It’s that time of year again. It’s time to winterize your home by weatherproofing doors. Here are three items to stop cold air, harsh weather, and unwanted pests from getting in.
Three components are needed to weatherproof your exterior doors, as shown in the diagram below; the Threshold, Door Bottom, and Weatherstripping. All can be added, replaced, or improved, to provide a seal around the door, blocking out cold air, rain, snow, and unwanted pests.
A door threshold a strip of wood or metal that runs across the floor of the entryway. Thresholds install into the floor, separate from the door, and are common in both residential and commercial doorways. The Threshold is an important component to seal the bottom of the door, keeping cold air from getting in, and warm air from getting out. It’s also used to make up any difference in height from the ground outside the door to the opening. Without a threshold, the height difference between the bottom of the door and the ground outside the door can let in rain, snow, and unwanted pests.
Replacing vs Building New
It’s best to stick with the same style when replacing Thresholds. Door frames are often built with a specific Threshold in mind, and it will be difficult to switch styles and find a matching size. Thresholds can be easily identified with an “eye test”, meaning the style is easy to identify just by looking at it. There are L Saddle, Half Saddle, and Oak Top Thresholds available. L Saddle Thresholds have a ramp on either side (pictured below on the left) and are needed when floor heights on both sides of the opening are lower than the opening. Half Saddle Thresholds only have a ramp on one side (pictured below on the right) and are used when the ground outside the opening is lower than the opening, but the floor inside is level with the opening. And, Oak Top Thresholds (pictured above) have wood trim on top and only have a ramp on the outside of the door like Half Saddle Thresholds. There are variations in heights within the three types. Once the style is identified, uninstall your current threshold, and measure the height to match the right version.
When building new, measure the height difference from the ground to the bottom of the door opening. That will be the height of Threshold needed. Then the style will be dermined by the floor differences on either side of the door.
Door Bottoms, Shoes, and Sweeps
Door bottoms are installed to the bottom of the door and work with the Threshold to provide a tight seal under the door. There are three types of door bottoms available; standard door bottoms, door shoes, and door sweeps. The main difference between the three, is standard door bottoms are installed to the bottom of the door, where door sweeps and shoes install to the exterior face of the door. Standard door bottoms are the most common because they are hidden and have a minimal effect on the appearance of the door. Door Sweeps are surfaced mounted to the outside of the door, and Door shoes screw into both sides of the door and wrap around the bottom of the door in a U shape. All provide the same function and are no better or worse at blocking out the elements. Deciding between the three is a style preference, or sometimes is specified with certain commercial door codes.
Door bottoms are installed to the bottom of the door and are the least noticeable, and most common for residential doors. The door bottoms we carry use either vinyl or neoprene insert and compresses when the door is closed. When building new, both systems can be used. When replacing, you can usually replace just the vinyl or neoprene insert which wears down over time.
Automatic door bottoms are also available and are mortised into the bottom of the door. Automatic door bottoms work with an indicator that initiates the door bottom only when the door is closed. This allows for greater pressure applied when the door is closed, providing a tighter seal under the door. The door bottom recoils back into the door when opened, to avoid wear and tear from dragging across the floor.
Door sweeps surface mount to the exterior side of the door. In addition to providing a seal, a door sweep also sweeps dust and debris out as the door is closed. They’re also easier to install than door bottoms because they’re surface mounted.
Door Shoes wrap around the door in a U Shape. They last the longest when compared to sweeps and bottoms and also protect the bottom of the door. A vinyl insert is used to seal the bottom of the door like standard door bottoms.
Weatherstripping is used to create a seal around the door on every side except the bottom. (The bottom of the door is sealed with the threshold and door bottom.) We sell two main types of weatherstripping, kerf-in, and foam tape weatherstripping.
Kerf-in weatherstripping provides a tighter seal and is less likely to tear and need to be replaced. This style of weatherstripping only works when the entryway is prepped for it, as it installs into a groove around the door that is part of the door construction. If your door isn’t prepped for kerf-in weatherstripping, then foam tape weatherstripping is used.
Foam Tape Weatherstripping
Foam tape weatherstripping is self-adhesive and can be installed by peeling off the protective paper, setting in place, and holding down for 30 seconds. The foam tape sticks to the door frame and is compressed when the door is closed, providing a tight seal against wind and water.
More Questions On How to Weatherproof Doors?
There you have it. Those are the three items you can add or replace to weatherproof doors. If you have any additional questions, please reach out to a customer service rep by filling out a customer service form, or give us a call at (800) 708-6649, or connect with us on Instagram or Facebook.