Alternate title for this post would be “My Big, Fat, Overly Ambitious Weekend To Do List.”
The good news is that my house looks awesome and feels warmer. Among the things we did this weekend:
- Cleaned the house
- Hosted a friend Saturday night
- Put out Christmas decorations
- Purchased and hung Christmas lights
- Purchased and up-decorated a wreath
- Replaced the weather seal on the front door
- Winter-proofed the windows
- Finally touched up the top of the walls and the edges of the ceiling in the living room
- Mopped the floors
- Super cleaned the house
- Began preparing a Christmas tree for a fundraiser for the museum where I work
Needless to say, I’ve been pretty busy and I’m so ready for the long weekend. I’m a little sad that I need a long weekend to recover from my last short weekend but at least it will be in a clean house with nothing pressing on my To Do list.
I want to share our weatherproofing lessons because I think we learned a thing or two about the process between last year and this year. Here are my good lessons:
The biggest lesson I know I learned is to figure out what you need to seal up before it gets cold. Last winter was our first season living in our house and the temperature dropped to 9 for one unseasonably cold week just two weeks after we moved into the place. Neither of us had lived in a 100-year-old house before so we had no idea what kind of drafts to expect, but it was SO COLD. Our bedroom, it turns out, is the coldest room in the house and it didn’t get warmer than 45 or 50 degrees in there with the furnace working overtime.
Second, make sure you know what you need to fix your seal problems. It turned out that shrink-wrap film wouldn’t work for us in our living room because the windows were so drafty and unsealed that the film bubbled up and then blew off! Instead we use fingertip rope caulk to stop the draft around the windows. We put it on in the fall, take it off in the spring, and it works really well for us.
We usually use the kind by Frost King, but it all works about the same. It comes in a giant roll and works basically like pull-and-peel Twizzlers.
You can keep the strands together to fill a wider gap or separate them for a thin one. You push it in to the crack with your finger, make sure it’s snug and in place, and peel it off when you’re done. So easy and effective!
We also replaced the vinyl gasket that acts as the weatherproofing for the door. Remember, when we did this process last year we were very very very cold and pretty confused that we were so cold. So we ended up with a giant mess. We thought we could use foam weatherstripping to fill the gaps but discovered it wasn’t thick enough then that it interrupted the way the door closed, and finally that even with the door closed and basically the right thickness, it still didn’t work very well.
So this weekend, I peeled all of the weatherstripping off. I’ll probably still get at some of the remnants with a straight razor or a sanding block.
Next, I removed the little gasket screwed into the frame. I can’t remember if we added this or if it was already there, but it screwed in over the vinyl gasket. Because of the screws, removing this gasket also removed the original one.
The above photo shows the door frame without any weatherstripping (or at least with only weatherstripping that still needed to be sanded off).
The new gasket slid very easily into the little gap between the green trim and the rest of the door frame. Emphasis on “very easily.” After the weatherstripping was removed, I was done in about four or five minutes. It was seriously stupid easy.
Next, curse yourself for not doing good research before you headed out to fix the problem last year and/or not explaining very clearly what you were trying to fix to the nice people at Lowe’s. Because you’re reading this post, you’re basically doing your research and can skip this step.
Finally, close your door and make sure it’s all sealed. We ended up having to add back a little bit of the thickest foam weatherstripping because our door magically has a little gap between the door and the gasket near the threshold. I say magically because if there is a gap there, it should be rubbing somewhere else and it isn’t.
Even with the fairly warm weather we’ve been having (for November), it was a very noticeable difference. I can’t wait to keep sealing up the other windows and known problems in the rest of the house. Hopefully this will be a much warmer and less costly winter for us!