A Homeowner's Guide to WeatherstrippingWinter’s coming to northwest Arkansas again, and you’ll want to make sure your home is sealed tight against the cold and wind. The first line of defense should be to ensure a good seal around those components in our walls that move, windows and doors. Here’s a homeowner’s guide to weatherstripping.

Fit for the Purpose

Several variables effect which weatherstripping is best for an application:

  • Types. The most cost-effective weatherstripping tends to be a variety of open-cell foam. If the moving component to be sealed doesn’t see much traffic, this type will work well. Vinyl products are less susceptible to extremes of temperature, and better at resisting moisture penetration. Weatherstripping made from metal is the high-end choice; where it can be used, it’s the longest-lasting option.
  • Uses. Various types of weatherstripping are manufactured, each dedicated to the resolution of specific issues around the home. Some, for sealing below doorways, are highly resistant to foot traffic, while those designed for sealing sliding windows withstand drag.
  • Characteristics. The sturdier products are typically more expensive to purchase, but it’s important to use the one that’s right for the application. Wear-and-tear, variations in temperature, and resistance to friction and abrasion all affect performance. Most products are sold with a guide to weatherstripping specifics printed on the packaging, helping you make the right choice.

Preparation

Most non-metal weatherstripping is sold with a self-adhesive backing strip; the do-it-yourselfer simply peals away a covering film, then presses the product into place. Good adhesion requires a well-prepared substrate, and this invariably involves cleaning away surface dust and greasy deposits. Again, the user’s instructions on the weatherstripping’s packaging should give detailed instructions.

Weatherstripping is only appropriate for sealing around movable objects. Various caulks are marketed for sealing stationary components, determined by the material(s) to be sealed. It’s important to remember that good indoor air quality is to a large extent dependent on adequate ventilation; entirely sealing your home is counterproductive.

Please contact us at Paschal Heat, Air & Geothermal for further advice on any aspect of weatherstripping and caulking your home as the winter winds arrive in our part of Arkansas.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Springdale, Arkansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about weatherstripping and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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