A common maintenance item in your home is exterior doors and the caulking around them. When the seal on the top and sides of a door starts to deteriorate, it can be quite obvious. What might not be so obvious is what's under the door. A gap between the bottom of the door and the sill can be a good way for drafts and insects to get inside.
You want to make sure you have a flexible and secure seal at the bottom of exterior doors that keeps outside air and insects out without making the door difficult to close. This is an easy DIY repair that takes almost no time even if you are new to the DIY world.
Choosing and installing bottom door seals: a step-by-step guide
In this tutorial I will show you step by step how to replace one of the most common door bottom seals. This type is installed by simply inserting it into grooves called grooves or groove cutouts.
I'll also go through the different types of seals available in case your port is different than what I'm using in this demo.
First, let's look at some things that need to be assessed before starting your project. Then I'll show you how to cut and install the new door seal below.
Would you rather watch than read? Watch this 10 minute video.
DISCLAIMER: This video and description contains affiliate links, which means I will earn a small commission if you click on any of the product links..
Optional accessories and other types of bottom door seal:
- Longer #9 (2 ¼”) hinge screws
- Lower door seal with friction fit
- Bottom sweep (brush, screw mount)
- Bottom Sweep (flexible strip attached with adhesive)
- heavy scissors
- Tape measure (if you don't have an old stamp to use as a template)
Things you need to do before you start your project
To ensure we are set up for success as we erect the new fence, we check the condition and position of the sill and also tighten all gate hinges before doing anything else.
Check the condition of the threshold and its placement
We want to make sure the sill is solid and at the right height, because that's what the bottom door seal will press on to do its job.
So let's evaluate the damage threshold. If it feels loose or soft when you step on it, there may be an issue with the underbody.
Soil degradation can occur if your door is exposed to too much rain. Water can penetrate and cause damage. Any issues with the subsoil really need to be addressed in a timely manner, but this is a larger project and a topic for a separate discussion.
Assuming your threshold is good, the next thing you need to check preinstalled is your mood. This step is to ensure that the threshold is at the correct level.
Most rocker panels have four Phillips head screws that you can turn to increase or decrease the adjustment. Turning the screws clockwise lowers the threshold; Turn them counterclockwise, lift them up. The goal is to position the sill so that it makes good contact with the bottom door seal. This adjustment alone could fix an air leak or bug issue.
Tighten the screws on the door hinges.
Now we will tighten all the screws of the door hinges. It is very common for them to become detached over time.
If you have 1" screws and they keep turning because the screw holes have been removed, a simple fix is to put in 2" or 2½" screws. There is a link to these longer screws in the accessories section if that helps.
All you have to do is drive the new screws right into the existing holes. This is a simple thing you can do to reinforce hinge support.
Now that our hinges are secure and our sill is properly adjusted, let's talk about the different types of bottom door seals.
Various types of bottom door seals
Almost all door bottom seals are available in 36 inch lengths. This is because most exterior doors are either 32 or 36 inches wide.
The bottom door seal I am replacing has cylindrical seals on either side of the outside of the seal. If you look at the profile of the stamp it looks like two bubbles (in fact they are called double bubble stamps).
Between these channels are sweeps that run along the central part of the pistil.
Stamps without notches
If you don't have cutouts in the bottom of the door, or if the door is in poor condition, here are your options:
- friction fit jealousysliding down the door
They may also be referred to as compression fit, webbing or U-shape under door seals.
This type of seal is basically a three-sided channel designed to only stay in place under compression caused by the sides of the channel.
Honestly I'm not a fan of this type of seal for extended wear. I don't think the friction fit will last for years. It can be a good quick fix when you just need to stop cold air or bugs until you find a permanent fix.
Installation instructions for mechanical seals:
Play around with the vertical fit of the weatherstrip so it sits properly against the sill, then secure the placement by drilling four holes on the inside of the door and securing with screws.
There are two main types of bottom port scans:
- A brush attached to a metal strip.
2. Solid but flexible straps
This type of windbreak is mounted on the underside of the door from the inside.
When the door is closed, the sweeper should press on the sill. If it doesn't perfectly match the limit, you still have a design or bug issue.
There are a few main methods for mounting a sweeper on the underside of the door.
- With adhesive strips. These are practical but not the best long term solution, especially in harsh climates as the cold weather will cause the adhesive to become brittle and lose its adhesion.
- With fastening screws. The sweeper comes with pre-cut slots that allow clearance for vertical adjustment. You will need to drill pilot holes in the door before installing the screws.
Trimming the broom door:
- Remove the brush part from the metal strip.
- Measure the width of the door.
- Using a hacksaw, cut the metal door sweep strip and take equal amounts from both ends so the screws are evenly positioned and there is one screw at each end.
Remove the old lower door seal
The easiest way to change the bottom door seal is to remove the door.
Hit the bottom of the hinge pins with a nail or small pick to push them in far enough to grip with pliers.
Using the pliers, pull the pins all the way out of the door hinges.
With the hinge pins facing out, carefully lift the door off the hinges.
To work on the door, simply turn it on its side and lean it against the door frame.
You should be able to remove the old seal simply by pulling it away from the door, but you may need a spatula or screwdriver to pry it loose. If it's a cut gasket that attaches to the underside of the door with a tongue inserted into a carved groove, it should release easily. However, some nails or staples may need to be removed.
Don't throw away the old stamp just yet. It will be useful as a template for measuring the new seal.
Measure and cut the new gasket
As long as the old gasket fits the door perfectly, we can use it as a guide for cutting the new one.
My gate is 32 inches wide and the new fence is the standard 36 inch length so I need to shorten it. To do this, I remove material from both ends of the stamp.
First I cut about an inch off one end with a pair of sturdy scissors.
I want to leave some space between my incision and the start of the stretch marks. (The grooves are the wings that go through the top of the gasket they attach to the bottom of the door.)
Then line up the cut end of the new piece with the end of the old piece. Make a small cut in the new piece with the scissors to mark where you will cut it.
Using your heavy duty scissors, cut the new piece of putty where you marked it.
Finally, let's reduce the splines a bit. We don't want them to go all the way to the end of the seal because the cut outs don't go all the way to the edge of the door. If you're not sure how wide to cut the slots, look at the bottom of the door.
To cut the ridges, make a horizontal cut and a vertical cut.
Now I have my new stamp the right size! You can see that it doesn't take long to make this exchange.
Installation of the new seal.
If your door is in good condition, installing the new bottom seal should be easy.
Align the new gasket to the bottom of the door, making sure your measurements are correct and that the ribs fit into the grooves in the cutout.
Press the flutes into the cut slots, working from side to side. Make sure the ribs are fully seated in the panel cutouts.
Once the new seal is in place, the final step is to drive a small nail or staple near each end of the seal. So you don't have to worry about the seal coming loose for a long time. When driving in the nail, be careful not to damage the seal.
To reinstall the door, first align the bottom hinge, then the middle and top hinges.
Insert the middle pin into the hinge to hold it while you insert the other pins, then gently hammer the pins in.
Is this! Your new door seal is installed.
To find out how to replace the gasket on the entire door, check out ourVideos from YoutubemiArticle.