Draughtproofing doors is a simple and effective job that anyone can do with a few products from the DIY store. External doors are the most important as they prevent cold air getting in from the outside, but internal doors can also benefit from draughtproofing, particularly in older houses.
Doors can allow draughts to pass through at the top, bottom or on either side, depending on how badly fitted they are. So it’s worth taking a close look how the door fits in the frame. If there are large gaps look at our articles in this section on doors to see if you can make the door fit better before resorting to draughtproofing.
Simple Draughtproofing Strips
The simplest form of draughtproofing is thin strips of foam with a sticky backing. This comes coiled up in lengths that are usually sufficient to draughtproof at least one door. Clean the door frame, peel the backing paper off the foam and press it down.
This type of draughtproofing strip does compress over time and lose its effectiveness. It can also cause problems with door fitment unless you are careful where you put it. It’s best to lay it in place and check that it doesn’t force the door out of place before you stick it down for good. But it is cheap and quick.
Longer lasting and more effective are draught excluder strips made from hollow rubber tubes that are nailed to the frame. These are more resilient and better at conforming to the contours of an old door and frame.
Don’t Make the House Airtight
Beware of completely sealing doors in the house though, particularly if there are gas heaters or open fires. Air does need to move around the house and problems can be caused if it can’t. The best place to leave gaps to avoid trapping the air in a room is at the top of the door. The air movement at that level is less uncomfortable for people in the rooms.
However, if you have lots of draughts inside the house it might be worth looking at other insulation projects. Draughts coming through internal doors indicate a difference in temperature between rooms so look at why one room is colder than another and see if you can fix the problem at source.
Sealing Door Bottoms
The widest gap is usually at the bottom of a door. This is particularly so in older houses where the slope of the floor may mean that there has to be a gap at the bottom of the door to allow it to open and close. Unfortunately there’s not much that can be done in terms of draughtproofing in this situation apart from using a stuffed cushion draught excluder (see below).
The bottom gap of external doors can be sealed using a variety of different draught excluders, most of them using rows of fine brush hairs. These are soft enough to allow the door to open over rough surfaces but stiff enough to bounce back into position to seal the gap once the door is closed.
Don’t Forget Other Gaps
We’ve talked about draughts coming in through around the edges of doors but don’t forget to draughtproof the fittings of external doors as well. Look at letterbox draught excluders and make sure that any keyhole covers are free to descend when the key is withdrawn.
Finally consider draught excluders in the form of long stuffed cushions that can be placed behind a door when it’s closed. They are available in all sorts of shapes, sizes and novelty formats and you can easily make your own if you are a dab hand with a needle and thread. These can then be placed at the bottoms of doors where required.