Not Martha

snug as a bug

Last weekend we turned our attention to the 1/2 inch gap of daylight showing underneath our front door and headed out to buy weatherstripping for all around the door and especially the bottom of the door. A quick check on This Old House revealed that, exciting new revelation to me, the current weatherstripping should pull right out. There is a groove cut into the inside of the door frame made to have rubber weatherstripping wedged into it. This is great! (Yes, I am that person who knows nothing of these things and gets all excited when I discover that the person who came before me knew what they were doing.) I was so afraid we’d be dealing with that nasty adhesive foam.


the replacement weatherstripping


We headed to our usual place and were immediately and completely confused by the many variety of weatherstripping. We bought a few options since we’d been in this position before and knew we didn’t want to do the thing were we drive out to the store three more times that day. We also bought a few things meant to attach to the bottom of the door.

At home we discovered that the old weatherstripping popped right out and the new fit right in. Lovely. It cut to size with a pair of old scissors. Tip: fit the long sides of the door frame with weatherstripping first, if you cut one too small you can use it for the top of the door later. Do over.


the old weatherstripping pulled out, this is the groove


the type of weatherstripping we bought, for my records


it pushed right into place

The bottom of the door proved a little more troublesome. We ended up replacing the old fitting with a new one of the same kind, but there was still a big gap. The other options we bought didn’t work out either. After a round of returns and new purchases and not one but TWO big box hardware places (and a stop for some hot chocolate since too many hardware stores in one day is no fun) and a good long look at the (incredibly stupid) idea of replacing our threshold we decided to hack it.

All we needed was for the U-shaped bottom door fitting to sit 1/4 of an inch lower, so Scott (genius) decided we needed some shims to put inside of the U-shaped fitting. Left over paint stirring sticks worked out really well, and they are exactly 12 inches long so three end to end filled the width of the door perfectly.

We used a double thickness for a total of 6 paint sticks. This is by no means a good solution, but it is a nice temporary one until we replace the front door or find a way to replace the threshold without doing major damage. The hack isn’t visible unless you look at the bottom corner edge of the door while it’s open, and who does that? The door will be painted as soon as I can decide on a color and all the marks from the previous fitting will be hidden.

The back door had weatherstripping which was fine, but the sweep on the bottom of the door needed to be replaced. Some careful measuring revealed the door was 35.75 inches wide – standard is 36 and all the door fittings come in that width. The door simply wouldn’t close with a 36″ sweep on the bottom of it. We ended up sawing off 1/4 of an inch off the end of a plastic U-shaped door bottom fitting (the same kind we put on the front door). So, be sure to measure the width of your door before you leave the house, just in case.

· comments [9] · 12-4-2006 · categories:the home ·

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 splatgirl // Dec 4, 2006 at 12:25 pm

    Ohhhh! I have that crack of daylight too and it’s been stressing me out now that it’s winter. I guess I’m on the “three trips” plan since I was too stupid to remember to look at the existing sweep before I went to the hardware store. Boo.

    p.s. yay for comments!

  • 2 zay // Dec 4, 2006 at 12:31 pm

    thanks for posting this entry…i didn’t realize that it didn’t take a lot of know how to weather-proof my drafty entry door. i’m so excited now!

    over the weekend i bought my first space ceramic heater and wonder why i never got one of these before and now i might just be able to weather-proof my door! :)

  • 3 megan // Dec 4, 2006 at 1:15 pm

    I was very happy to find out that once I knew what materials I needed it wasn’t a huge effort.

    On tip I forgot to add – if your door doesn’t have the wedged-in type of weatherstripping and you need to buy the adhesive kind be sure to apply it to a part of the frame that faces directly in or out (depending on how the door closes). That way it won’t be scraped away bit by bit as you open and close the door. A few years ago we applied the adhesive stuff incorrectly and found out the sticky way.

  • 4 b // Dec 4, 2006 at 7:14 pm

    In the old houses we’ve lived in, there were always weatherstripping issues. Good on you two, as you seem to have handled it brilliantly!

    I’ll pass this info along to my grown-up daughters, whose homes are also under-the-door-drafty.

    In an unrelated topic, may I inquire as to what camera you use to get those GREAT close-up pix? I know the camera doesn’t ‘take the picture’ so much as the photographer composing and lighting does, but good tools help…pray tell what camera (be specific) you are currently using.

  • 5 megan // Dec 4, 2006 at 8:01 pm

    I have a Canon PowerShot A 80. It’s an older model, and I’m not even sure if you can buy it new anymore. It does ok for most pictures, and I really love that the screen in the back folds out and swivels. It take better close in pictures than regular distance though!

  • 6 ks // Dec 5, 2006 at 8:49 pm

    We have a strip on our back door, and it’s nearly impossible for the door to clear the door mat. I took the mat away, but with winter weather, we’re stuck with a messy entry area. Any ideas for a thin, absorbent mat? Also, I agree about the photos. Nice.

  • 7 megan // Dec 5, 2006 at 8:53 pm

    ks – Unfortunately no, we’re having the same trouble now.

  • 8 ks // Dec 6, 2006 at 11:55 am

    Megan, today I dug up an old purchase from Ikea that kind of works. It’s a round astroturf-like mat that is a little over 2 feet in diameter. I think the round shape lets the door take (and clear) it at an angle. It works for dirt, but it won’t be so great for rain.

  • 9 teeltychuct // Aug 3, 2008 at 1:52 am

    Thanks for the post

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