Fixing Drafty French Doors
LESLIE: Scott in Illinois is dealing with some drafty French doors. Tell us about the problem.SCOTT: Yes, my wife and I have about a 15-year-old home where we just moved into last summer. And on the west side of the house, the concrete had – the foundation had settled, actually. And they pumped it back up and everything is pretty good but we still have a little bit of a draft under – coming through the French doors. And I’m looking for some kind of a sealer; something that could be placed (AUDIO GAP), what have you, to block that draft.TOM: Mm-hmm. Is the sill adjustable?SCOTT: No, sir, not to my awareness (ph).TOM: You’re not sure or …?SCOTT: I’m just not sure. I guess that’s the first thing; I should look into that.TOM: OK, the first thing you should do is look at the sill because, typically, there may be like a piece of weatherstripping on the sill that you can peel up underneath; there could be some adjustment screws that will move the sill up and down.SCOTT: Ah.TOM: That’s the easiest thing to do. Make sure that your …LESLIE: Would you then need to, on the interior and exterior edge of that sill, caulk it, seal it, anything? Or is it so minimal?TOM: Well, I would move it up and down and get it – to make sure – I mean visually you can see this; make sure it’s square to the bottom of the door, nice and parallel, and see if that does it. If it ends up that you have some gaps underneath, then of course you could seal it. I would use an expandable foam sealant for that.The next thing that you could do in between French doors, it’s very common that you do get a little bit of drafts. They don’t seal all that well. But typically, there’s a piece of weatherstripping that looks like about a one-and-a-half-inch square foam pad and you put that right at the bottom of the doors where they come together; almost even with the top of the sill. That’s the next place that you’ll get a draft.And finally, if all else fails, you can attach a sweep to the inside of the French doors that go from the bottom edge of the door downward. And that will definitely work and seal out a lot of drafts but doesn’t look as good; although you can get these sweeps that are brass-plated or even wood finish.But those are the ways to attack this. I would check the sill first because, very often, in a modern door configuration, those sills are all adjustable and they move up and down for this very reason. OK?SCOTT: OK. OK, thank you very much. I appreciate that.TOM: You’re welcome, Scott. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.