11.15.2010

Weatherstripping Really, Really, Really Old Doors

We're pretty sure that our entry doors are original to our 1941 house. We're also pretty sure that the paint-encrusted weatherstripping is original too. And totally ineffective.

Last winter we interviewed several replacement window companies before deciding to keep our current windows (for now, I'd love to replace them with Jeld-Wen windows ourselves). One of the guys who came out to give us a quote brought along a little heat loss indicator tool, which to his detriment indicated that our windows with their storms were doing a great job, but showed that our doors were falling short in the energy efficiency department. Of course I wanted to go right out and buy shiny new doors, but S refused since we've nearly maxed out this year's energy credit with the sun room project. I still want a door with window down the entire length to replace our kitchen door, but I haven't won that battle yet.

Since we've decided to keep our entry doors for now, we took on a few projects to improve their appeal and efficiency. First up was installing weatherstripping around the doors and the storms to seal out as much cold air as possible.

We started by scraping off the old weather stripping, which was nailed into the door frame every two inches. It made a crumbly mess, saved only by the paint that we discovered was holding the stuff together.
 See, a crumbly mess:
Which was no match for our new wet/dry Shop-Vac that my mom gave to S for his birthday. This thing sucks. Really well. We love it. Plus it's short, fat, cute and red, what's not to love?
Once we had all the old gunk off the next step was to measure and install the new weatherstripping. We chose black for reasons that will make sense later.

Install the weatherstripping with the door closed.

I cannot stress this enough. Door CLOSED. Then, test to make sure you can open and close the door after screwing in every 2-3 screws. Trust us, you'll save yourselves hours of work. And if you happen to discover that you door doesn't close easily, or that your can't turn the key on the double-keyed entry (keys required on both sides so someone can't break the window and just flip the lock open) thereby creating the very scary risk that you won't be able to quickly get out of the house in a fire, you'll only have a few screws to loosen to find the offender.
Trust me, door closed, few screws at a time. Door one took twice as long as the other three combined.
But in the end we have four weather-tight-as-they'll-ever-be doors, and locks that we're still able to open quickly in the event of an emergency.

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1 comment:

  1. nice job! We just replaced our 1950's sunroom door--I believe it was almost identical to your door (have a look and let me know!)

    http://buckcanuck.blogspot.com/2010/09/new-doors-finally.html

    We did the ole weatherstrip/caulk trip through our first winter here--it made some difference, but we were happy to take the tax credit while we could this year, and replaced two exterior doors this fall. What a difference it's made so far!

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