… I should really say that it’s “the great five-minute project once you get your supplies from the store and spend four weeks looking for the perfect time to get it done.” In my case, it only took one cold day to encourage me to get my drill in motion and patch a troubling spot in our home: the base of the attic door. Truth be told, there are probably 20 other spots in my home that I should be giving insulation attention to… this is just the starting point. If you’re in the mindset of getting your home ready for winter, this project is just a starting point – you can learn much more about insulation tips from DIY Network right here.
The attic’s not insulated, you see. It’s not a finished space, and even though the door is a heavy wood and reasonably insulating from the cooler temps by itself, there were still issues to be addressed, one big one being that there was a significant gap between the floor and the bottom of the door. It’s been there as long as I’ve been in the house, which is 3.5 years, and every year I’ve been bothered by the cold air that floods in (or hot air that flows outward) through this gap.
Said gap can be plugged by three children’s books.
See? It could be worse, but it is kind of a big space and surely effects my heating bill during the winter. Chances are that if you too have an older home, you might be facing the same issues, so keep reading to learn more about how I stopped the flow of air beneath the attic door.
As I was saying, to fix this problem and eliminate what on cold nights can only be described as an icicle-like draft only takes about 5 minutes with the help of a drill, a hacksaw, and a strip of door sweep from the store. The one shown was about $10 at Lowe’s, and is a simple aluminum and vinyl construction that comes as a 34″ strip but can be cut to length to fit smaller doors.
Start by measuring the width of your door, and transferring the same measurement to the weatherstrip. You won’t want the metal to exceed the width of the door, but sometimes leaving an extra few millimeters on either edge creates a nice seal. Side note: Our door itself needs a good re-painting, and it actually looks like a weather strip had been installed on the outside of the door based on how there is a paint line of a different color. Someday I’ll get on repairing that.
You’ll want to cut the weatherstrip to length. Metal snips work but will leave you with really sharp edges; I prefer the hacksaw since it goes through this soft metal easily. File down the edges if it still feels sharp.
The placement of the weatherstrip depends on which way your door opens and where the threshold sits in relation to the gap of the door; our attic door opens into the hallway, but the threshold sits just inside where the closed door rests (no, not lined up to it, and that’s why we’re dealing with an icy jet stream during the cool months). To close that gap, it made most sense for me to install the weatherproofer to the side of the door that’s inside the attic, so that the rubber seal would flex tight and hopefully enclose the gap on the outer edge of the threshold while still being out of sight from the hallway-side of the door.
I predrilled holes and then used the supplied screws to anchor the door sweep to the base of the door. Side note #2: That’s my Black & Decker GYRO cordless screwdriver. It’s as handy as can be, lightweight, and because of its small size, it has proven to be a very helpful new tool when I’m needing to fit into tight areas. For light-to-medium projects, it’s my newest go-to.
With the door sweep secured, it creates a tight seal against the floor when the attic door is closed. It immediately cut off the constant flow of air, and will help to keep our home a little warmer all winter.
See how it looks when the door is closed? Wonderfully sealed.
What’re you doing to cure household air jets as wintertime air moves in?
Catching the home improvement bug at an early age, Emily Winters is a now a devoted DIYer living in Rochester, NY. The projects she covers on her blog Merrypad range from painting a wall to building a deck, so it’s only natural she landed at DIYNetwork.com. You can follow Emily on twitter at @merrypad and like her on facebook at facebook.com/merrypad.