With the fall season encroaching upon us, I’m sure many of you are also dreading the harsh Canadian winter weather around the corner as well, and with that means weather proofing your home to prevent drafts, loss of heat and energy.
The summer season is conventionally known to be a busy time for home renovations and projects, but we believe the fall season is an ideal time for renovations. The weather is more comfortable and predictable compared to the spring and it is also less humid compared to the summer.
Now is the ideal time to begin inspecting your windows and doors for any leaks, drafts and issues with any of the operating mechanisms. If you’ve already taken the initiative to appropriately lubricate levers and roller mechanisms, and they’re still not functioning smoothly, they may be worn down and require placement. The roller mechanisms on sliding patio doors typically last about 10-15 years, so if your home is about that age, you want to consider replacements.
How to Check for Drafts on Your Doors and Windows:
Identifying where your drafts are coming from is important for preventing heat and energy loss, as well as preventing an unnecessary spike in your utility bill.
There are a few ways to go about checking for leaks and cracks along your window and door frames.
1. On a windy day, wet your finger and move it along the frame to feel for a draft.
2. User a lighter or light a candle and move the flame slowly around the frame and look for any flickering from the frame.
Covering the Draft
1. At the Base: If you notice a draft coming from the bottom of your door or windows, a quick and easy fix to the problem would be to purchase a draft stopper from your local hardware store or to simply make one yourself with some old fabric, pillow stuffing, needle and thread.
An even easier fix would be to roll up an old towel and stuff it snuggly at the base of your window or door.
2. On the Side – Caulking: If the draft is entering through the side of your window or door, you may want to purchase clear caulking to seal the exposed areas. Once the caulking has dried, you can perform the wet finger or candle test to check for anymore drafts.
On the Base – Weatherstripping: Alternatively, you can also choose to apply weatherstripping, which is used to seal leaks on movable joints such as your windows or doors. Please note that whatever type of weatherstripping you choose, the seal should allow for your doors and windows to open and close easily. It should be able to withstand friction and changes in temperature. Check out this easy DIY tutorial from kyGRRENtv.
- Felt and open-cell foams are usually less expensive but they are also less efficient for blocking out air drafts. You may choose this type of material for less frequented areas because of the ease of application and lower costs.
- Vinyl costs more, but is a good option as it is durable and moisture-resistant.
- Metals such as bronze, copper, stainless steel or aluminum are both durable and affordable, but tend to fit in more nicely with the look of older homes.
- For unusual openings, don’t be afraid to use multiple weatherstripping materials to get the job done.
3. Sliding Patio Doors – If you suspect the draft is coming from your sliding patio doors, it may be tricky to tackle, since the weatherstripping needs to go in between the two doors. You will need to purchase pile weatherstripping (see the image below). It is also sometimes called fin or brush weatherstripping. Details of how to install the pile weatherstripping can be found here.
If you know you’re not going to be entering and exiting through your patio doors much in the winter, a quick and cheap alternative would be to roll up small towels or thin strips of cloth to squeeze between the doors with a ruler or butter knife.
If you think that your windows and doors need a little more TLC than what I’ve discussed here, you may need to assess if you need new ones. If you have wood windows, you should be sealing and painting regularly for proper maintenance. A lot of people like the charm and look of wood windows, but if you’re not doing the work to maintain them, they can deteriorate overtime versus vinyl windows which never require sealing or painting. Learn more about the pros and cons of each window in one of our previous blogs here.
As we mentioned earlier, there’s no better time to do indoor and outdoor renovations than the fall season. Leave me a comment below or contact us for an assessment on your windows, glass, or door needs, and we’ll make sure you get the ideal products installed to meet your home’s needs.