. The wrapped foam with wooden flange may be more aesthetically pleasing but isn't as adjustable as the metal flange with screw holes. The vinyl bulb with metal flange covers a particularly narrow range of gaps.

Inspect the doors for loose hinges.

Begin this repair by inspecting the doors for loose door hinges. Open the door half-way. Grab the door by the inside and outside door knobs and lift up on it. If it moves, tighten the door hinge screws. That should solve your problem. If the cause of movement is worn hinges, replace the hinges before proceeding further with this project. Replacing hinges and repairing damaged door jambs will be covered in another article.

Installing new weatherstripping.

The weatherstripping kits that you purchased come with two long pieces and one short piece. The long pieces are for the side jambs and the short piece is for the top jamb.

Installing the top piece.

  1. With the door closed, measure the distance between the two side jambs. Follow the old carpenter's adage “Measure twice, cut once.” If you cut a piece too short because you misread the tape, you will be headed back to the hardware store for a new kit.
  2. Mark the length of weatherstripping with a fine line. I prefer using a metal scribe to mark both wood and metal flanges. A scribe makes a finer line than a pencil.
  3. Cut the foam with a pair of sharp scissors and then cut the flange with a hacksaw.
  4. With the cut length of weatherstripping lying flat on the floor, start the finishing nails in the wooden flange. Place the end nails 2 inches in from each end and then space the nails between them at 12 inch intervals.
  5. Place the weatherstripping against the top jamb and press tightly against the door, compressing the foam weatherstripping. Drive the nails part of the way. Don't drive the nails all the way in just yet.

Install the side pieces.

  1. Before cutting the side pieces to their final length, cope one end to fit tightly against the profile of the top piece. Use a scrap piece cut from the top piece to outline the coping cut. Once you have coped a tight fit, measure from floor to the top piece. Remember, measure twice, cut once.
  2. As with the top piece, start the first two nails 2 inches in from the ends to guard against splitting the wood flange, and then space the other nails at 12 inch intervals.
  3. Place the side pieces in position as you did the top piece, and start the nails. Don't drive the nails all the way in just yet.
  4. Open and close the door several times, making sure that it latches easily each time. You want a tight seal between the weatherstripping and the door but you don't want to have to force the door to latch. Adjust the position of the weatherstripping if necessary for proper closing and then drive all the nails the rest of the way in. countersink the nail heads below the surface of the wooden flanges with the nail set.

Installing the Door Sweep.

  1. With the door closed measure the width of the door from jamb to jamb.
  2. Cut to length with the hacksaw.
  3. Position the sweep so it presses lightly against the floor and secure with screws.

Additional resources:

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Comments (4)

Once again Jerry, you have excelled yourself.

Another informative topic, Jerry, How I wsh I could get a try climbing Walch mountain to get a feel of what extreme weather could offer.

Thank you Johnny, Deep Blue. The weather up here does go from one extreme to the other. I love all the seasons up here on the mountain but my wife hates it during the long, cold winters. Eileen a city girl and not the wilderness type. My farm is the last one on this road that belongs to me and a dozen other farm families but i'm its officially caretaker. We all chipped in and bought enough road equipment to equip a small county garage. I clear it of snow during the winter months, grade it during the spring, summer, and fall months. I also run a shuttle service to the village during the winter when the snow makes the road impassible to anything that doesn't have tracks. I have a snow cat that can carry eight to ten people in its heated cabin and I shuttle people down to the village where they leave their cars. Ant way I love it. My wife calls me Grizzly Adams, you know, the Mountain Man:-))

Another excellent information to be a handyman.