Weatherstripping materials for windows and doors

There are many door and window weatherstrips: 

- V-strips (V-shape tension seals),
- adhesive-backed tapes (foams, felts…),
- gaskets (tubular silicone, sponge rubber and tubular vinyl),
- magnetic weatherstrips,
- fin seals...

And there are also thresholds, interlocking metal weatherstrips, door bottoms and door sweeps for doors...

Metal, Vinyl and Polystyrene V-Strips Weatherstrips

V-shape metal stripV-strips (also known as V-chanels and V-shape tension seals) are used to bridge gaps between the door and the door jamb; and gaps in the window sashes of double-hung and horizontal sliding windows (they aren't suitable for casement, awning and hopper windows).

V-strips provide efficiency and durability, and aren't very difficult to install. They are moderately expensive.

V-strips are made of metal (bronze, aluminum, copper and steel), vinyl or polypropylene and available in long strips that may come with a pressure-sensitive adhesive.

Adhesive-Backed Tape/Foam

Weatherstrip FoamsSelf-adhesive tapes are used both in doors and windows (mainly in casement, awning and hopper windows).

Most tapes are made from foam or sponge rubber, and come in various widths and thicknesses; they vary in their sealing strength.

Weatherstrip tapes are extremely easy to install, flexible and sizable, which make them great for rough and irregular surfaces: just cut the tape to length with scissors, peel the backing and stick it in place.

The big disadvantage is their short lifespan; you may have to replace the tape every 1-2 years, depending on use; also do not install them on the sash channels of double-hung windows.

Before installing a tape, be sure to clean and prepare the surfaces where they are going to be applied; follow the manufacturer’s instructions about the ideal temperatures for application.

Felt Weatherstrips

Felt weatherstrips come in either plain or reinforced rolls (with a flexible metal strip), or in narrow furry strips (pile) to be glued or tacked in place.

Plain felt is designed to be fitted in the door frame; reinforced felt is used in windows and in door jambs, like plain felt.

Installing felt weatherstrips is easy: just cut to length and staple or tack the material into place.

Plain felts have a low durability, often just one or two years, depending on use and weather conditions.

Temporary weatherstripping

Adhesive backed foams and felts can be great for temporary weatherstripping (during the cold-weather months). They are inexpensive and easy to install.

Gaskets (Tubes of sponge rubber, vinyl and silicone)

Gasket weatherstripping siliconeGaskets (in the form of tubular vinyl, sponge-rubber tubes or tubular silicone) are used around doors and windows (particularly casement windows).

The tubes come with a flange that can be stapled. Unlike felt or tape, these gaskets have a reasonable or good durability, though dependent on use: around five years, often.

The ease of application varies; installation can be tricky in the case of tubular silicone. Prices are moderate to high.

Magnetic weatherstrips

These door and window weatherstrips work similarly to door gaskets for refrigerators, and can be very effective. They are used on the top and sides of the doors, and in double-hung and sliding window channels.

They are relatively expensive, and difficult to apply on existing doors and windows.

Plastic Fin Seal

Pile weatherstrip with plastic Mylar fin centered in pile is used in sliding glass doors and aluminum sliding windows. It provides a durable and effective weatherstrip, but prices are moderate to high and the installation tricky.

Interlocking Metal weatherstripsInterlocking Metal Weatherstrip

Interlocking metal weatherstrips are used in door-sealing, around the perimeter of the door (top, sides and bottom).

They are effective and durable, but also relatively expensive. They involve two pieces of metal designed to fit together: when the door closes, the two pieces of the interlocking metal provide a very tight sealing.

Installing interlocking weatherstripps isn't easy and requires the door and the frame to be notched with a suitable router.

Thresholds and door Bottoms and Door sweepsDoor Bottom

Door thresholds are used for exterior doors, as a raised seal. Some thresholds have built-in weatherstrip, and come in different styles.

Some models are mounted on the door itself, but most aren't.

Common door sweeps involve a flexible flap that seals against the threshold. Other thresholds involve built-in tubular gaskets that press against the bottom of the door.

See, for more details: Door Weatherstrips

Images credit: Keep Warm Illinois





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