How to Seal a Door for Winter (7 Easy Steps + Tips)

Posted by The Barn Door Hardware Store on Mar 15th 2024

Winter is a season that can bring the serene beauty of snowfall and the coziness of gathering around the warmth indoors.

However, it can also come with an increased need to keep your home protected from the tough, freezing elements!

Whether your house is many decades old or has just been recently built, there’s a good chance that it could use some improvements when it comes to safe and secure insulation against the weather.

If you are a homeowner looking to save money on energy bills or interested in a DIY project this winter, then our post has exactly what you need.

This article is designed to equip you with everything you need to know about how to seal a door for winter. It will provide expert advice and share key insights into the following:

  • Materials checklist
  • How to seal a door for winter
  • Tips to effectively keep your door sealed.

Let’s get started!

Materials Needed

Fortunately, it does not take many extensive measures to ensure that your doors are secure and sealed for winter. Here are some of the essential materials required to get you on the right track:

Door Hardware

To keep your door fully weatherproof for the winter, you need to first check all of its hardware components.

These include doorknobs, locksets, hinges, and screws. Furthermore, it’s vital to make sure that your door is hung in the right position to prevent any widening gaps on either side.

Door Sweep

A door sweep is a type of mechanism you can use that is an affordable way to stop cold air from entering through the doors. It is attached to the bottom of your door and made of hard rubber with thick bristles.

Remember to measure the length of your closed door and cut the door sweep to the exact size to make sure that it will fit perfectly!

Door Threshold

A tight and durable door threshold is another approach you can take to prepare for winter weather conditions.

Door thresholds are designed to help ensure that no water is able to run through the doors by diverting it away from the entry point.


Adding a weatherstrip around your door is one of the most common methods of weatherproofing it.

Weatherstrips are a length of material that is placed around a movable component to fill gaps while still allowing it to both open and close. In general, they are incredibly easy to install, can be cut to any size, and typically come with a self-adhesive strip.

Draft Guard

A draft guard or door snake is a simple yet highly effective method to stop any air leaks from coming through the bottom of your door!

It is a weighted fabric-covered tube that functions as a form of insulation. You can either purchase these or make one yourself if you can sew. Make sure to tuck each side closely to the door to seal any draft gaps.


Using a basic tube of caulk can make a significant difference in preventing you from having to deal with frustratingly cold drafts during the winter.

While caulk is usually applied when a door is initially installed, it has a tendency to deteriorate over time. The good news is that you can always add a new layer once the damaged caulk is removed!

Steps to Seal the Door

Did you know that air leaks can account for up to 40% of heating loss in your house during the winter?

Let’s dive into the steps you can take to seal your doors and protect your home from even the worst winter conditions:

Tighten the Hinges

Air leaks can commonly enter through your food hinges if they have been moved over time from where they were originally placed.

Before you proceed with the next steps on our list, you can check your door’s hinges by lifting the door by its doorknob. If it moves upward, you can solve this by tightening the upper hinge screws inside the door jamb.

Moreover, it’s important to check if all the other pieces of hardware are correctly fitted and in proper condition.

If they are not tightly fit and the door is loose, draughts can easily pass through! In these cases, it might be time to update your door hardware and replace any loose screws, locks, doorknobs, or hinges.

Install a Door Sweep

Adding a door sweep to the bottom of your doors is a quick way to keep out air leaks during the winter.

A secure and well-installed door sweep creates an air-tight seal and can easily be attached without trimming your door. If your floors are uneven, you can even opt for door sweeps with rollers to compensate.

There are different types of door sweeps that you can buy. These include heavy-duty, brush, and drip-cap. They also come in a wide array of materials such as vinyl, aluminum, and many more.

To remove the old door sweep, all you have to do is pry it off with a utility knife. Then, simply screw the new one into place with the screws provided.

Check for Air Leaks

While it is entirely possible to seal all the doors in your home, it’s crucial to first detect the draftiest locations. Here are some of the most effective and efficient ways to find air leaks:

  • Close the door completely and look around the doorframe for any sunlight passing through
  • At night, use a flashlight on one side of the door and watch for traces of light beams on the other side
  • Move a lit candle throughout the edges of the door. Smoke will be moving in the direction of a draft and air leaks will make the flame flicker
  • Identify any cool breezes by putting a damp hand over any suspected areas.

Seal the Gaps

Not only do unfilled gaps allow cold air to enter your house but they also entice outdoor pests to make their way in.

After you’ve located the gaps around your door, the next step is to assess their size! Even out those gaps by resetting your door’s hinges and adjusting the strike plates to make sure that it fits securely within the doorframes.

If your door is warped, you can seal the gaps by using foam tape. For a stronger alternative, you can try highly sticky foam tape.

All you need to do is cut it to the right size and secure the tape over the gaps where the air leaks are passing through.

Add Weatherstripping

Weatherstripping is one of the most effective measures against cold air during the winter season. Even a novice can install weather strips since they do not require any special tools!

You can find a wide array of weatherstripping materials at your nearby hardware store. These range from metal flange, silicone bulb, vinyl, or wrapped foam.

Regardless of what material you go with, you need to make sure that it is cut to fit exactly along the length of your door for it to compress tightly.

Once you thoroughly clean the door frame, it’s time to tack the weather strips into place. For a snug fit, remember you open and close your door a few times throughout the installation process.

Use a Draft Guard

Using a draft guard, also known as a door snake, can easily block out any air leaks from your door. They serve as added insulation to keep any unwanted chill from entering.

Draft guards are readily available at any hardware store and you can even opt to make your own.

If you are not super confident about your crafting skills, simply rolling up a towel and placing it next to any gaps in your door will suffice!

For good measure, you can also opt for a door threshold or draught excluder. They ensure to minimize any potential heat loss from the gaps beneath the door.

Caulk Your Door Frame

Caulk is a material that can serve as an excellent barrier against the cold winter weather. When applying caulk around your door be sure to pay extra attention when filling the visible cracks.

Allow it to dry overnight and apply more caulk if you continue to see gaps between the door and the door frame. Any leftover caulk can even be used for your drafty windows.

As previously mentioned, the caulk around your doors can deteriorate over time and lose its effectiveness. As such, it’s always a good investment to have a few tubes ready to refresh the seal.

Additional Tips

When you make sure that your doors are fully sealed during the winter, you not only protect your house but also save on utility bills for the long term.

Let's take a look at a few extra tips to help reduce heating costs and enhance your home’s energy efficiency:

  • Window Film - Window film looks similar to the kind of plastic wrap that is used to cover food. It can do a remarkable job as an added form of insulation during the winter months – just remember to heat it with a blowdryer after placing it on your window to seal out drafts
  • Insulated Curtains - Utilizing thermal curtains is another great measure to create more insulation in your home. You can further retain heat during the winter by simply keeping them closed!
  • Keep the Door Locked - This last tip won’t cost you anything at all and is highly effective for blocking out cold drafts.

Since a door’s lock pulls it tighter into the door frame, getting into the habit of turning the deadbolt will create a stronger air-sealing barrier to the winter weather.