How To Keep Your Exterior Doors Draughtproof This Winter

That fashion in old houses and cottages to have curtains installed over exterior doors was popular for a good reason – it kept out the draughts. These days we want to show off historic old doors in a character property but the problem with draughts is that they are as old as the doors themselves…

Draughtproofing doesn’t have to mean caving in and replacing old timber doors with something thermally efficient but basically downright ugly, there are ways to have the best of both worlds.

What causes draughts?

A draught is uncontrolled ventilation and the main location for draughts is around ill-fitting windows and doors. Doors also have unique features like keyholes and letterboxes. You would be surprised at how much cold air can flow in or hot air seeps out through a keyhole that doesn’t have a covered escutcheon.

The most common location for draughts is at the bottom of the door but glazed panels are also a hot favourite, where the seal at the edge of the glass meets the frame.

Old doors, especially wooden ones, change shape over the years as they are exposed to sun and rain – remember, wood lives, it swells as it absorbs moisture and then shrinks back again when it dries out. This might be just a matter of millimetres, but it can make all the difference when it comes to a snug fit and zero draughts. As around 15% of household heat is lost through the doors, this is really something to tackle especially with rising energy prices.

Make sure your door is a snug fit

The first thing any homeowner should do is have their door assessed and possibly refurbished by a professional company. The door needs to fit correctly so that there are no gaps to allow draughts but is also smoothly operable and doesn’t stick or catch on the floor. A new timber door may need to be eased after a few weeks and most professional companies will return to do this. An expert team will ensure both door and frame are properly aligned, and this can be a challenge on an old property where straight lines don’t exist and were never in the manual. From this point of view, the fit of the frame is just as important as the door it supports.

If there are still some residual draughts even after a professional fit, then there are certain things you can do to minimise these.

Easy draughtproofing steps for householders

  • Use a draught excluder – most draughts originate at the bottom of the door as there has to be clearance over the flooring when the door moves. Draught excluders or door snakes work well but if you go out and no one else is in then there won’t be anyone there to stop warm air from escaping
  • Some people follow the traditional route of hanging feature curtains over the door. In old properties where the front door goes straight into the sitting room and there is no hallway, this can make the room much cosier. Thick fabrics which cover the sides and the bottom of the door make a huge impact on repelling draughts
  • Fit a door sweep or brush strip, a thin strip of metal with a brush attached that blocks cold air from coming in and warm air from leaving but still allows clearance over a solid tile or wood floor or carpet so that opening and closing the door is not obstructed. There is also an alternative option which uses a flexible strip of plastic and most of these attachments are not difficult to install yourself. A local DIY store will cut the width to fit your exact requirements
  • If your smart Georgian door has a stylish brass letterbox, then that’s one feature you won’t want to lose but letterboxes can be a source of draughts. Fit a letterbox draught excluder which can be easily screwed onto the internal opening of the letterbox on the inside of the door and features a metal strip at the top and bottom of the box with brush strips to prevent the box from flapping when the post is delivered

  • An escutcheon with a cover is essential to prevent draughts from entering via the keyhole and also protect the keyhole from dirt and grime building up over time

Proper draughtproofing ensures you don’t waste money heating the garden and keeps your home warm and comfortable with a consistent temperature which is so hard to achieve if there are draughts. Plus, you’ll be doing your bit to help the environment.

We offer a restoration and refitting service for original timber doors to ensure a snug secure fit which will protect your energy bills as well as your home. We also provide a bespoke design service creating any size, style or shape door with unique tailored features to suit both period and contemporary homes. We supply and fit a wide range of door hardware and furniture. Our glazing products are historically authentic and offer the best thermal regulation. Any colour option or stain is possible, with our spray-painting service completed in our workshops.

Contact us here to find out more about our repair, refitting and restoration service or enquire about our selection of new timber doors for both traditional and modern homes.