Builders Tips: Draught-Proofing Windows and Doors

Draught-proofing your house
Cracks and gaps occur in many places around the house. It’s a good idea to get rid of them as they’ll really increase your heating costs, and in summer they let in hot air and dust. And it’s not only the strong winds of winter forcing air through gaps in your home that will cause draughts. The warm air rising and escaping from a heated room will draw cold air into the room through the openings around doors and windows and even through spaces between joints and floorboards.

To Fix It
Sometimes gaps are obvious, but if you suspect there’s a gap but can’t see it, light a candle or incense stick and place it by the suspected gap movement in the smoke will let you know if there’s an air leak.

Most cracks and gaps, including around skirting boards, architraves and cornices, can be filled with a caulking compound, like acrylic gap filler. Best to apply with a caulking gun, but caulking compound is also sold in applicator tubes.

There’s a wide range of products available at the hardware store; you should find one to match the colour of your paint or timber work, to apply the caulking compound:
1 – Hold the applicator at 45 degrees and push it away from you as you run a bead along the gap. This will help force the filler deeper into the gap.
2 – As you finish each section, clean up tie by wiping away the excess; the best tool for this your finger

Doors
With doors there are two areas to tackle: tie gap at the bottom of the door and the spaces on the sides between the door and the frame.

To fix gaps on the sides of a door:
1 – Get some self-adhesive weather strips, available from most hardware stores. They’re made of rubber, foam or even plastic; choose the one that best suits the size and shape of your door.
2 – Make sure the surface you’re sticking it to is properly cleaned and dry before you start, so that the adhesive works best.
3 – Unroll the weather strips and lay them in the sun for five minutes or so to soften before starting, as this will make them easier to work with.
4 – Seal the space around the door’s perimeter with the strips by pushing them into the rebate that you are sealing, and trimming off any excess at the corners. In some cases a small frame of timber beading with a rubber seal insert in it can be fitted around the inside of the door

At the bottom of the door you can use a draught excluder; there are many styles to suit different types of doors and frame constructions. Most of them are easy to fit and usually come in a kit that will include all the hardware and instructions needed. Take careful note of how your door works and all the measurements before heading off to the hardware store. A door gap measuring tool is a great tool to use for your new door.