It's 5 AM and you're letting your dog outside for a quick morning constitutional when you slip in a puddle by your slider doors. Wait! Don't get mad at Fido for making a mess just yet. It could be that last night's rain blew in through the doors. But there's a way to solve that with weatherstripping, saving both you and your dog from heartache.
Weatherstripping your sliding glass doors can help stop drafts, energy leaks, and inclement weather from getting in. But don't call a professional just yet - it's relatively easy to do without shelling out your hard-earned cash to someone else. So long as you buy the right weatherstripping material, you can do it yourself in just a few minutes.
What Type of Weatherstrip Should You Use?
There are as many types of weatherstrip on the market as there are windows and doorways that need them. That said, sliding glass doors require a special type of weatherstripping known as Fin Seal or Brush Fin.
Fin Seal weatherstripping has a Mylar fin centered in the middle of the pile (brush material). It is extremely durable, good for nearly all climates, and stands up well to high-traffic use.
While you can use other materials like foam, they won't stand up to constant use and will need to be replaced more frequently.
How to Install Weatherstrip Around Sliding Glass Doors
Installing weatherstrip around your sliding glass doors is a serious undertaking, but not an impossible task. But, since you need to remove the doors from their casing, make sure you're able to physically lift them or that you have help to hold them steady as you apply the weatherstrip.
Materials You'll Need
When replacing (or putting in new) weatherstripping in your sliding glass door, you're going to need:
- Measuring tape
- Fin Seal weatherstrip
- Flat-head screwdriver
- Phillips-head screwdriver
- Cordless drill with screwdriver attachment
- Putty knife
Buckle up, because replacing your weatherstripping isn't going to be a five-minute project. But once you're done, you'll feel like you can conquer the world.
How to Remove the Door
Installing weatherstripping for the first time? Follow these steps to remove your door from the frame.
- Measure the perimeter of your sliding glass doors. Add between 5% and 10% to this measurement.
- Locate the two screws that hold the roller adjustments in place at the bottom of the door. These'll be covered in plugs that are the same color as your door. There should be one on either side of the bottom of the door.
- Use the flathead screwdriver to pry off the plugs and loosen the screws until the door lowers in its frame.
- Locate the headstop at the top of the door. This is a small strip that helps hold the door in place. Use the cordless drill to remove the screws holding it in place.
- Open the door to its mid-point position, grasp its frame on either side and lift it out of the tracks.
- Set the door on a pair of sawhorses and scrape off the old weatherstrip using a putty knife.
How to Install the New Weatherstripping
Now that you've got the door out of the way, you can work on putting the new weatherstripping in.
- Remove the old weatherstrip from the stationary panel still in the door frame.
- Position the new weatherstrip according to the manufacturer's directions. Use the enclosed screws to secure it in place on both the door and the stationary panel. Position the flap on the stationary door so it'll rest between the two panels when the door is shut.
- Use the screwdriver to pry out the old weatherstrip in the top and bottom channels of the door.
- Using a long, continuous motion, pull the weatherstrip free.
- Insert the new weatherstrip into the channel and guide it into place.
- Tap on the channel with a hammer to crimp the weatherstrip back into place.
- Now it's time to put the door back on. Insert the bottom of the door into the bottom channel and push the top of the door back into place.
- Reattach the headstop at the top of the door and readjust the roller screws so the door rises back into place.
- Close the door and check the lock alignment. Readjust the roller screws.
- Reinsert the plugs at the bottom of the door, and voila! You're finished.
How Long Does Weatherstripping Last?
High-quality weatherstripping that's been installed properly should give you up to 30 years of use before needing to be replaced. So, it's a small time investment up front for a huge future payoff.
Be Careful Where You Buy It
As with any construction materials, you want high-quality weatherstripping you can rely on to last many years. Make sure you buy your Fin Seal from a reputable source - not every company sells it. A few good places you can buy it from include:
- Ultrafab - A weather seal manufacturer
- All About Doors and Windows - A premier supplier of door & window parts and products
- Window Hardware Direct - A company that supplies all your window needs
You can also contact your local window replacement company; typically, they'll sell parts, including replacement weatherstrip, directly to homeowners. While you can get your weatherstripping from online retailers like Amazon, it's best to order them directly from a manufacturer to ensure you've got the size and type you need.
Protect Your Home With Weatherstripping
If you're noticing drafts coming in around your sliding glass door, it may be time to replace the weatherstrip. Taking care of this project now can help save energy costs in the future. Future you will love past you for saving them some extra money.