No door can completely prevent drafts, water, bugs, and other debris from entering a room. The only solution for this would be to build a door that drags along the floor, which would make it difficult to open and close, not to mention cut off ventilation inside the space.
This is where door sweeps step in.
Door sweeps are a simple yet effective way to seal the gap between the bottom of a door and the floor. Simply put, they are your home’s defence against cold air, rain, snow, dirt, and pesky insects—all without cutting off the circulation of air inside your home.
But what is a door sweep exactly? Are there different types? Can you install door sweeps without unhinging a door? Keep reading to find out the answers.
What Is a Door Sweep?
A door sweep is a narrow and long strip that holds a seal made of either neoprene, silicone, or a nylon brush that is mounted to the bottom of the door. Because it’s made from a flexible material, this section (or sweep) can seamlessly drag across the floor as the door is opened or closed.
It should be noted that door sweeps should be installed in a way that won’t hinder the door’s functionality. For this reason, door sweeps are available in a range of lengths and dimensions, making it easier to customize the size depending on the gap at the bottom of your door.
What Are the Different Types of Door Sweeps?
There are several types of door sweeps available, each with its own unique features and benefits:
Aluminum and Vinyl Door Sweeps
These are a popular choice for exterior doors because they are inexpensive, durable, and easy to install. The aluminium strips attach to the face of the door with a thin vinyl strip acting as the sweep. They can be screwed or nailed to the door and are available in different colours to match the door.
Brush Door Sweeps
These can be used on both the top and bottom of doors. Brush door sweeps are made of a strip of bristles or fibres that are held in place by a metal or plastic holder. The bristles are made from a variety of materials, such as nylon, polypropylene, and horse hair.
Magnetic Door Sweeps
Just as the name implies, magnetic door sweeps use a magnetic strip to seal the gap between the door and the floor. They consist of a magnetic strip that attaches to the door and a metal strip that attaches to the threshold. When the door is closed, the magnetic strip attracts the metal strip, creating a tight seal that prevents draft, dust, and other debris from entering the room.
Rodent-Proof Door Sweeps
You may think you have it bad with insects, but depending on where you live, rodents are bigger pests you may have to deal with—both literally and figuratively. If rodents find their way inside your house even with an exterior door sweep, consider installing a special rodent-proof door sweep.
Self-Stick Vinyl Sweeps
This type of door sweep attaches to the door using pre-attached adhesive instead of screws. They won’t last long, but if you need a temporary fix until you get a more durable door sweep, these are a good option.
What You’ll Need to Install a Door Sweep
If you’re reading this blog, then chances are you need to install a door sweep on your own soon. So, here are the materials you need to prepare first:
- Door sweep of your choice;
- Tape measure;
- Drill bits; and
- Driver bits.
Even though some types can be installed on interior doors, door sweeps should be applied on the outside face of exterior doors. This is to prevent dirt and debris from collecting underneath your door.
How to Install a Door Sweep
Once you’ve gathered the materials, you can start installing your new door sweep. To do this, simply follow the instructions below:
1. Take Measurements
Using a tape measure, measure the width of the door at the bottom, including the door stops. Mark the length of your door sweep as well using a pencil.
2. Cut the Door Sweep
After transferring the measurement to the door sweep, use the hacksaw to cut the metal frame of the door sweep. Stop cutting when you reach the sweep insert.
Then, cut the remaining flexible flap with sharp scissors.
3. Position and Mark the Holes
Position the door sweep with the flexible part lightly touching the top of the threshold. Then, mark the centre of each oval hole of the screw positions.
4. Drill the Pilot Holes
Choose a drill bit that’s narrower than the screws included in the sweep kit. Then, drill pilot holes at each marked place.
5. Attach the Door Sweep
Hold the door sweep in place by pushing it down against the threshold before switching to the driver bit in the drill. Screw the door sweep carefully, especially when tightening the screws to avoid stripping out the heads or warping the metal frame.
If adjustments are needed, then loosen the screws first before sliding the sweep up or down against the door.
When in Doubt, Call the Pros
Although door sweeps are durable, they don’t last a lifetime. Sometimes exterior door sweeps alone won’t solve the problem. Often, a front door replacement is needed to protect your home from the elements.
As Canada’s premier window and door company, Clera Windows + Doors is here to assist you with expert advice and provide you with high-performance products.