When it's cold outside you bundle up with a hat and coat. And if it's really cold, you use a scarf to cover the gap between your hat and coat, so no cold air runs down your back. A door sweep is like a scarf, covering up the gap between your door and the threshold beneath the door to keep cold air out.
What a Door Sweep Does
Wondering why there's a gap between the door and threshold? The challenge is leaving enough clearance so you can open and close the door easily, while blocking as much air and water as you can.
Look at the photo to the right. The metal strip (silver) is attached to the door, and below that a darker grey rubber strip attached to the metal strip. The rubber strip is flexible so if it hits something as the door opens/closes, it can move out of the way without stopping the door action underway.
When A Door Sweep is the Right Choice
First you'll want to determine why it's not working. Is the rubber or the broom like bristles worn or missing? Maybe the sweep below the door isn't tall enough so the entire gap isn't covered? When you set off to buy a replacement door sweep, you'll need to know the width of the door and the height of the gap you need to cover.
You'll also need to decide if you want a door sweep that screws into the door, or one that attaches with an adhesive strip. There's a little more risk that the adhesive won't last as long as one that's screwed on but if you want a quick solution and don't have the tools or experience, it's much better than doing nothing.
If you don't have any type of protection at the bottom of your door, you might start with a phone call to the door manufacturer or visit their website. They know their doors best and might have the best solution for your door.
Alternatives to Door Sweeps
- Door shoe, boot or bottom that wraps around the bottom of the door.
- Door threshold with a vinyl insert on top.
- Adjustable door sills on doors that swing out, use a bumper sill (Thermatru door sill shown at right) to block the flow of air and water.
And for fun really, because this stuff can get boring.