Keeping Out the Cold: Weather Stripping or Door Replacement?

During the winter time, you’re going to become a lot more sensitive to the cold and its effects on your home. In particular, you’re going to feel what happens when you let warm air escape it in your wallet. Most of your house’s heating bills will be caused by heat escaping your house than the heater itself, so it’s always a good idea to invest in proper insulation for your house. One of the main points heat can escape the doors, especially external doors that see lots of traffic (like the front door). To these, you have two options: weather stripping, or replacing the door entirely.

You’ll find that opinion is divided amongst home improvement gurus as to which is better. Some will swear by weather stripping while others would recommend that a whole new door is probably the better way to go. It’s not just a matter of opinion and preference – both will have based their assessment on what they’ve experienced during their projects and observing that of other homeowners.

We’re uncommitted either way here and are largely more interested in making sure you have a home that works for you. So we’ll look at the pros and cons of both and let you decide for yourself which option you want to pursue.

Weather Stripping

A weather strip is an air-tight seal that you place along the cracks of the door to keep warm air in and cool draughts out. As a bonus, they also help insulate the house from noise too. They’re made from a variety of materials and can be fitted as they need to be to a wide variety of doors too. Many building codes will mandate the use of weather stripping anyway, so in some cases, you may already have it even if you don’t realise it. Older houses usually don’t have any installed, however.

The main advantage behind weather stripping is that it’s very cheap and easy to install. You can usually install air tight strips along all edges of your door within the space of a few hours if that. In many cases you won’t even need to do all four – you just need a strip along any edges that have noticeable gaps that can let air through. After that, it’s just a case of sliding the stripping under the gap of the door and fixing it into place.

Slightly harder is replacing the weather stripping, and part of the challenge for both is finding a strip that will fit your door. Some may have awkward sizes that make finding a snug fit a bit of a challenge.

Once installed, though, your house is protected from the majority of draughts, heat escapes and even some external noise to boot. However there, naturally small disadvantages that come with using weather stripping as well.Primarily, it’s the fact that stripping is a somewhat temporary measure in comparison to other options. Over time, the stripping will start to break and come away from the door, or develop small gaps in itself that can allow heat to escape again. A typical weather strip can last you around twenty years or so, after which it may need replacing.This can also rack up the costs of using weather stripping too. If you’re living in a particular building for the rest of your life, you may find that replacing weather stripping all the time will start to add up on your house’s upkeep, especially for particularly old buildings.

Replacing Doors

Replacing doors is another option to keeping heat in your home. In this case, you just take out a door that’s starting to leak heat entirely and replace it with one that’s more heat efficient. This can often save a lot of time – a door is a fairly simply thing to remove and replace. At its worse, it’ll probably take about the same amount of time to replace a single door that it would to install fully one with weather stripping, assuming you know what you’re doing.The result is a door that not only protects your heating bill but lasts too. A good door can often last decades or even centuries if carefully looked after.

However, buying and installing a door is very expensive compared to the much cheaper weather strips. Especially if you want to buy a solid door that will last you more than a few decades. If you have a lot of doors that need replacing, this can create a very strong short-term strain on your wallet. As weather stripping still lasts a while, some would argue that they’re the more economic solution.

Another aesthetic problem comes with it too. Even if a door is old and lets in draughts, it may be particularly pleasing to the eye, or even an old original that’s been around since the house was first built. Sentimental home owners may prefer to try and get some more life out of a door by improving it instead of replacing it.

Before making any decions it is best that you consult with a professional such as those at Aerotech to figure out which option is best for your home, 

Christian Mills, a homeowner and DIY guy, is constantly finding ways to improve his living quarters and enjoys sharing his tips with his readers. If you would like to learn more about Christian, you can check out his google+ profile.

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  1. […] you can see, different materials have variances in energy efficiency, performance, and weather-stripping. Likewise, the same is true for installation, glazing, the threshold system, and flashing. Anyway, […]

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