5 ways to stop drafty doors fast – seal air leaks with help from the experts

Learn how to stop drafty doors if you're feeling a chill. Sealing air leaks is easily done DIY with quick fixes from home experts.

A bright hallway with natural wooden front door
(Image credit: Rachael Smith)

The season of stopping drafty doors is in full swing. If you live anywhere that gets windy and cold in the winter, and you live in an older home without extensive insulation, you will be feeling that unmistakable chilly breeze that comes in from the gap under and around your front door. You know the one, it gives your goose pimples and bumps up your energy bill... Not ideal. 

Fortunately, you can fix drafty doors pretty easily. Whilst a door draft stopper can prevent cold air from traveling through your home, there are more things that you can do to help keep the warm air confined to one space. It is, fortunately, one of those common home repairs well within reach, even for a complete beginner. 

Drafty door - Light showing through gaps around badly fitting wooden exterior door

(Image credit: Kay Roxby / Alamy Stock Photo)

5 ways to stop drafty doors fast

Of course, ideally, you would insulate your door to get rid of the cold drafts once and for all. That's not always possible, however, especially for people who live in rental homes, or those who don't have the budget for professional insulation.

We spoke to a handful of household experts for their advice on how to stop air leaks around doors – without any specialist equipment. These quick fixes will make the perfect temporary solution to drafty doors while there's no reason why you can't use them all the time.

1. Use foam tape

Two words: foam tape. Foam tape, available from Amazon, is cheap and easy to apply and really works as a quick fix for air leaks around doors. Volodymyr Barabakh, the Co-Founder and Project Director of residential building contractors Structural Beam, recommends applying foam tape 'to either the edge of the door or the door frame.' The reason foam tape is so good, he explains, is that 'foam tape is thick enough, and the material in it is insulative enough, to significantly reduce the amount of heat that is lost through ill-fitting doors.'

You won't have trouble finding this easy-to-apply insulating material, either; it 'can be purchased from pretty much any home store for as little as a couple of dollars per foot.' What we really like about this solution is that it's self-adhesive, so you don't have to worry about messing around with glue. 

fitting self adhesive PVC foam draft excluder round a door opening to save heat

(Image credit: sciencephotos / Alamy Stock Photo)

2. Invest in draft excluders

If the idea of DIY anything puts you off completely, then just get a draught excluder. Draught excluders can be an effective, immediate solution for drafty doors, but some are better than others, and you will have to move it out of the way every time you want to open the door.

3. Install a door sweep

If you want a similar but less annoying solution, consider installing a door sweep. Jordan Fulmer, an expert in home renovation and house flipping at Momentum Property Solutions, explains that 'homeowners can seal the bottom of their door by installing a door sweep with flexible tabs that press against the floor and prevent the intrusion of air. There is a variety of options available for door sweeps, including sweeps that are installed with screws and those that slip onto the bottom edge of the door.'

4. Check door threshold covers

David Mason, an interior designer and the owner of The Knobs Company, also points out the importance of 'having the floor even with the threshold or putting in a threshold cover.' Threshold covers or cinch seam covers are available from Amazon and can at least temporarily resolve the issue of an uneven floor that's causing the draft gap under your door. Ultimately, though, evening out the floor may be a better long-term option.

A draft excluder in the shape of a cat next to a white front door

(Image credit: Kay Ringwood / Alamy Stock Photo)

5. Install a draft snake

Mason has another solution for drafty doors – installing 'a draft snake along the bottom of the door. This can be made of foam or flexible insulation that you wrap around the bottom edge of the door.' As far as home insulation options go, this is not the best-looking solution, but it will do the job if it's urgent.

What prevents air from leaking around windows and doors?

What about a situation where you have a freak weather episode in an otherwise warm-climate area? You may not want or need to mess about with semi-permanent fixtures to your door. Justin Havre, a home improvement expert at Justin Havre & Associates Real Estate, has a genius solution: 'If it's just a cold front blowing through a warm climate area, a rolled-up towel placed tightly beneath the door should suffice.' In fact, any sheet of dense fabric, rolled up, will qualify as a temporary draft excluder, and will cost you exactly nothing. 

If you are feeling a bit crafty, you could make your own heavy-duty draft excluder. You will need a robust cloth (think thick cotton or even an old potato sack) and grain, such as dried peas or beans. If you have a sewing machine, sew together a long sack, fill it with the grain, and sew up. Voila, your hand-made drafty door solution. Note that some of these solutions may help with drafty windows also. It depends on the extent of the problem and on how much budget/time you have.

Anna is Content Editor at Real Homes. She moved to the world of interiors from academic research in the field of English Literature and photography. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s and has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening. At Real Homes, she covers a range of topics, from practical advice to interior and garden design. 

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