How to weatherstrip a door: 15 steps with photos

By: Matt Grocoff , Contributing Writer
In: Home Improvement Tips, Green Renovations

Trying to keep your house nice and cozy is a lot like trying to keep a cup of coffee hot. There's a simple principle we all follow when we want to keep our coffee hot in our travel mug: close the lid. The thickest and most well insulated thermos in the world is worthless if we don't close the lid. And it's gotta be tight. Just cracking that lid even a smidgen is the difference between hot coffee for two hours or ten minutes.

Weatherstripping an old door is simple and cheap, yet almost everyone does it wrong. Here's how to weatherstrip a door the right way, using bronze weatherstripping. This project is moderately easy but it will take a couple of hours to do correctly. Be patient and buy good quality bronze weatherstripping with pre-punched nail holes.

The tools you need to weatherstrip a door

Tools needed to install weatherstripping

  • Bronze Weatherseal - available at most hardware stores.
  • Hammer
  • Nail Punch
  • Extra bronze finishing nails (if needed)
  • Tape measure
  • Metal shears (or tin snips or a good pair of scissors)
  • Needle-nose pliers or wire cutter

Here's how to install weatherstripping the right way

Measuring a door frame

1. Measure the door. Using a tape measure, measure the top and the right and left sides of the door jamb where the door closes flush against the wood.

Measuring and marking weatherstripping

2. Mark and cut the bronze weatherstripping to length, using the shears.

Prepunched weatherstripping

3. Use pre-punched weatherstripping. If you can't find pre-punched, then you will need to punch holes about two inches apart.

Removing old weatherstripping

4. Remove any old weatherstripping, making sure to remove all nails or glue to leave a clean surface.

Measuring over door latch
5. Measure a section that overlaps each side of the door latch by an inch or two. The latch is where most doors leak.

Trimming bronze weatherstripping
6. Trim the bronze segment lengthwise for the latch so that it does not cover the latch hole. You don't want the bronze to impede the lock when you close the door.

Nailing in weatherstripping
7. Nail the strip next to the latch hole toward the outside of the door. Press the bronze against the door frame so that it doesn't impede the hole.

Mitering bronze weatherstripping
8. Miter bronze for the LATCH side of door. Using needle-nose pliers, bend the tip of the bronze to create a miter in the upper corner. Be sure that nail side faces toward the inside of the door.

Nailing on first weatherstrip segment
9. Nail the first strip to the jamb. Start at the miter on the upper corner to be sure it fits snug into the corner. Again, be sure that you nail with the nail side facing indoors.

Mitering bronze weatherstripping together

10. Miter both ends of the bronze for the top of the door jamb so that it will match and fit snuggly against the bronze on the side of the jamb.

Bronze weatherstripping miter match
11. The miters should match as they do in this photo.

Weatherstripping on hinge side of door
12. IMPORTANT: Install the weatherstripping on the hinge side of the door. It is very important that the nails are secured toward the outside of the door. It should be OPPOSITE of the jamb on the latch side of the door. This will allow the springy edge to sit flush against the door edge when it closes. This is where most people go wrong. Now's your chance to do it right.

Weatherstripping on latch side of door
13. NOTE: Here's a photo of the latch side of the door with the nails facing inside. Again, latch-side nails toward inside; hinge-side nails toward the outside.
14. Go back with a nail punch and make sure all nails sit flush against the bronze and don't impede the door.
15. Finally, pull back the springy edge of the bronze on all sides of the door. You'll need a little trial and error here. Pull it back a little at a time until you get the right amount of spring. You want the door to press the bronze down as it closes. It should fit snuggly and help keep you snuggly.

Check out these before and after pictures. Before installing the bronze weatherstripping, these old doors leaked so much that you could see daylight. After installing the bronze, there is a nice seal and no more daylight.

Before bronze weatherstripping

After bronze weatherstripping

Good luck and have a good cozy night!