How to Drought-Proof Windows and Doors

All pipe work and the cold water tank should be insulated to prevent freeze ups in cold spells. A hot water cylinder must also be insulated to prevent heat escaping and thereby increasing fuel bills. Warp a blanket tank and a specially made insulating jacket around the hot water cylinder. These jackets are available from most plumbers’ merchants and are simply ties in place.


Gaps around window and door frames can cause considerable discomfort from droughts apart from allowing valuable heat to escape, and it is amazing how much cold air can come through letterboxes and even keyholes. The solution here is to fix special flaps (available from d-i-y shops) to both the insides of letterboxes and keyholes.

Draught Proof Windows 5 How to Drought Proof Windows and Doors

Plastic strips are the cheapest. They usually have to be replaced each year though. Just peel off the backing paper, cut to length with scissors, and stick them to the frame. This type will only effectively block normal gaps. Wide gaps can be blocked off using two plastic strips which come together when the door or window is closed.

Plastic strips with a layer of felt at the bottom are stuck in place after removing the protective paper backing. Cut to length with scissors. Spring metal strip or a different of plastic strip can be tacked around the door or window rebate. It is not seen when the door is closed. Cut to length with scissors or wire cutters.

There are several drought proofing systems available for sealing gaps around door and window frames. The cheapest system (and the simplest to fix) is self-adhesive rubber or foam strips. When bought, these have a protective covering on the back which is peeled off and the strip is then stuck to the frame after making sure it is clean and dry. These strips are not suitable for sash windows. Aluminum or phosphor bronze strips are also effective. These are fixed to the frames and then bent outwards. The door or window closes against the strip thus forming a tight seal. They are slightly more difficult to fit since accuracy of positioning is essential and care must be taken to ensure that no kinks are formed in the metal. Special drought excluders are made for metal windows though foam plastic strips will be adequate provided the metal is clean before sticking them on. Gape under doors is notorious for letting through droughts. Though a 1/4in. thick batten nailed across the threshold often forms an efficient seal (provided that carpets of the same thickness are used on both sides of the door to prevent people tripping over the batten), it can look unsightly and will only be partly effective if the gap is more than 1/4in. Commercial draught excluders are made from rubber moldings, aluminum section or a combination of metal and plastic. Other types come in halves – one being fixed to the door and other to the threshold which locks together when the door is closed.

Seal metal windows with proprietary aluminum strip system available at d-i-y shops. The strip clips to the outside of the frame and is secured with corner pieces. A threshold strip can be fixed to the floor.

Rise and fall drought excluders are available where the door has to clear a door mat. These are very effective thought they can be tricky to position correctly.


Although a flow or air under timber floors is essential to prevent rot, the droughts that can come up through the floorboards can come up through the floorboards can cause a lot for discomfort. Here, it is worth saying that mastic can be used to plug any minor gaps.


The walls of a house are the biggest cause of heat loss. All building materials have a U value. This, in essence, represents the measure of heat loss the higher the U value, the lower the insulation value of a material. For example, a sealed-cavity external wall, plastered on one side, has a U value of 30. If 1/2in. insulating fiberboard fixed to battens replaces the plaster, the U value would be 18. However, if the cavity were filled with insulating material such as mineral wool or foam, the U value would be 09 and 07 respectively. So you can see from this how beneficial the cavity wall insulation materials are. Assuming that all other insulating work is carried out as well, the claim that cavity wall insulation could reduce fuel bills substantially does not seem unreasonable. There are tow systems of cavity wall insulation which will reduce heat losses through walls by about 70%. Rentokil Limited use dry mineral rock wool blown into the cavity and packed to uniform density. The other system, used by many manufactures, involves urea formaldehyde foam, which is pumped into the cavity where it sets in the form of an insulating layer. Side benefits of this type of insulation are that the house walls will free from damp and condensation. Damp will not rise through capillary action since both materials are water repellent. Cavity wall insulation is not a d-i-y job, however. It should be carried out by professionals, using an approved material. The actual work usually takes a day to complete in an average size house. Holes are drilled in the mortar joints between the bricks to allow the material to be injected. At the end of the day, the contractors will fill in the holes leaving the walls looking as they before.

Solid walls

Of course cavity infill can only be used if there is a cavity between the house walls. External 9in. think solid brick walls need to be lined for proper insulation. One method is to fix 1/2in. thick insulation boards to the plaster, and then plaster over the boards. Alternatively, the insulation boards can be hidden behind plaster board, hardboard or plywood. The boards can be of non-combustible fiber or polystyrene. Decorative insulating boards are available which would not need to be covered with anything else. Plain boards, though, have the advantage that they can be painted or papered and your choice of color or design is not limited. A second method of dealing with solid walls is to nail insulation quilt material to battens fixed to the walls. Fix more battens over the quilt and fix insulating fiber board to the battens.


Because of rising fuel bills. More and more people are installing double glazing to reduce heat losses and increase comfort in the home. It should be said that double glazing alone will not reduce fuel bills. Dramatically. Assuming you attend to the other forms of insulation, which are comparatively cheap, the types of double glazing available and their benefits can be considered. The heat generated in a house escapes through various channels. In an average size semi, insulated to current minimum standards of Building Regulations, with a window area of about 20% of the total area of the external walls, the windows account for 22% of heat looses. Double glazing cuts the heat loss through the window by 50%, that is, the heat loss from the house through the windows is cut to 11%. Thus 11% of the cost of the heat generated in the house can be saved, meaning a minimum saving of 11 per 100 heating costs. Of course, this is not a hard and fast rule since so many variations in house design are to be found. Actual fuel cost savings, therefore, depend on several factors. For example, if a house has more than 20% area of outside glazing, then proportionately more heat escapes through the windows. Therefore by halving these larger heat losses, double glazing will be reducing the fuel bill proportionately more, similarly, if the house is surrounded by open spaces, or is in an enclosed urban area, this can affect heat looses and therefore, in turn, affect the heat cost reduction which can be achieved. The human element must also be considered. Control of a central heating system does affect the amount of heat that needs to be generated to maintain an even, warm temperature.

Draught Proof Windows How to Drought Proof Windows and Doors

Cold windows

Double glazing can also provide other benefits to make a house more comfortable. It reduces cold down draughts from the window; eliminates the cold window are of a room thus enlarging living space; reduces noise irritation and controls condensation. So there should be no more huddling around the fire, or radiators and using only a small part of the room that is not cold.


The reduction of noise level entering the room from outside is a really valuable asset of double glazing. Excessive noise can cause stress, in extreme cases mental disorder and temporary loss of vision, and lack of proper sleep. For sound-insulation the main factors to be considered are:

(a)    the elimination of gaps and cracks both in the fixing into the main structure;

(b)   the space between the two panes of glass;

(c)    the weight of the glass in general, the thicker the better.

When secondary sash (double window) systems are installed to achieve sound insulation, the efficiency of the system is increased if the sides of the air space are lined with sound absorbent materials. The minimum air space between the two panes in double glazing should be 4in., although an air space of 8in. is generally the optimum for sound insulation. Now let us look at the type of double glazing that are available. Double glazing can be either a complete, hermetically sealed replacement unit or an addition secondary window. The main systems are:

Insulating glass

A factory-made, hermetically sealed double glazing unit which requires cleaning on tow sides only (as with ordinary glazed windows). There are tow kinds: The standard type looks like a single sheet of glass but in fact consists of two pieces of glass joined together with a sealed metal, alloy or plastic edge, and is usually purpose-made. The air between the two panes is dried to prevent misting. In existing house, it may be necessary to alter the rebates of the window frames for a neat appearance. Installing this type is not really a job for an amateur. The second type (a stepped-unit) is a modified version of the previous unit, with one glass bigger all round than the other. It is ideal for converting single glazed frames to double glazing without altering the frame. Good draught-proofing of opening window frames adds to the effectiveness of both types of insulating glass.

Secondary sashes

This is a simple system whereby a second pane of glass is added within the existing window openings and is tailor-make. It can be fixed, sliding or hinged. A glazed secondary shah is usually removable and can be lifted out of the surrounding framework for cleaning. This type can usually be installed without disturbing the original window. A third system is called coupled windows: Here a single glazed window has another window coupled to it so that both move together. Fitted with hinges and fasteners, the frames can be separated for cleaning. A coupled window is more often specified for new buildings although they be used to improve existing homes provided modifications are made to the original surrounds. Secondary sashes and coupled for sound-insulation. Last of all is a simple and cheap do-it-yourself system which use flexible channels to hold the second pane of glass, the glass itself being obtained separately from glass merchants. The makers supply various types of channels which can easily be cut to the required size. Special clips and screws are provided and, after the glass has been fixed inside the channel, it is a simple matter to fix the secondary sash to the original frame or surround. Manufacturers of double glazing systems like this will provide assembly and fixing instruction. When deciding on the type to use, consider the window’s location in relation to prevailing winds, safety and the design and strength of the primary window. For up-to-date costs of double glazing get estimates from individual manufacturers. The Insulation Glazing Association will advise you further if you need help in choosing the correct system. They will also provide a list of member firms whom you can contact for estimates.

One Response to How to Drought-Proof Windows and Doors

  1. thalantyr says:

    This article is very very cool and very useful, I myself do many of things mentioned in it and they really make a difference.

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