Weather Sealing Your Door Jambs

The other day I mentioned that I put off replacing the weather sealing around our sun room door because of the heat. Yesterday, I did it in the morning before it got to 100 degrees, because there was another Excessive Heat Warning.

I saw a YouTube video of how to do this, and a guy was pushing the replacement strip in the kerf with a chisel. “Kerf” is a just fancy word for a slot in which you push the tab of the strip into the door jamb.

As I watched the video, I thought to myself, “I hope he doesn’t tear a hole in the strip with that chisel.” Then the guy actually warned viewers to be careful not to rip the weather seal with any sharp tool used to push the seal into the kerf.

It’s actually pretty easy to push the seal into the kerf. You just press it in with your fingers. The hard part is trying to keep your hands and work area clean while you’re peeling out the old strip. You do this by gripping it with needle nose pliers and pulling it out of the kerf just to get it started. This can lead to what amounts to a mini-rock slide spilling on the floor and maybe even in your face. You might think this would make you look like you worked really hard, mitigating any fallout from the mess you made.

Of course not! That’s because it’s hard to explain to your better half why there’s a pile of dirt, pieces of old seal on the floor, and grime on the fresh, new seal (the color of which is, of course, white) in addition to the swarm of hornets and flies, sparrows, the odd skunk—which you tried to hide by wiping things off with a new sponge that is earmarked for other cleaning jobs around the house, and calling pest control.

You can either try to measure the strip first and cut it before installing it or just start pressing it in at one end and estimating where to trim it (You can easily trim with a pair of stout scissors; don’t use the pair in the kitchen) when you get to the other end.

I tried the latter and the technical term for the unfortunate resulting quarter inch piece across the top of the doorway I added to make up the shortfall is “tacky.” Because of the orientation of the kerf tab, you can’t just flip it around to make it look like there’s no gap. That trick never works, apparently.

Fortunately, I’m entitled to a limited number of tacky handy man moves. Good luck.

Author: James Amos

I'm a retired consult-liaison psychiatrist. I navigated the path in a phased retirement program through the hospital where I was employed. I was fully retired as of June 30, 2020. This blog chronicles my journey.

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