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How to Fill Door Gaps (Keep Out Drafts and Pests)

Updated
Don’t want a draft or pests coming in your house? Better fix that door gap.

Do your doors have a nasty gap along their edges that lets light in when closed? This allows hot air to escape and cold air to come in; plus, it’s an opportunity for insects to find their way into the house. It even makes the front door easier to break by trespassers.

You can either replace the door with a new one or learn to fix the gap yourself. Once you know how to fix the gap between the door and the frame, you can do it for all your doors. So, let’s get into it!

How To Fix Gap Between Door and Frame with Weather Stripping

  1. Remove the Old Weatherstripping
  2. Measure the Door around the Edges
  3. Cut the Weatherstripping to Size
  4. Install the Weatherstripping Around Edges


Should There be a Gap Between Door and Frame?

Before learning how to fix a gap in the door, know that some natural space often falls between the door and the frame. There’s usually a gap at the top and sides that should not be wider than two to eight millimeters.

If the gap is any wider, it requires your immediate attention. Especially in a latch side where you need a secure seal. Some potential problems that may arise:

  • Pests might get the home or travel between the areas of your home.
  • Gaps in exterior doors can result in water seeping through, causing damage to your home’s interior.
  • Heat can escape through these gaps, which is a disadvantage during the winter.
  • Cold air can also escape, or hot air can come inside, overworking your AC in the summer.

How to Fix a Gap Between the Door And Frame

If the gaps between the door gaps exceed the limits above, it’s time to learn four methods on how to fill door gaps.

By Tightening the Hinges

Loose hinges can often cause a gap between the door and its frame. But here’s a quick fix.

What You’ll Need

1. Check and Tighten Loose Hinges

Simply check the hinges on your door and tighten them using a screwdriver. If you notice that the screws are spinning and the hinges are still loose, the wood is hollowed out. The solution is to buy longer or wider screws that sink into the wood better.

With Weather Stripping

One of the most common methods of how to fix the gap between the door and the frame involves weatherstripping.

Weatherstripping is a relatively easy and low-cost method of increasing a home’s energy efficiency. It reduces air leaks around doors and windows.

What You’ll Need

  • New weatherstripping like this Weather Stripping Seal.
  • Paint scraper.
  • Clean rag.
  • Tape measure.
  • Pencil.
  • Scissors.
  • Nails.
  • Hammer.

1. Remove the Old Weatherstripping

When you want to get rid of old stripping on a door, use a paint scraper to cut it away from the top, bottom, and sides. Clean the door and door frame’s edges with a moist rag.

2. Measure the Door

With the door closed, measure along the sides and top of the frame. Open the door and measure the bottom side while facing the inside of the room. This is where you will apply the weatherstripping.

You should have two measurements for the side of the door and two for the bottom and top of the door.

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3. Cut the Weatherstripping

Grab your tape measure and a pencil and mark the measurements on your weatherstripping. Cut the weatherstripping with scissors at the marks you made in the previous step. Cuts should be as straight and precise as possible.

Each side of the weather stripping and both ends of the top side should be slanted to fit into the adjacent side. The bottom side does not have to be angled.

4. Install the Weatherstripping

Close the door from the inside and place the top weatherstripping piece along the top side of the door. Use nails to fix it in place, about 1.5 inches each. Place the nails at two inches’ distance from both sides to ensure there’s no splitting.

With the door closed, nail the side weatherstripping pieces along the door frame. The process is similar to that mentioned earlier for the top side. Repeat for the bottom side as well.

When all four pieces are in place, open and close the door to test and see if the seal holds.

With a Door Sweep

Door sweeps are installed on the bottom side of the door, between the door and the floor. They are usually made from stainless steel, aluminum, or plastic, and have a strip of nylon, vinyl, or a brush. This solution works best for fixing gaps at the bottom of the door.

What You’ll Need

1. Measure the Bottom of the Door

If you have an old door sweep, remove it and clean the area. You can use it as a reference for the dimensions of your new sweep. Otherwise, measure the width on the bottom side of the door from the inside.

2. Cut the Sweep

Considering the previous measurements, cut the sweep down to size. Use scissors to cut the foam, and a fine-tooth saw to trim the flange.

3. Attach the Sweep

Place the sweep so that the soft portion touches the top of the door’s threshold. Mark the position of the screws and drill the holes using a 3/32-inch drill bit.

4. Attach the Felt Pads

Cut two 1-¾-inch pads from a piece of felt that’s ⅛ inches thick. Nail them to the bottom sides of the frame. Test it by opening and closing the doors a few times.

By Shimming the Door

Door shims are tapered pieces of wood used to level and plumb a door to open and close properly. They are necessary to properly install any door within its rough frame. Which is typically made of 2-by-4-inch wall studs.

You can use them to close gaps between the door and the frame, especially when dealing with a small gap.

What You’ll Need

1. Loosen the Hinge

Loosen the jamb hinge screws and insert a shim piece behind the hinge leaf (one side of the loose hinge), push it against the screws and tighten them. Repeat the process for each hinge.

​​What to Do If the Gap Won’t Go Away?

If your wooden doors are old, they may begin to shrink or warp, resulting in gaps in your door. This is especially true with storm doors, which often have thin wooden frames. At this point, you’ll want to replace your door entirely to resolve this issue.

For screen doors and other such door types, you can purchase a hardening wood door putty and form it into the cracks in your door.

This creates the illusion that your door is not bent, and it will seem and function as if it were brand new. This can also help fix uneven door frames and edges.

FAQs

How Do You Close the Gap Between Double Doors?

There are several ways to close a gap between double doors. You can repair, replace, or reinstall the door’s hinges. Or, you can install a locking stile on the stationary door to get a more polished look.

Are Door Snakes Worth It?

Door snakes can help you save money on energy expenditures and work well for interior doors if you’re attempting to preserve energy. Even so, they are not a substitute for properly weatherstripping exterior windows and doors.


A Few Final Words

Fixing the gap between the door and the frame isn’t necessarily complicated, but not all methods will be efficient for everyone. Sometimes, the solution is as simple and standard as tightening a few loose screws.

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About the Author

Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond is a USA TODAY Bestselling Author and Award-Winning Interior Designer. Using her years of hands-on experience, she now writes about design and DIY. She currently resides on the rocky East Coast of Canada with her family and slobbery bulldog.