It's that time of year again. The cold weather is settling in, and you're finding yourself shivering constantly. You've turned up the heat, but nothing seems to be helping, and now you’re fed up with wearing sweaters every day.
The problem might not be your heater. It could be your exterior doors.
So before you investing heavily in a new heating system this winter, take a closer look at your exterior doors. Often, they’re letting in cool air without you even realizing it.
In this article, we’ll take a look at five reasons why exterior doors let cold air into the house, five proven ways to fix drafty doors, and one of our favorite products to use to prevent this from happening in the first place!
5 Reasons Exterior Doors Let Cold Air Into a Home
Sometimes, the cause of a drafty door is obvious. But other times, it can be trickier to find. These are the five most common reasons why an exterior door may start to let cool air in.
1. It’s Old
Exterior doors typically have a lifespan of 20-40 years. If your exterior door is nearing the end of its lifespan or has already exceeded it, then it's likely time for a replacement.
The older an exterior door becomes and the more weather exposure it receives over time, the less effective it is at keeping air from leaking into or out of a home. As such, if you have old wooden doors on your property that are original with the house, they are likely to be quite drafty.
2. Poor Door Fit
If your exterior door doesn't fit snugly into the frame, it's likely to let air in and out. A poor-fitting exterior door can be caused by several factors, such as:
Warped or rotten framing lumber
Settlement of the house over time
To properly seal an exterior door against drafts, it must fit tightly into the frame and have no gaps around the perimeter.
A professional installation is key to ensuring that your exterior doors fit well. Otherwise, you may end up with drafty doors for years to come. If you're unsure about how well your exterior doors are fitting, ask a qualified professional to take a look and make any necessary adjustments.
3. Damaged Weatherstripping
Weatherstripping is what seals the gap between your door and its frame. Damaged weatherstripping is the most common culprit for drafty exterior doors.
Over time, weatherstripping gets worn down and dried out due to age and exposure to the elements. When this happens, it no longer forms a tight seal around the perimeter of your exterior doors—which means the air will freely flow in through those gaps.
In fact, most experts recommend replacing or repairing worn-out weatherstripping every few years to keep warm air inside during cold months (and vice versa during hot months).
If you're not sure how old your weather sealing is or if it's showing signs of wear and tear, take a look at it and see if there's any need for replacement or repair. You can also test it by sticking your hand between the door and frame. If you can feel a lot of air coming through, the weatherstripping is likely damaged and needs to be replaced.
There are multiple types of weatherstripping you can choose from, the most common being Q-Lon. Choosing the right kind can be overwhelming. Fortunately, you can see a comparison of all the types of weatherstripping and their pros and cons HERE.
Note: Damaged weather stripping can also be caused by an incorrect installation. Make sure to hire the right door professional for this job!
4. Lack of Insulation
Your exterior doors may be letting in cold air because they are not adequately insulated. To keep your home warm during the winter months, you should ensure that all of the cracks and crevices around your exterior doors and door threshold are sealed up tight. If there is any space for air to leak through, then you're going to experience drafts and uncomfortable temperatures.
One way to test if your exterior door is adequately insulated is by placing a lit candle near the edge of the doorframe (near the weatherstripping). If the flame flickers or goes out, then it means that there is a draft coming in from somewhere around the door.
You can also hold a piece of paper against the door. If you can see it move at all, there's a good chance that your exterior doors are lacking proper insulation.
5. Poor Door Installation
If your initial installer did not install your exterior doors correctly, they will likely let in drafts and cause uncomfortable temperatures inside your home. A poor installation job can result from several things, such as incorrect door size, warped framing lumber, and shoddy installation processes.
If you notice that your exterior doors are drafty or uncomfortable to stand near, it's worth checking to see if the installation was done correctly.
To ensure that your exterior doors are correctly installed, it's best to hire a professional door expert to take a look. They will have the experience and knowledge necessary to ensure that everything is sealed up tight and there are no air leaks around the perimeter. Some professionals will offer free consultations.
Now that you know some of the leading causes of drafty exterior doors, it's time to find out how you can stop this problem once and for all!
Solutions for Drafty Exterior Doors
If your home has been suffering from uncomfortable temperatures due to drafty exterior doors, there are a few different actions you can take to fix the problem.
These solutions range from quick and easy fixes that anyone can do themselves to complex replacement jobs that should be left to professionals. Whatever your situation is, there will always be an effective solution if you know where to look.
These are a few popular ways homeowners have stopped their exterior doors from letting in drafts and causing freezing temperatures inside.
Fix #1: Replace Weatherstripping
If you're experiencing drafty exterior doors, one of the quickest and easiest solutions is to replace the weatherstripping. It is a great way to save money and you can do this inexpensive fix in a matter of minutes. Additionally, it will help create a tighter seal around your doorframe and prevent air from leaking in.
Weatherstripping comes in various shapes, sizes, and materials—like V strips or tubular rubber, vinyl, or silicone—so make sure to choose the right type for your specific door model. You can usually find weatherstripping at your local hardware store or online through various retailers.
It's an easy job that anyone can do themselves, but we recommend hiring a professional if you're not comfortable with DIY projects.
Fix #2: Add Insulation
As we discussed earlier in this article, the lack of insulation is one of the leading causes of drafty exterior doors. So if you're experiencing uncomfortably cold temperatures inside your home during the winter months, it could be because there's not enough insulation around your doorframe.
This can lead to air leaks and drafts coming in from outside, which will make it difficult (or even impossible) to maintain comfortable temperatures indoors without turning up the heat.
To add more insulation around an exterior door, you'll need some low expansion foam sealant. We’ve trusted OSI QuadFoam for years. Once everything has been adequately insulated with these materials, then cover them over so they are not visible from the outside.
Fix #3: Install a Door Sweep
If you're unable to add insulation around your exterior door, or if it's an area that's difficult to reach, another option is to install a door sweep. This is a thin piece of metal or rubber that attaches to the bottom of your door and helps create a tighter seal when it closes.
It can be very effective in preventing air leaks and drafts from coming in, and it's a job that anyone can quickly do with basic DIY skills.
You can find door sweeps at most hardware stores. These are typically very affordable and can usually be cut down to fit the size you need. Be sure to measure the width of your door before trimming, so you can ensure it’s the right size. There should be no gaps between the sweep and flooring when it's in place.
Fix #4: Install a Storm Door
Another option to fix drafty exterior doors is by installing a storm door. This will provide an extra layer of protection against cold air coming in from outside, making it easier for you to maintain comfortable temperatures inside your home throughout the winter months (and beyond).
The main reason why most people choose this type of solution is that they want something more aesthetically pleasing, especially if guests will often come into contact with these areas during visits.
If you decide that installing a storm door is right for you, then make sure there are no gaps between the door and frame when it's closed. You can do this by using a weatherstripping kit or even spray foam insulation.
And if you have an indoor pet, be sure to get a storm door with a built-in screen so they can still enjoy fresh air without having to leave the home!
Fix #5: Get a New Door
The final solution (and most permanent) option for fixing drafty exterior doors is to replace them altogether. If your existing door is old and outdated, or if it doesn't fit well in your doorway anymore, then this could be the best option for you, since it will also significantly improve your home's security.
When choosing a new exterior door, be sure to consider the climate in your area and what type of door material is best for your needs. For instance, in humid climates, hardwood doors can warp over time.
You can also find doors with built-in weatherstripping or insulation already installed, which will make the installation process much more manageable. There are many different types and styles of exterior doors available on the market today, so take your time to research all of your options before making a decision.
Weather-Proof Your Home With ProVia Signet Fiberglass Entry Doors
ProVia is a maker of high-quality front entry doors, storm doors, patio doors, and windows. Their products are known for being beautiful as well as energy-efficient.
With ProVia’s high-end Signet Fiberglass Doors, you won't experience problems like a rotten or warped door, missing weatherstripping, hardware that doesn't work well. You can say goodbye to drafts and indoor chills, cracks, peeling wood, and break-ins.
In addition to their entry door systems being easy on the eyes, here are a few of the many benefits ProVia offers:
- Custom widths and heights to fit your home perfectly
- High-density foam filled by a computer-driven process
- Reinforced steel lock block to prevent break-ins
- Thoroughly tested for intrusion
- 20 gauge steel gives 49% more strength than standard 24 gauge steel (lower the gauge, the thicker the steel).
- 20-year warranty
- Great back door for security, quality, and price
- Good high quality no-frills back door
- Factory-installed pet door option
ProVia also provides best-in-class Legacy Steel Doors, which provide added durability and protection.
Enjoy Your Home All Year Long with Windura
If you're looking for a beautiful and affordable way to weather-proof your home, consider investing in a ProVia Legacy Steel Entry Door. And there’s no better place to get a ProVia Exterior Door in the Kansas City area than Windura.
We've been in the business for over 20 years and have a team of experts who can help you choose the perfect door for your home. We also offer free, no-pressure consultations to help you get to the bottom of your drafts without making you feel like you have to buy something.
Don’t spend another winter bundled up with blankets. Schedule your free in-home consultation today!