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Pros and Cons of Different Types of Weatherstripping | Insulation Advice

by Daniel Estevao on September 9, 2016

advantages and disadvantages of different weatherstripping

Weatherstripping your doors and windows can provide huge energy savings all year—about 10-15% off your energy bill. They can make you feel cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter by reducing drafts. This also reduces the demand on your HVAC system, allowing it to operate more efficiently.

Although installing weatherstripping is fairly easy to do, the overload of options can be overwhelming. To help you understand your weatherstripping options, here are the 5 most common types of weatherstripping, along with their advantages and disadvantages.

Types of Weatherstripping

You want to make sure you are choosing the right type of weatherstripping for the job. No matter which weatherstripping you decide on, it should be create a tight seal while also allowing the door or window to open freely.

1. V-Shape Tension Seal

This type of weatherstripping, also known as a tension seal, is folded in a V shape or springy metal strip, and creates a seal by squeezing against the sides of a crack to block drafts.

Best uses: Place alongside the edges of double-hung or sliding windows and the tops and sides of doors.

Pros: It’s easy to install, highly effective when installed properly, and many people prefer the bronze look.

Cons: Bronze stripping needs to be nailed in placed and requires smooth surfaces and sharp corners. Like other weatherstripping, it can increase resistance of doors and windows.

2. Foam Tape

This nonporous foam rubber is one of the most common types of weatherstripping, probably because of its low cost and ease of use.

Best uses: Install at the tops and bottoms of windows sashes, door frames, hatches, and windows that aren’t used frequently. Foam tape weatherstripping is best used on doors and windows that don’t see much use.

Pros: It is very inexpensive and easy to install. Although it can be reinforced with staples, the compression normally holds it in place.

Cons: Typically, the cheaper the product, the less durable it is. Although durability varies, they should still only be used in area of little use.

3. Felt

Felt weatherstripping can be installed on its own or as a flexible metal strip. If it doesn’t come with self-adhesive, then it must be stapled or glued into place.

Best uses: Place around the perimeter of doors or windows, or as a door jam reinforcement.

Pros: Easy to install and inexpensive to purchase.

Cons: Felt weatherstripping has to be replaced every 1-2 years, placing them very low on the durability scaled. They are easily damaged by moisture and friction. A more durable, but much more expensive, alternative is all-wool felt. All-wool weatherstripping is highly visible, however.

4. Tubular Vinyl or Rubber

Tubular vinyl, silicone, or sponge rubber can be used as an effective seal around your doors. While the silicone type is normally pressed into place, the vinyl and rubber is normally attached to wood or metal and needs to be fastened with nails or screws.

Best uses: Use at the tops and bottoms of windows sashes and around doors.

Pros: They create a very effective air barrier and are quite durable. The flexible vinyl can fit into uneven places and can serve as an additional insulation layer.

Cons: They are unsightly, making them best for the outside of doors and windows.

5. Door Sweep

Almost all doors that lead to the outside should have a door sweep. They are typically made of aluminum or steel with an attached brush of vinyl, felt, plastic, or sponge.

Best uses: Use at the bottom of both the interior and exterior sides of an exterior-leading door.

Pros: Door sweeps are fairly easy to install and vary in durability and expense. They usually last a very long time and the wide variety makes it easy to find the right one for your application. There are even automatic doors sweeps that retract the brush whenever the door is opened. This protects your carpet and floors by getting rid of the friction caused by the door sweep.

Cons: Clearly visible and can drag on floors, although the automatic door sweeps can be installed into a recess that has been cut out of your door.

If you have any questions about home insulation, duct sealing, weatherstripping, or anything HVAC-related, don’t hesitate to contact Pacific Air Systems.

For more information on sealing and insulating your home, consult this ENERGY STAR guide.

Read our other blog articles for more insulation advice:


Call Pacific Air Systems for an experienced technician to visit your home today. We can service your entire HVAC system and provide energy-saving tips for every room in your home.

Since 1984, we’ve proudly served homeowners throughout Federal Way, Graham, Spanaway, University Place, Steilacoom, Sumner, Lakewood, Puyallup, Tacoma, and Gig Harbor.

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