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A door sweep is necessary to block drafts and insulate the door by closing the bottom gap. You can make it yourself.
Door sweeps are narrow barriers of rubber, plastic, wood, metal, or fabric designed to keep cold air out of your house. These strips prevent cold air from coming in underneath the door (drafts). They are also used as a barrier to keep insects away from the inside of the house and provide soundproofing.
The best way to install a door sweep is on an interior door, not an exterior one. Sometimes you will need to remove the door trim and then cut a piece of door sweep material that fits around the bottom edge of the frame. Depending on the material, the strip should be about 4 inches tall by 1/2 inch thick.
How Do Door Sweeps Work?
Door sweeps help keep cold air out of houses, preventing air circulation that causes drafts. When you open a door, warm air rushes into the house. If no barrier is blocking this flow, the cold air will rush back through the door and into the room. Door sweeps slow down this process so that the cold air stays outside.
The warm air rushes out of the house again when you close the door. But since the door sweep prevents air from rushing in, it allows the warm air to stay inside the house.
The Type of Door Sweeps
As there are several types of door sweeps, you need to decide what kind of sweep you will be making. Depending on the type, you will need to choose suitable materials.
Strip door sweeps are practical and convenient. They are easy to install, don’t take up any floor space, and replace if they lose their effectiveness.
Bristle door sweeps are similar to strip-style sweeps, except they use a row of fine brush-like bristles instead of solid strips of rubber or plastics. They provide less friction when opening and closing doors. They also do not work as well as strip-style sweeps.
Under-door sweeps offer a tight seal between the bottom of your doors and the surrounding floor. Most under-door sweeps come equipped with a hook and loop strip for application to the bottoms of your doors to prevent sliding. These are difficult to make yourself.
Aluminum door sweeps are aluminum and are typically installed over wood subfloors. Aluminum door sweeps are more expensive than other types but last longer and are easier to clean.
Vinyl door sweeps are made of vinyl and are available in different colors. Vinyl door sweeps are inexpensive but tend to wear out quickly.
Weatherstripping is another option for keeping cold air out of your home. Weatherstripping is usually applied to windows and doors. It consists of two pieces of flexible weatherproofing tape that are glued together. This type of weatherstrip is very durable and provides good insulation against heat loss.
DIY Door Sweep
A DIY door sweep is a simple project that anyone can complete. It involves cutting a piece of door sweep to size, attaching it onto the bottom of the door, sealing with caulk if needed, and mounting it to avoid falling off.
Note that the following steps don’t cover sewing a door snake (we have a separate article about it.)
Steps Make DIY a Door Sweep
- Decide on the material whether it’s wood, fabric, aluminum, or vinyl. Using MDF board might be the easiest option.
- Masure and cut it to size.
- Cut the board to fit the width of the door. Make sure the door sweep is long enough to cover the entire bottom of the door and it leaves enough room for mounting.
- Drill the holes for the screws to attach the sweep to the door.
- Screw the door sweep to the bottom of the door.
- Make sure the sweep is flush with the gap under the door and it covers it perfectly.
- Clean up any messes left behind from the installation process.
Door Sweep Installation and Maintenance Tips
- Door sweeps can be installed on the inside or outside of your door.
- A strip-style door sweep with adhesive backing is the simplest to install.
- Drive screws into the door if the sweep is the type with guides to hold a strip of material. You can use an under-the-door sweep to clean dust and dirt out of your house.
- A door sweep can be used to replace a broken or cracked one.
- Under-the-door sweeps come in different sizes and models.
- To avoid damage to your door, always install door sweeps after you’ve painted the door.
- When cleaning your door sweep, wipe down the area where the door meets the wall.
- Wipe down the door sweep every time you open and close the door.
- Keep your door sweep clean and free of debris.
- The best way to maintain a door sweep is by keeping them clean.
- Dust buildup will cause the door sweep to slip.
- If you notice that the door sweep is slipping, remove the screws holding the door sweep to the frame and reattach it.
Yes, you can install a door sweep without taking down your door trim. However, this type of door sweep won’t have much effect since there isn’t much room to create a good seal.
If you want something that will last for years, choose a door sweep made of silicone. Silicone door sweeps are durable and flexible.
Yes. Door sweeps help keep warm air out of your home and keep bugs out of your house.
No. Installing a door sweep is very easy. All you need is a screwdriver and some patience.
Yes! While door sweeps aren’t particularly dangerous, people who are allergic to latex could experience a reaction after using them.
You can find door sweeps online or in hardware stores. If you live in an area where you can purchase door sweeps locally, consider buying one from a local store. If you’re looking for a particular brand of door sweep, check Amazon.
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