Weatherproofing Your Doors for the Winter

red entry doorWith winter just around the corner, homeowners are doing all they can to prepare their homes for the cold weather that’s about to hit. One vital step in prepping your home is to make sure all exterior doors are weatherproofed.

Old doors might add character to a home, but they can also let drafts in if they are not sealed. Entry doors that are not properly insulated will make your home harder to heat when it’s cold outside. As a result, you’ll have to crank up your heat and with that your energy use will go up as well.

Rest assured, if it’s not in your budget and your door is not completely damaged or inoperable, there are other options to make it winter ready besides completely replacing it.  Checking your door for cracks, updating hardware and adding insulation, weather stripping or caulk to your exterior doors should reduce drafts and heat transfer, making your home more comfortable during the cold winter months.

Doing these easy tasks will not only make your home warmer but they will also save you on your energy bills.

Find Your Problem Areas

In order to properly weatherproof your exterior door, you have to first locate the areas causing drafts to enter your home.

An easy way to locate an open space around your door is by turning the lights off on the inside of your home and shining a flashlight through the outside. Have someone stand on the other side of the door and tell you if they see any of the light coming through cracks or small openings. If they can see any areas that the light shines through, that is where your draft is coming through as well.
gas lighter

Another popular way to check for drafts is to use a thin sheet of paper, bathroom tissue or even tissue paper. Hold the paper up so that a corner is close to the door frame and move it along the edges of the door. If the paper moves, you’ve found your draft.

You can also use a candle or lighter. Similar to the paper, hold the flame close to the door and move it along the door frame. The flame will flicker in the presence of a draft. Take extra care with this to not burn any wood you have surrounding your door.

Update Hardware

door handleBefore making any additions to your door, make sure all of its hardware is working properly. Any loose or broken hardware on a door can let unwanted air into your home. Tighten or replace any loose screws, door knobs or lock sets if applicable. Though this may not seem like it would make much of a difference, it will help seal up any open spaces that loose hardware can cause.

Once all of the screws, knobs and locks are updated or tightened, you will experience less drafts. As a result of this, you also get a warmer home.

Insulate Your Entry Door

Once you have located the source of your drafts and have updated all necessary hardware, it’s time to seal up any other gaps and open spaces that let unwelcome cold air into your home.

Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam insulation is a foam that is sprayed along the edges of your door and door frame to seal any cracks, gaps or spaces. Once the spray foam is applied and dried, it will provide immediate and long lasting benefits. In addition to preventing drafts and cold air, spray foam insulation can also reduce outside noises and stop any insects and pests from entering your home.

You can either purchase a spray foam kit at your local hardware store or contact a professional to do the work for you.

Caulkman caulking door

Whether your goal is to save energy or to protect your home from outside elements, caulking is an easy and affordable option to choose. Caulking made of silicone is perfect for your doorway because silicone is waterproof, flexible, and won’t shrink or crack. This is perfect because doors experience a lot of wear and tear from simply opening and closing to extreme weather conditions outside.

Caulking is an easy DIY project. Read our article here to learn how to caulk around windows. This technique can also be applied to caulking around your doors as well.


Weatherstripping is the use of material to seal any open spaces, cracks or gaps from weather conditions experienced outside. Weatherstripping can be made out of rubber or foam with a layer of adhesive on the back.

The benefits of weatherstripping are that it is easy to apply and it doesn’t cost much either. This is a job you could probably do yourself over the course of a weekend.

Think Outside the Box

Don’t forget that your doors have two sides, the interior and the exterior. While you may think weatherproofing your door from the inside may suffice, it might be necessary to repeat the same steps to the outside of it as well. This will ensure your door will be fully protected from the elements.

Adding a Storm Door

Storm doors, which are typically made of aluminum, fiberglass or wood are a great way to add an extra layer of protection to the outside of your home. Not only will it cut down on the amount of drafts you experience, but it will also provide additional home security as most storm doors come with a lock set. Another benefit is that storm doors can be an attractive way to enhance your home’s exterior.

Though storm doors aren’t the cheapest option to weatherproof your doors, they are cheaper than replacing the full entry door itself. If you do decide to purchase a storm door, remember to have it installed correctly. A poorly installed storm door will not provide any of the benefits a properly installed door.

You’re On Your Way to a Warmer Winter

house covered in snowWeatherproofing your exterior doors is an easy and cost effective way to prepare your home for the winter months. Now that you’ve learned how to do so, you’ll be able to experience a more comfortable, warmer home this winter.

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