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The BEST Door Sweep for Exterior Doors

And for Lowering Utility Bills

As Seen On
by Jeff Patterson in Exterior DIY Projects
Best Door Sweep

Raise your hand if you want low utility bills?

If your arm shot up then read on.

You’ve probably seen traditional door sweeps or even installed one. They consist of a rubber gasket attached to a metal strip.

These sweeps are’t terrible but there are better options.

Today I’ll show you why U-Shaped vinyl door sweeps are AWESOME and how they’ll lower heating bills while preventing your door from rotting or rusting out.

Here’s your supply list

  • U-Shaped Door Sweep by Frost King ($9.47)
  • Hacksaw
  • Miter Box
  • Drill
  • Drill Bits
  • Metal Screws (#6 by 3/4 inches long)
  • Caulk (for exterior applications)
  • Caulking Gun
  • Hammer
  • Nail Set
  • Pencil

And here’s what you’ll learn

  • How to lower heating bills with a U-Shaped door sweep
  • Why this kind of door sweep is better than other varieties
  • A hot tip for how to easily remove doors

Before running to the store to buy your new door sweep you first need to do some measuring 🙂

 

Measure twice, cut once (make Wilford Brimley proud)

For some reason I envision Wilford Brimley saying “measure twice, and cut once because…”

Don’t ask me why but that’s what happens whenever I have to cut something.

You need three measurements before buying a door sweep:

Measure the door width (it’ll likely be 32 to 36 inches wide)

Measure Door Width

Get the door thickness (it’ll probably be 1 3/4 inches thick if it’s an exterior door)

Measure Door Thickness

And finally, measure the gap between the door threshold and bottom of the door (I can’t guess what this will be but probably 0 – 1 inch)

Write down these measurements and take them to the store. Then compare them to the U-Shaped door sweep specifications.

Make sure the fins on the bottom of your door sweep will fit in the gap between the threshold and door bottom.

Some thresholds can be adjusted up and down. Keep this in mind when you measure the gap.

U-Shaped door sweeps are awesome because they have multiple fins that keep out cold air in the winter and warm air in the summer.

U-Shaped Door Sweeps

And the U-Shape protects the bottom of your door from rain, snow, and bugs. This means a $9.47 door sweep can help stop

  • Metal doors from rusting out
  • Wood doors from rotting due to rain or moisture
  • Wood doors from being eaten by termites or ants

Now you know why I’m excited to write this post.

It’s time for the fun part: INSTALLATION.

 

U-Shaped door sweep installation (it’s easier than ironing underwear)

I don’t iron my underwear but if I did it would be seriously difficult.

Door sweeps are simple to install.

The first step you need to take is to open your door and slide the door sweep onto it.

Slide Sweep onto Door

Mark the door sweep with a pencil to indicate the edge of the door.

Mark Sweep with Pencil

Remove the door sweep and cut it to size using a hacksaw and miter box.

Cut Sweep with Hacksaw

The miter box will help you make a perfectly square cut.

I also made a modification to the installation that will make the door sweep way more secure.

Doors open and close a ton.

If you’re like me, you probably want this door sweep to last several years.

You can add a bead of caulk to the bottom of the door to help this dream come true.

Apply Caulk to Door Bottom

The portion of the door sweep that has the holes should be positioned on the interior side of the door.

Position Holes of Door Sweep

You can now slide the door sweep onto the bottom of the door. 

Slide Sweep onto Door Bottom

Drill pilot holes in the slot positions of the door sweep.

Drill Holes in Sweep Slots

And then drill holes into the bottom of the door sweep. You need to do this because you’re going to add screws to the bottom of the sweep for added strength.

Drill Holes through Sweep Bottom

Place a Phillips bit into your drill and add a screw to all the holes your drilled into the door. I used #6 pan head screws that were 3/4 of an inch long.

Add screws to drilled holes

The only downside to adding caulk is that you’ll have to remove the door from the hinges.

But don’t worry, this isn’t that hard and I show you an easy way to do it in the video below. You’ll see why I needed to replace my door sweep (let’s just say it gets cold in Pittsburgh).

The Supply List

This is one of the simplest home projects you can do to lower your utility bills. And as a bonus, nasty little creepy crawlers will have a tough time invading your house.

Here’s your supply list

What’s Next

Our tutorial showing how to use spray foam insulation is also great – and will save you money!

Grab our free guide if you’re doing a DIY bathroom remodel – it shares how to remodel a bathroom in 10 days or less

Send Me The Guide

 

Thanks as always for reading, watching, and being part of our awesome community.

Ask your questions below and we’d be happy to help.

Cheers,

Jeff Patterson

 

 

 

 

P.S. Our online store has great supplies for homeowners doing a bathroom remodel. You’ll find shower systems, tiling tools, and more.

28 Comments
  1. Char says:

    Hi Jeff-
    I have just installed this very thing and it does help altho my installation needs some fine tuning.
    I also have put those cloth with foam cylinders under 2 doors in rooms that are not in regular use.
    Saw them on TV, looked interesting—far better than a rolled up rug.
    But needed to SEE them–saw them at the local CVS, and they work pretty well also.
    Thank you!

    1. Thanks Char for your tip. I’ve seen those as well and they look pretty neat. Let me know if you need any help with the fine tuning 🙂

  2. Kathleen says:

    Jeff,
    What about a door that was just installed on a house being built. Could we still benefit from this or should we be ok for a few years? Love your site and your videos.

    1. Hi Kathleen, as long as your new door has a sweep you should be good to go. I bet it does if it’s brand new. Congrats on your new house 🙂

  3. Hilde says:

    link please to order the door sweep

    1. Here is the link from my local Lowe’s store Hilde.

      http://www.lowes.com/pd_45981-1410-B79/36_0__?storeNumber=3051&Ntt=door+sweeps&selectedLocalStoreBeanArray=%5Bcom.lowes.commerce.storelocator.beans.LocatorStoreBean%4075bb75bb%5D&pl=1&productId=3456436&ipTrail=67.165.36.108&currentURL=%3FNtt%3Ddoor%2Bsweeps

      At least this link will show you the type of sweep I used. You can then type in your zip code to find the Lowe’s nearest to you or buy the sweep online.

      Hope this helps.

  4. Ellen says:

    Hi Jeff,I love your helpful hints. This weekend I told my hubby about the door sweep which we added to both entrances. What a difference in the front foyer for warmth. My hubby thinks I’m pretty smart to come up with such great ideas. I gave in to him and confessed where I’m getting all my useful ideas from you. Now I’m waiting to find out how to replace old grout on ceramic floors. Can you help
    Thanks again Ellen

    1. You should have told your husband that all the ideas are from you, lol.

      Glad to hear the sweeps made a big difference. Especially since this winter has been brutal.

      I removed grout from our shower floor using an oscillating multi tool and grout removal attachment. This is so much easier than manually scraping the grout – which is a pain in the butt.

      The multi tool is between $100-$300 but I recommend Bosch because they are very durable. How big is your flooring area?

  5. Another good one Jeff. I’ve been looking for something like this for our family room’s french doors. Of course, winter’s not so much of a problem here, but bugs and air conditioning pass freely beneath it in the summer. I wonder if they make it in white so it wouldn’t stand out as much.

    The videos just keep getting better. – John

    1. Thanks John. You can totally buy these door sweeps in white. I only chose brown because this door gets dirty really quick and the hardware is oil rubbed bronze.

      I can only imagine what kind of bugs you get. Any scorpions? Those really give me the chills.

  6. Evan Stewart says:

    Enjoy your emails and find a lot of your tips useful. I want to return the favor and pass on a tip to you.

    I have a metal roof on my house. This spring I needed to repair a downspout but the roof was wet and slippery. I borrowed a long, rubber backed hallway rug from my wife and spread it on the roof and had no trouble walking on the roof to make the repair. My roof on that section of the house is not very steep so it was no problem. Don’t know how steep a roof this would work on.

    1. Great idea Evan. I really appreciate your thoughtfulness.

      I’m not too afraid of many things but roofs are the #1 thing on my list that I’m done with. After seeing so many people get hurt or die (including my great great grandfather) I can’t stomach putting up a ladder anymore.

      Some people might call me a wuss but I’d rather live to see another day.

      But your tips is awesome for anyone brave enough to get up on the house tops. Thanks buddy 🙂

  7. Ron Eckel says:

    Hey Jeff,
    Really like your info. Do you know of any METAL u-shape doorsweeps that fit 1-3/4″ thick doors? Wondering..

    Thanks!
    Ron

    1. Hi Ron, I’m sure you could find one. A quick search didn’t turn up any but that’s not to say you couldn’t get one or have one fabricated at a metal shop.

      I like the vinyl sweeps because of the harsh weather we get here in Pittsburgh. They don’t rust or corrode as easily as metal.

      I’ll keep my eyes open for the metal version and let you know what I find.

      If you find one before me please drop me an email 🙂

  8. Rose says:

    Jeff, if after dry-fitting, I or husband were to drill the bottom sweep holes first and screw into the caulk, it seems possible the sweep would suck up tighter. This seems ok as long as the bottom of the door is straight and even, and ours is, it was cut by a good door shop. In the event it sucks up tighter (every so slightly) the screw holes on the side of the door might no longer perfectly align. So I was thinking we’d drill them after drilling and attaching the bottom. What do you think? Too fastidious? LOL.

    1. Haha, you’re not too fastidious Rose. You have a great idea. Go with it and I’m sure you’ll be in great shape. Let me know how it turns out.

  9. Jon says:

    I recently moved into a new place and can see light coming in the TOP of the door. What would you recommend to fix this issue? Can door sweeps be put on tops of doors?

    1. Hey Jon, you might be better served by adding door weather stripping to the exterior of your door.

      Here’s a tutorial I did on the topic

      http://hrtllc.wpengine.com/installing-weather-stripping/

  10. Laura says:

    We have two sets of french doors in our living room that are very drafty. We need to add some sort of sweep at the bottom, but are running into problems finding one that will work with the door locking mechanism that goes into the floor. Do you have any tips? Would it work to drill a hole into a sweep to allow to lock to move up and down? Thanks!

  11. Lee says:

    Hey Jeff, I used your tutorial and installed two new sweeps in my house. The good news is that it was really easy. The not so good news is that I now know that something else needs to be done to the front door. There is a slanted gap under the door, 1/2 inch that slopes to nothing. Is it okay to slant the U-sweep so it isn’t fully attached on the bottom of the door, but only on the sides? Or can something be placed between the door bottom and the sweep when it is installed? Thanks.

  12. ted says:

    Definitely a good piece of advice often overlooked as well as door weather strippng surrounding the frame.The only problem with the U shaped door sweep they sell at Lowes or Home Depot (they only sell the one) is it is a dark brown color and does not look good on a white door. Also it’s only one size so if your door is wider it’s not going to fit. If you take the door off to install the sweep you might want to put it back on before adjusting the vertical fit to the gap under the door. Then predrill and install your screws.

  13. Caity says:

    Hi!

    What do you recommend if there is no threshold on the door? Will this still work?

  14. Tammy Lovelady says:

    I am looking for a solution to install under an outside gate. The gate will not glide over a cement surface installed years ago before the gate. IOT open the gate I need to trim the pickets about 6 inches above the ground which will allow my toy dog to escape. Any recommendations?

  15. byron says:

    I have a clear door sweep from home hardware, snug as a bug with no screws…but very snug, rather noisy when opening when cold…oh well, small price.

    1. Sorry to hear that Byron, but you’re right. If it’s keeping the cold out the noise might be worth it for now.

  16. Steven M Silverman says:

    What are you doing. You haven’t a clue. Screws on the inside caulk and screws on the bottom. Are you out of your mind. You have made that door shoe non adjustable. A Plastic door shoe is nothing but crap. Try extruded aluminum with vinyl and built in rain drip. People please don’t follow this guy’s advice. He knows nothing about weatherstripping.

  17. Sas says:

    Hello Jeff,

    Great info and awesome video.

    I bought this sweep but because my door has a threshold, the door closes with difficulties now. It means after installing the sweep when I am going to close the door I need to push it hard to make it close.
    I believe the gap is too small (Between door bottom and threshold),
    Do you have a suggestion? Maybe another product but a bit low profile?

    Thanks,
    Sas

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