Why It's Important to Weatherstrip Your Doors And Windows
Costs, Savings and Hiring a Professional
Weatherstripping your doors and windows is an easy and inexpensive way to eliminate drafts and reduce your energy bills. Even cracks that are a tiny fraction of an inch can let cold air in and warm air out. Unfortunately, many homeowners overlook this simple fix and assume they need to replace their windows or upgrade the heating system.
It’s pretty easy to tell if your doors and windows need weatherstripping. Simply place your hand in front of them to feel for cold air. If you’re still unsure, have someone hold a hairdryer outside of doors and windows - if you can feel the hot air from inside, your home will benefit from weatherstripping. Most homes have some doors and windows that need weatherstripping and others that do not.
Types of Weatherstripping
There are many types of weatherstripping, and each has its pros and cons. Felt weatherstripping and open-cell foam are inexpensive and easy to apply, but they’re not the most effective and they don’t hold up that to weather. Vinyl is stronger and very moisture resistant, but more expensive. Metal weatherstripping is fairly affordable and has a long lifespan. In some cases, it’s best to use two or more types together.
Keep in mind that certain types of weatherstripping are better for certain applications. Weatherstripping along the bottom of a door should be tightly secured to prevent loosening as the door is opened and closed. Weatherstripping along windows needs to be flexible, not stationary (like caulk) so that windows can be opened and closed.
How Much Does Weatherstripping Cost?
If you handle the task yourself, budget about $5 to $10 per window or door for materials. If you have 20 windows, that works out to $100 to $200.
If you hire a pro, budget about $20 to $30 per window for materials and labor. That works out to $400 to $600. Of course, that’s just an estimate. You could pay more or less depending on the condition of your doors and windows, the experience of the installer and local labor rates.
When budgeting for the project, don’t forget to factor in reduced energy expenses. By some estimates, weatherstripping all of your windows and door can shave 30 percent from your heating bill. Just be careful with these type of estimated figures. Every house is different, so there’s no guarantee you’ll save a certain percentage.
DIY vs Hiring a Professional
If you’re handy, go ahead and tackle weatherstripping on your own. In the scheme of DIY projects, weatherstripping is certainly not the most difficult. If you’re not handy, pay the extra money to hire a professional. Doing the job yourself when you don’t know how might not lead to any energy savings. Worse yet, you could further damage the seals, making draft problems worse.
If you’re hiring a pro, look for someone who has significant experience with weatherstripping. Always seek quotes from multiple companies before choosing one to compare prices, and make sure you know exactly what the quote includes. When in doubt, check the company’s rating with the Better Business Bureau.