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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Weathersealing my older windows

Earlier this week I finally got to weathersealing the 4 older windows in our house. These are aluminum-framed, double-paned windows. About half of them have lost their seal, and do get foggy near the bottom, some days. The windows are 35 years old. They need replacing, and we'll get to that in the next few years. Until then, I want to make them as airtight as I can, just to keep us more comfortable.

I used the same product that I used on our doors. I picked up 3 packages of foam weatherseal at Home Depot for about $2 a package. These three were enough to do one sliding glass patio door, two large sliding windows, and one smaller transom window.

On sliding windows and patio doors, I found there was quite a gap at the top and bottom of the moveable panels. This really surprised me. Throwing a quilt over the windows in winter was just like stapling a piece of fabric over a hole in the wall. 

So I patched up these gaps with small pieces of the weatherseal. I'm hoping this helps. Then I weathersealed all around the perimeter of the moveable panels of all the windows. Since my windows are bronze, I bought brown weatherseal. In hindsight I should have bought black. The brown is really tan, and probably better suited for natural wood-toned doors and windows. But I won't fret about that now. I may add a final strip of dark brown duct tape, sealing the weatherseal to the window frame, as that would cover it as well as give me that tighter fit I'm seeking.

There were also these small holes, 1/8-inch wide by 1/2-inch long, in the tracks of the sliding windows. I have no idea what those are for. But I put a piece of the weatherseal over each of those tiny holes, as well. 

The previous owners had drilled holes through the aluminum frame to install a pin-type lock for the sliding glass patio door. They had drilled in the wrong place -- twice! And left two holes in the frame. I covered those with weatherseal, too.

At Home Depot, I also checked out the shrink-to-fit plastic window coverings. They're about $7 for a patio slider and $5 a piece for windows. I haven't decided if I'll go that route, too.

Once weathersealed, the first thing I noticed was that it seemed quieter in the first room I did. I can still hear some outside noises, but I think it really is quieter, which would mean better sealed, right?

$6 for supplies. I don't know if we'll actually save $6 on heat. We may, or we may not. But I'm hoping we'll be more comfortable and those two rooms will be draft-free.


  1. We moved into our current (and final I hope) house 18 months ago and my husband spent the whole winter hovering by the windows with candles watching drafts and chasing them away with liberal amounts of Alex P (goop in a tube stuff). It made a huge difference, also to the noise as you describe.

    1. Hi Jessica,
      I'll look for that stuff "Alex P", and see if it would be of use to us, too. Thanks for telling me about it. I'm glad that you found something that worked for your house.

      We're wanting to keep our home warmer this year than previous years, as a cold house seems to put a damper on the morale around here.

      I am constantly learning things through this blog -- thank you!

  2. Those 1/8" x 1/2" holes are weep holes for your windows. When condensation builds up, it should escape through those holes. If the moisture doesn't have a way to escape, it can stay there and cause rot. I learned that from a home inspector. Check into it, but you may need to leave those open.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      Thanks for your advice. I'll ask our contractor. I was under the impression that weep holes were on the exterior of window frames to carry storm water out of the exterior sill area to drain. I didn't realize they were also on the interior.

  3. If your windows are drafty, you may want to try the shrink plastic. I swear by it. Years ago I lived in an apartment where the landlord refused to do anything about the windows. The first year was horrible on my heating bills. The next year I found the shrink plastic and cut our heating bills by more than half! It was also much more comfortable indoors once we started using it. I too use the weather strips like you do to seal any moving parts. It's amazing how much air can leak in and cause major discomfort.

    1. Hi Lois,
      I'm waiting for that first windy day and I'll check all around the windows with a lighter. If I can still see drafts, I'll do the shrink plastic. That's amazing that your heat bills were reduced so drastically. Definitely makes the shrink plastic sound worthwhile.

      Thanks for your input.


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