When Old Man Winter moves in next month, Maryland will be in store for several weeks of snow, ice, and whipping winds. Luckily, we can stay warm inside our homes, but only after weather-stripping doors and winterizing windows. It’s not the most tantalizing task, but weather-stripping is a crucial component to weathering winter in comfort and warmth. The simple act of sealing leaks also makes good economic sense. Winterizing around openings saves homeowners 5 to 10% on heating bills, while only costing around $10. Although it’s best to begin your winter preparations in early fall, it’s not too late to protect your home from those bitter breezes. Find a day where the temperature is above 20 degrees and follow these easy steps.
Start the weather-stripping process by cleaning doors and jambs. Once all debris is removed and surfaces are dry, carefully measure to determine the width of the jamb and the gap between it and the door. Ideal thickness should create a tight fit between door and jamb, but you don’t want it to be so thick that the door won’t close.
Several products are available for weather-stripping doors, so pick the one that best suits your needs. Felt is the cheapest choice and it’s a cinch to install, but it’s the least durable option and is not advised for high moisture areas. Foam is a popular alternative for being modestly priced yet stronger than felt, although durability concerns remain. Rubber is the winner when it comes to optimal protection but be prepared for a higher price tag and longer installation time.
When ready, peel back the weather-stripping’s adhesive layer and press tightly around the jamb. Fit each side with one continuous piece, and make sure the stripping is tight in each corner. Use tacking nails or staples to fortify the material in case the adhesive bond weakens. Finish the weather-stripping process by installing a sweep at the bottom of the door.
Sealing windows is about more than warmth. By eliminating drafts, you’re protecting your window from moisture and water stains. Damp environments are a breeding ground for bacteria and mildew, which eventually leads to wood rot and damage to the frame. It’s a costly repair, but the real price is paid by your family’s health. Exposure to mold can result in allergic reactions, respiratory problems, skin irritations, and other symptoms.
The process for winterizing windows is similar to that of doors. The first step is always cleaning the window sash and jambs with soapy water. Once dry, cut vinyl v-strips to length and affix firmly around the sash and between the jamb and stiles. Make it a tight fit but ensure the window can open and close without impediment.
If you need help winterizing your home, or even if you just feel safer having it overseen by a professional, give D&L Enterprises a call. Fully licensed and insured throughout Maryland, we provide our friends and clients with a wide variety of professional handyman services.