Draught Proofing a Dodgy Door

By Andy the stuff doer

After writing about using a wood-burning stove and looking at how much gas we are saving , I realised some simple steps were needed to stop some of the heat loss from our house.

Draughty door

Draughty door

I’ve draught proofed our problem front door. I had tried in the past without much success due to a wonky door, frame and floor.  After putting my mind to it, I came up with an easy and cheap way of draught proofing.

It might not be for everyone, some simple wood work  is required along with access to a router.

Have a look at details HOW I DRAUGHT PROOFED MY DOOR on the cheap

16 Responses to “Draught Proofing a Dodgy Door”

  1. _Comment from Olly moved to here –

    Just read your page on Draught Proofing (sorry, I couldn’t see a link for adding comments there?). I really like your cheap solution, which remains hidden while the door is closed.

    Only issue I can imagine (where you groove the door) is that, if the door swells in width during wet weather, it would be a right bugger trying to plane the edges down… (Unless you own a rebate plane!) Did you glue the strip in place? Could it be screwed in for easier removal or adjustment?

    I’ll definitely have to give that a try, some time. Do you think it would work as-well on an outward-opening exterior door?

    Our back door is only single-glazed, which also lets a lot of cold air through. Do you know if there’s anything that can be fitted to the inside of the glazing to reduce these draughts?

    (One day, I will get around to making an oak door to replace it…)


  2. Hi Olly,

    Glad you found it useful, sorry about the lack of link, I’m still learning.

    If the door swells, the strip would have to pulled out so the door could be planed. The groove would also need to be cut deeper.
    I should point out that, in theory, the chances of swelling should be reduced as damp air is no longer blowing and condensing on the door edge.

    The pile carrier has a self adhesive strip on the back. I also cut the groove so carrier is a good push fit. It is fairly easy to prise out for any adjustments.

    This technique should work just as well on a door that opens outwards.

    Single glazing shouldn’t be draughty unless the putty/ sealent has gone. A beed of acrylic or silicon should fix the problem. Another idea to reduce heat loss would be to fit secondary glazing. I’ve done a DIY secondary glazing job on a window. I’ll have to take some pics and write it up.

    Good luck with the oak door. I’ve just had a delivery of timber for my windows and added some extra for a front door. We want a solid looking victorian style door. The wife is excited to the point she has just bought antique door furniture from ebay. So I’ve not got the luxury of “one day” anymore.


  3. Hi,

    My two cents worth :-)…

    I would use a tee shaped centre leg pile carrier in the door as it would be
    held in place by the fins on the carrier. It can be routered out and it can be
    removed and fitted back no problem, as it does not need an adhesive and is a lot stronger than the above pile carrier.

    Adding a pile carrier in to the stile of an old door would not my first choice to draught proof a door, but sometimes it’s the only opition.

    On the door I would use the dry seal glazing system putty, as the above can cause problem if the glass needs to replaced at some stang damage to time etc and it will in time break down.

    I love the site Andy, well done keep up the great work…

  4. Thanks John,
    A legged pile carrier would do the job and like you say, a push fit that can be replaced. However it would still need to be recessed in to the stile so the pile fits nicely to the frame. It’s easy to adjust the depth of single slot to compensate for badly fitted doors with varying gaps around them.
    If I get a moment, I’ll cover other ways of retro fitting draught proofing a door, including the proprietory systems.

    The new door will end up, eventually with leaded glass, the dry seal systems I’ve seen won’t cope with the irregular surface. So I will need to use linseed putty or perhaps silcon?

    Thanks for your comments. Your “two cents worth” welcome any time.


  5. Hi Andy,

    “Repair Care” dry seal glazing system is a great choice, been using it now for the last 5 years and it’s been a great help, a great product if there are irregular surfaces.

    If the glass gets broken further down the line the glass can be removed without damage to the glazing rebate.
    Also been using “Toupret” putty for the last 3 years and it also great and white in colour.



  6. Hello Andy,

    Fantastic website, and really quite inspiring. The videos are immensely helpful and have definitely improved my novice woodworking abilities. I’ll probably be checking in often as I try to renovate my 1897 house here in California, USA (it sounds as though we have many of the same challenges).

    My question for the draft proofing is whether or not you considered spring bronze weather stripping? I’ve used it on the sash windows with good results and particularly like that it appears to be a very long term solution and also period correct.

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge,

  7. Damon, Good to hear from you. Our houses are nearly the same age, I wonder how much different the construction is? And how they fair with the different climates.
    Thanks for mention of bronze weather stripping. It’s not something I’ve heard of before but it looks like a neat long lasting solution. I’ve done a search for UK suppliers, but drawn a blank so far. It looks like it could be US specific product, that never caught on over here.

  8. My apologies for the long delayed reply.
    My house is considered single wall construction, built almost entirely out of redwood planks that were readily available in the area at the time. The floor, walls, and ceiling are all solid wood – which i assume is fairly different than in the UK(?). While there is some termite damage and other deterioration problems due to age and neglect, it has held up fairly well (except for the windows which have required substantial repair).

    It is funny that you mention the spring bronze as a US specific product as it seems that any time i look for a more period correct solution for my house (classic light switches, sash window parts, etc.), it always seems to be available in the UK, and less so in the US…

    The spring bronze stripping is definitely not common over here, although I was pleasantly surprised to find my local hardware store stocks it, and at an affordable price. It has held up well for the last 2.5 years, and I expect it to continue to do so for a long time.

    And finally, thanks in part to your videos, i practiced my first mortise and tenon joint to an encouragingly low degree of failure. My next practice joint may actually be halfway decent.

  9. Hi Damon, Full timber construction is unusual in the UK although Timber framing is having a bit of a revival for new builds. We don’t get termite damge, wood worm can be a problem along with wet rot and dry rot, all of which are symptoms of damp and poor ventilation.
    The company I turn to first for sash hardware is Reddiseals, they might trade internationally. Classic light switchs could well have been surface mounted brown Bakalite, I’ve replaced a few in old houses over here, they put in when first converted from gas lighting. So “Period” electric fittings are a bit false, I have used some brass, flush mount fitting that have a toggle type switch, at best these don’t stand out as a “modern fitting”.
    I like your “encouragingly low degree of failure” such a postive way of expressing part of the learning curve. Good luck with all your endeavours.

  10. I have tried everywhere to buy the product you mentioned all the normal shops do not stock them and I tried to buy it from Reddiseal I phoned them and they send a sample CW 511 when it arrived it look to small to keep the draft away nothing like the picture above.
    I live in a Victorian house with a large front door very draughty please let me know where I can buy weather pile brush etc…
    I will be most grateful

  11. Hi Fay
    The Reddiseal CW511 is 5.5m pile. What isn’t clear on their site is that the pile is 5.5mm but some of that is in the carrier. There is CW512 that has 8.5m pile giving around 6.5mm of pile sticking out, so you don’t need to as acurate with setting the depth of the groove in the door.

    By altering the depth of routered groove the pile carrier fits in, you should be able to deal with gaps from around 9mm to 1mm.

    Good luck with it

  12. Reached your web site through Bing. You know I will be subscribing to your rss feed.

  13. Felicitas Schiver on January 15th, 2013 at 12:22 am

    The marketing portion need more elaboration. Please write a new post about the marketing.

  14. Yes I should, things have moved on so much since the last time I posted.

  15. An alternative to spring bronze strip – spring cardboard strip! Based on personal experience.

    If you want a very cheap and effective draught seal on a door that has at least a moderate gap all round, you can use a cereal or frozen-pizza packet or other thin card. Thinner is generally better.

    Cut the card into strips 1 1/4″ wide. Score a fold along the strips and fold (shiny side against shiny side) so as to give long strips 3/4″ wide, with a half inch flap all along the length. The rough side of the wider part is glued to the door frame with Copydex (apply to both surfaces and allow to dry before putting into place) to allow for removal on repainting, or if in rented accommodation. The folded edge should face towards the door.

    If you like, you can run two rows of this strip and stagger the joints.

    Usually a piece or two will come off at some point in the year, and it does not work around the lock, but this system can last for years, and is much cheaper than bronze strip. When the door is shut, you won’t see that you have cereal packet in the rebate (all you would see (if you looked hard enough) is the grey card in the gap between the door and the frame).

    Not convinced it would work on an outward opening door, but it certainly works on inward opening ones.

  16. Great tip Riccardo, Cheap easy and effective. Ok it won’t last forever but so easy to replace or remove should you need to. Thanks for posting.

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