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The Advantages of Weather Stripping
Submitted by Lorene Bartos, Extension Educator

Cool weather is approaching. Are you ready? Is your home ready? With fuel costs in limbo it is important to reduce the amount of air infiltration in your home. Weather stripping not only helps reduce air infiltration, it also has the added benefit of helping stop dust, dirt and insects from entering the home.

Weather stripping is available in several forms. Most is made of sponge, foam, felt, vinyl, metal or a combination of these materials. The least expensive are sponge, felt and foam but they are not as durable. Vinyl is used in many types and is generally durable and resistant to moisture. Metals (copper, bronze, stainless steel and aluminum) tend to be low cost and durable. Many times aluminum is used to reinforce other weather stripping materials.

Consider the following when selecting weather stripping:

  • Durability - a more expensive type that will last, may be the best economical choice.
  • Exposure to weather.
  • Material to be weather stripped.
  • Resistance to wear by abrasion or friction.
  • The size of the gap.
  • Evenness of gap.
  • Appearance – some types are hidden, others may look added on.
  • Ease of installation.

1. Pliable gaskets - used for door and window stops and bottom or top of window sash.

2. Rigid strip gasket (vinyl, felt or foam) - attached to wood or metal strips.

3. Door sweep (aluminum or stainless steel with sponge, vinyl, felt or plastic brush).

4. Door shoe (aluminum with vinyl insert) used to fit over door bottom and screws into the face.

5. String, tension or folded strips (bronze, copper, aluminum, stainless steel or vinyl) - used for window sash channels between door and jam.

Tips for purchasing and installing weather stripping:

Weather stripping is fairly easy to install. Self-adhesive types require a clean, dry surface. Some types are held by tacks, nails and screws. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions when doing the installation.

Weather stripping is sold by the linear foot. (Multiply length in feet by 0.3 to find length in meters.) Measure around the door or window to be weather stripped to determine the total length needed. It is also helpful to measure the width and depth of the gap.

Take time to check your home while the weather is still nice. Checking for problems now will save time and money later.

(This resource was added September 2006 and appeared in the Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper Sunday edition. For information on reproducing this article or using any photographs or graphics, read the Terms of Use statement)

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