Over time, doors and frames expand and contract with the temperature. This creates gaps and seams around your door that allow for air to leak in and out of your house. A very effective and inexpensive solution to this problem is to seal your doors and windows. There’s a couple of ways of doing this. Today, we’ll be discussing weatherstripping doors and caulking windows.

Home ownership doesn’t have to be expensive! Let’s get started.

How to Weather Strip a Door

With some exceptions, your door is probably the biggest entryway into your house. So it makes sense that as it ages and loses its seal, it’s often the cause of the most waste of energy. Weatherproofing is as easy as 1-2-3 and can be done in a few minutes with the right tools (all of which you can easily find at your local Lowe’s or Home Depot hardware store). Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Gloves
  • Power Drill
  • Tin Snips, box cutter, razor (or other cutting tool)
  • Hammer
  • Tape Measure
  • Scraper, putty knife, or other flat cleaning tool

01 Remove the old weatherstripping

Chances are your door has some existing weatherstripping in place. You’ll first need to remove this rubbery insulator between your frame and your door. The easiest way to do that is to just open your door and pull it right out of the frame. Some weatherstripping snaps right into the lip of your door frame, while other weather stripping self adheres. Either way, be sure to remove all of the old weather stripping before trying to apply the new.

02 Clean any remaining gunk

If your weather stripping was applied with adhesive, you may need to scrape the remaining residue away. Take your putty knife and clean away anything other than a nice, smooth surface.

03 Measure twice

Most weatherstripping comes in long coils and you’ll probably need to cut it to fit your door. Grab your tape measure and figure out the height of the door. Be sure to measure twice so you only have to cut once! If the weatherstripping you purchased is peel and stick, then begin by removing some of the protective coating and fitting it into the groove on your frame. Otherwise, simply apply pressure evenly all the way down and across the door frame.

How to Seal a Window

If you can believe it, window sealing is even easier than sealing a door. With a little know-how and even less caulk, you can prevent wind and water leakage from your windows. Before you get started, check that its not going to rain for a few hours. The caulk needs to have a chance to dry before water hits it. To complete this project, here’s what you’ll need:

  • 100% silicone caulk
    • Be weary of any caulk that’s “easily washable with soap and water.” If it can be washed away with water, it probably won’t hold against rain.
    • If you’re in areas that experience extreme cold or heat, look for caulk that says “extra flex.”
    • Finally, if you plan on painting it, be sure to find a paintable silicone
  • A caulk gun
  • Mineral spirits for clean-up

01 Cleaning the working surface

The first step is to scrape away any caulk that may still be left on the window. You’ll want a nice clean surface to apply your caulk.

02 Caulk it up

Cut open the caulk tube and insert it into your caulk gun. Apply an even bead all down the frame of the door.

03 Smooth it out

Using your wet finger, smooth out the bead of caulk along the window.

04 Clean it up

Most caulks won’t (or shouldn’t) wash away with soap and water. Use mineral spirits to break down caulk and wipe it away. Remember that excess dried caulk can be broken or chipped away.