How to draught-proof your windows and doors

Draught-proof your windows and doors to save on energy bills

How to draught-proof your windows and doors

Even a tiny draught can lead to a drop in temperature in your home and a rise in energy bills as you crank up the heating in a bid to battle the cold. Luckily, sealing up the areas where draughts are most common is a quick, easy and affordable way to eliminate them.

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By following our simple guide you can tackle all the gaps around your windows and doors for a more comfortable home all year round.

How do you install self adhesive weather stripping?

How do you install self adhesive weather stripping?

Self-adhesive weatherstripping is an affordable way to block draughts around your windows and doors. It also has the added bonus of cushioning the closing mechanism to soften slamming. If you’re not sure exactly where the draught is coming from, pass a lit incense stick or candle around the window. Anywhere the smoke or flame is blown is a problem area.

What you need

Essential

  • Self-adhesive weatherstripping 
  • Soapy water 
  • Lint-free cloth 
  • Scissors

Useful 

  • Measuring tape 
  • Adhesive residue remover

  • You install the strip on the inside of a window or door frame. The weatherstrip needs to be tightly compressed when the window or door is closed. The strips come in a variety of thicknesses and you should choose the thickest option that doesn’t prevent your window or door from fully closing.
  • Weatherstrips also come in a variety of materials, including felt, foam, rubber and vinyl. These vary in longevity and cost, but your choice will be mostly based on your preferred look and budget.
  • If you’re re-installing weatherstripping, pull away the old strips and remove leftover adhesive with oil or a specific adhesive remover. Clean around the window or door frame with mild soap and water to remove any grease that might prevent the new weatherstrip from sticking. Thoroughly dry any surface you’ve cleaned before applying the new strip.
  • Measure the length of one side of the window or door frame and cut the weatherstrip to size, preferably in one length. It’s better to cut it a little too long and trim down afterwards, because you want to get it right into the corners. Peel away the backing and press it into place. Repeat around all sides.
  • You can also apply the strips around the outer edge of the frame where it meets the recess or wall, and any other cracks or corners that could be letting cold air through.

How to use sealant to fill gaps

How to use sealant to fill gaps
Credit: Getty Images

Block draughts from the outside by filling gaps between the window or door frame and external walls with a silicone sealant. This will also prevent moisture from getting inside.

What you need

Essential

  •  Utility knife 
  • Soapy water
  •  Silicone sealant
  • Caulk gun 

Useful

  • Painter’s tape
  • Methylated spirit
  • Lint-free cloth
  • Foam backer 
  • Scraper
  • Smoothing tool

  • Choose a flexible silicone sealant to withstand weather and temperature changes, and it’s best to get one that is specifically designed for outdoor use.
  •  Carefully remove any old sealant using a utility knife or scraper. You can cover the window frame with tape if you are worried about scuffs. Clean around the frame with mild soap and water to remove any dirt or grease that would prevent the sealant sticking. Dry the surface. Use a lint-free cloth to wipe the area with methylated spirits if any residue remains, then dry.
  • If the gap is quite deep, push foam backer into it with a scraper. Use painter’s tape to tape off the frame and wall a few millimetres either side of the gap. This will help you get a crisp, clean line.
  • Squeeze the trigger of the caulk gun steadily as you move along the gap, wipe off any excess with a smoothing tool or a wet finger. Remove the tape before it dries.

Learn more about the different uses for sealant, caulk and adhesive.

Safety first

Draughty keyholes and letterboxes can’t be sealed shut. Instead, fit a metal disc to the top of your keyhole that swings down when not in use and insulate the letterbox with an internal brush.

How to apply window film

How to apply window film

Window film is an easy and affordable way of adding another layer of insulation to windows and glass panes in doors. It acts similarly to double-glazing without the hefty cost of replacing your current windows. Specifically-designed thermal film is best for this purpose.

What you need

Essential 

  • Window film 
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Soapy water in a spray bottle
  • Window squeegee 

Useful

  • Methylated spirit 
  • Lint-free cloth

  • It’s a good idea to thoroughly clean your windows before applying the film. This will give you a much better finish and help the film adhere. Wipe around the frame with white or methylated spirit, then remove any excess with a dry, lint-free cloth.
  •  You can buy kits with thin plastic film for very little money. If you’re using a kit, follow the instructions to stick the film to your window.
  •  To apply thicker, decorative film, cut it to just larger than the window. Thoroughly spray the window with water that has a few drops of washing up liquid in it and wet your hands to prevent leaving fingerprints.
  • Peel back a corner of the backing and place the adhesive side of the film onto the window, butting it into the corner. Slowly peel away the backing as you move along the window, pressing out large air bubbles as you go.
  • Use a window squeegee to remove the soapy water from between the film and glass. Trim away any excess film.
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Feature by Emma Thompson