Door bottom weather seals: your options simplified

As I mentioned in my previous post: the weather stripping section at your hardware store has a mind-bending number of door sealing options.

You can seal your door in more ways than you would care to imagine. To illustrate this, I've listed below the 'basic' options from just one manufacturer (Raven Products Pty Ltd). Before we look at those, it's worth covering which door seals you actually need.

From an energy efficiency perspective, door seals are aiming to do two things:

  1. Seal the door (from unwanted air leakage and ingress of bad weather)
  2. Improve the door's insulation value (only relevant in very cold climates)

So, for most of us, the aim is to seal the door to minimise unwanted air leakage. In my experience just two types of door seal will achieve this in over 90% of cases.

Door seal type 1: plastic door 'sweep'

Raven Door Bottom Seal RP17

Basic Door Bottom Seal 

This option is suitable for almost all doors which have a sill (ie. a part underneath a closed door which is slightly raised from the surrounding floor). They also work on doors with a uniform surrounding (as per the graphic).

Firstly, you cut the plastic strip to size (usually possible with a scissors). Then you peal off the self-adhesive cover and stick it to your door whilst in the closed position. Done! All you need to do is make sure that the air gap is well sealed and that you are still able to open and close the door unhindered.

This options costs less than $10, you can get them in a range of colours and there is no handy-work or drilling required.

Door seal type 2: fitted 'threshold' seal

Raven Adhesive Threshold Seal RP80

Simple Adhesive Threshold Seal (type 2 referred to above) 

This option is suitable for most doors which do not sit on a sill. Often, these doors have the largest gap when the door is in the closed position (rendering the above solution problematic).

A 'threshold' is a strip of wood, metal, plastic or stone forming the bottom of a doorway (crossed when entering a room). So, a threshold seal is simply one which fits across your doorway. The door closes onto it and forms a reasonable seal. Like the plastic seal mentioned above they are very easy to install and require no complicated drilling and measuring.

Sometimes you may come across doors with very large or uneven gaps underneath them. In these cases you can usually solve the problem by combining both types of door seal.

All the other options you probably don't need

Here's a list of the other types of door bottom seal from just one manufacturer (Raven Industries). Talk about complicating a simple issue!

Raven Brush Strip Seal RP83

Brush Strip Seal (use for sliding doors if type 1 above wont do the job) 

Raven Rolling Door Seal RP1

Rolling Door Seal (I can see that getting very dirty, very quickly) 

Raven Storm Proof Seal RP4

Storm Proof Seal (try finding a door where you need that level of protection and where it fits) 

Raven Automatic Weather Seal RP3

Automatic Weather Seal (there's nothing 'automatic' about the installation process!) 

Raven Daniels Rainstop Seal RP54

Daniels Rainstop Seal (Daniel obviously likes to engineer things) 

Raven Automatic Door Seal RP60

Automatic Door Seal (looks nicer than the other one, but probably even more complicated - my eyes glazed over whilst reading the instructions) 

Raven Weather Strip Seal RP5

Weather Strip Seal (more complicated version of type 1 above)

- Ryan McCarthy

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