How To Apply Weather Stripping To a Garage Door

Many homeowners prepare for cold weather by insulating, caulking and apply weather stripping to their homes. But, one of the most forgotten places that needs to be weather stripped is the garage door. While hardly anyone heats their garage, sealing the cracks can still help in keeping lot’s of cold air out.

Weather stripping your garage door can help to protect everything that’s stored in your garage even if you don’t heat it. Many items can survive the winter out of the damp air, that wouldn’t last if they were sitting out in the elements.

And, if you have the convenience of a door from the home directly into the garage, weather stripping can help keep lot’s of cold air from entering your home each time you open the garage door. But, since garages aren’t normally heated, most people don’t think to insulate them.

Most garage doors will last for the entire life of your home if they’re taken care of and properly maintained. Weatherstripping will keep moisture from leaking to the inside of the door that will not only damage the door, but can affect the way your garage door opener works as well. Moisture gathering on the metal parts of the door opener can lead to rusty components that stick.

Many homes have rooms or small apartment like additions over their garages. Another great advantage to insulating your garage is that the cold air won’t leak into the above room or suck all of the heat out of it wasting energy.

A garage door that has been properly installed and maintained should have even space all the way around the door. However, the door normally doesn’t fit up against the frame and this small gap is where weather stripping needs to be applied.

Garage door weather stripping is made of rubber and is very flexible. As the door opens and closes, the rubber flexes and forms a tight seal around the door. Eventually, heat and cold damage the rubber and it can become hard and crack. Sometimes the rubber stripping gets torn from bumps with lawnmowers, bicycles or other items.

Most home improvement stores and hardware stores carry rubber weather stripping. It generally comes in either white or brown and is pre-attached to a plastic backing that can be nailed right to the door frame. Measure the existing weather stripping to make sure that you get the correct size for your garage door.

When removing the old stripping be very careful not to damage the frame. You can use a hammer to remove the nails, but a small pry bar usually works better since the area is small. After you’ve removed all of the old stripping, check the area to make sure that none of the nails have pulled through the stripping and are still in the frame.

It’s best if you start attaching the new weather stripping at the top of the door. Depending on what the backing is made of, you can usually cut the stripping with a utility knife or a sharp pair of utility scissors. Measure the length across the top and cut a piece of stripping to the correct size.

The weather stripping can be over lapped slightly at the corners so that there aren’t any leaks. Nail spacing is a personal preference, but the closer the nails the less chance there will be of leaks. You can also use an electric staple gun if you have one handy.

After you’ve attached the top section of the stripping, measure, cut and attach the side pieces. Applying the weather stripping with the garage door closed will give you a much more efficient seal. With the door closed, you’ll be able to see any gaps and adjust the stripping before attaching it.

Don’t forget to inspect the weather stripping around the door that enters your home from the garage. And, if you have a window installed on the side of your garage, weather strip it as well. Any amount of cold air that you can keep out of your garage will help keep your home warmer and reduce your utility bill!

Don’t have a garage? Visit to learn about prefabricated garage kits.

How To Prevent Pipes From Freezing and Bursting

In an average winter, one quarter of a million homes have busted pipes caused by freezing. A small hole that is just 1/8″ long can leak as much as 250 gallons of water each day! Even if the hole isn’t inside the home where the water can do all kinds of damage, the wasted water will make for quite an expensive water bill.

There are steps that you can take to help prevent your pipes from freezing. And, if you do them now, you won’t have to be outside during the cold weather insulating pipes or fixing leaks. When it comes to something that can seriously damage your home, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Something as simple as leaving your cabinet doors open when you go to bed at night can sometimes prevent freezing. Heat often don’t reach inside closed doors, opening them will allow heat from the room to keep the area around the pipes warmer. And, believe it or not, actually letting your hot water drip during the night can also help keep pipes from freezing.

Seal all the air leaks in the area where your water pipes are, during extremely cold weather, outside air can freeze pipes that are even inside your basement or other area. If you have air vents under your home, close them or seal them all up with insulation during the winter to keep cold air out.

One of the most common ways to insulate pipes is to use foam insulation. The foam comes in pipe like tubes and is split down one side to slip over the water pipes. It can be easily cut to fit an size area that you need to insulate. Pipe jackets are usually made of either foam, fiber glass or wool felt.

If you use insulating tubes, get them as close together as you can. And, as you get each piece placed on the pipes, tape all of the seams with some wide tape to prevent air leaks. Tape the joints securely as well, the insulation won’t work properly if there are holes and gaps that let the cold air reach the pipes.

You can also use regular batting insulation that comes in narrow rolls especially for pipes. It’s just like the insulation that you use inside walls and it’s just wrapped around the pipes. If you’re really worried about frozen pipes and want to take extra precautions, use heated pipe cable or tape to protect your pipes.

If there’s any insulation already on the pipes, you’ll need to remove it before attaching the heat tape. You should also remove any flammable items away from the heat tape as an extra precaution. If you have existing heat tape on your pipes, you should inspect it on a yearly basis. Although, it’s made to last for several years, the plastic coating can sometimes become cracked leaving raw wire exposed.

Follow the manufacturers directions exactly, heat tape shouuld never be wrapped over top of itself. Leave some space between each layer. Not all heat tape works for all pipes. Some of the tape can’t be used on plastic pipes, just make sure you purchase the correct heat tape for the correct job.

Another great advantage of using heat tape is that besides helping to keep your pipes from freezing in the first place, it can slowly thaw them if they do freeze. The automatic heat tape is much safer than the regular types, it will come with a thermostat that will keep the temperature adjusted at a certain level.

When choosing insulation to cover heat tape, make sure that it is waterproof to keep water from soaking through to the electrical elements of the tape. Heat tape is one of the best ways to properly insulate around pipe fittings or spigots.

Once you’ve applied the heat tape, then you can use foam sleeve insulation over top of the tape. Don’t forget to start wrapping your pipes with the plug-in closet to the nearest outlet. And, last of all, don’t forget to plug your heat tape in on those cold winter nights.

What You Need to Know About Loose Fill Insulation

Loose fill insulation is just one of the many types available that you may choose to use in your home. The main difference in this type and other types is of course, the form that it comes in.

Loose fill insulation is manufactured in two different ways. It can be made of shredded materials or made in solid form and then shredded at the factory. It generally comes in bags and is blown into the openings with a special machine that you usually rent to do the job yourself.

There are three primary types of loose fill available, fiberglass, rock wool and cellulose. They are commonly made of recycled materials and are considered to be environmentally friendly.

Recycled glass is used to manufacture fiberglass insulation. These fine pieces of glass is why fiberglass is so irritating to the skin! Most fiberglass insulations include 20 to 30 percent of recycled glass. The glass is melted in a high temperature furnace and spun into fiberglass.

Rock wool is a substance that forms on the surface of metal that is molten, it’s called furnace slag. It is very similar to fiberglass insulation in the way that it’s manufactured.

Besides furnace slag, it also contains other materials that have a rock like feel. It’s basically made of materials that would otherwise just be thrown away and filling landfills!

Cellulose loose fill insulation is probably the best of the three types available. The small particles found in cellulose are made from recycled paper such as, boxes or newspapers.

Chemicals are added to the shredded paper to make it insect and fire resistant. But, this type is less irritating to the skin and without the need of high temperature furnaces, less energy is used in production.

If you have an area where it’s impossible to install rolled insulation, loose fill is the answer. It will surround pipes or other obstructions and is one of the best choices for insulating existing homes. You can install it without destroying the existing walls or finishes.

Installing blown in insulation is usually done through two holes drilled into each section between the wall studs. One hole should be placed about 16″ from the top of the wall and the other at around 24″ from the floor. Once you’re finished you’ll just need to repair the small holes!

It can be installed from the interior or exterior of the home. It’s even easier if you do it at the same time you do remodeling such as adding new siding or wood to your home, or even replacing or adding drywall.

Like with any material that you would use to fill a space, loose fill must be installed at the proper density. Most manufactures provide clear instructions on how much is needed to properly fill each square foot of space. You will need to follow those guidelines as closely as possible.

If it’s not correctly installed you will end up with empty spaces that have no insulation at all. The most common voids will be at the corner of the ceiling, top of windows, around doors and at the top of the wall.

While commonly used in walls and attics, blown in insulation can also be used in ceilings. If you’re insulating the ceiling there are some safety rules that you’ll need to follow.

Be careful not to cover any attic vents, these vents allow air to flow into the attic to keep moisture down. Any lighting fixtures in the ceiling need at least a 3″ space clear of insulation.

If used around stove or furnace pipes you should only use fiberglass. At high temperatures, cellulose will smolder and your home may end up full of smoke!

Different Types of Insulation and Some of Their Uses

Properly insulating your home is a step that serves several purposes. It will greatly reduce the cost of heating and cooling your home, but it will also go a long ways in making you more comfortable in your home!

There are so many different types of insulation available, it may seem like an impossible task to know which one you should use. Knowing a little about each material can make the job easier!

Fiberglass insulation is probably the most commonly known material. It can be found in rolls with various widths that you just cut to fit the needed areas and staple into place.

Rolls of insulation are typically used inside walls and even in attics. You can purchase either low, medium or high density rolls. The higher the density the better the protection and the more it costs.

Another form of rolled insulation is reflective foil insulation. This can be any insulating material that is combined with a radiant barrier. This is a popular type of insulation for floors and attics.

Like any rolled insulation it’s quickly installed and is used most often in construction of new buildings. But, any rolled insulation can be installed in the walls of existing homes if you’re replacing drywall.

Rolled insulation is also great to add to floor joists if you have a basement that’s not finished. It will greatly reduce the leakage of cool or warm air and save energy.

Rigid insulation comes in sheets or boards usually in four foot by eight foot pieces. It’s mostly used on the exterior of a house, but can be used when finishing basements or any other inside project as well.

It’s generally made of fiberboard which is water resistant and cost efficient. It’s very durable and since it’s coated with asphalt, you won’t need to use building paper. Usually used during new home construction, it can be added if you’re replacing or adding siding to your home.

Loose fill insulation is blown into the wall or attics with a machine. It’s usually made of cellulose or mineral wool and is great when you want to add insulation to an existing home. If you’re doing the job yourself choose cellulose, it won’t irritate your skin as much as wool.

Foam insulation can be pretty expensive if you’re insulating a large area. It is often used around windows and doors to seal cracks, but can be used anywhere in your home.

It’s injected into small holes made in the walls or exterior of your home and expands and hardens. Foam insulates better than most other materials, because it will expand to fill even the smallest of cracks.

Foam insulation is a little tricky to install. You have to know exactly how much will be needed to fill each cavity, or only part of the opening will be insulated leaving lots of cracks that will leak air.

If you live in an area where the winters get cold, then you should consider pipe insulation. It comes in tubes that are made of a foam material and are slit down one side.

You just measure and cut the tubes to the desired length, open the slit and slide it over the pipes. Insulating your pipes can prevent you from having to replace them if they freeze and burst!

Pipe insulation also comes in tape form, you just wrap it around the length of each pipe. If you live where the winters are really harsh, you can purchase heated cables that wrap around your pipes. The cables can be very expensive though and they use electricity to warm the pipes.

With the high concern over conserving energy today, insulation is becoming a needed addition to any building. But, with a little knowledge and work, you can offset the expense of insulation by doing it yourself!

Insulate Your Home’s Windows To Save Energy

When we think about insulation we usually think about keeping our homes warmer during the winter. But, insulation is just as important in the summer months in helping to keep our homes cooler!

With the proper insulation you can save money on your cooling bills and be more comfortable in your home! Windows are a major source of energy loss, especially in older homes.

If just one of your windows has a crack as small as 1/16 of an inch you’ll lose as much warm or cold air from your home as a hole about as big as a brick! Imagine how much your losing when you combine all of the small cracks in your windows frames!

If your windows have sash locks, one way of tightening up your windows a little is by making sure the the sash pulls the windows tightly together. If there is any slack or gap in the window frames tighten the sash until it’s snug.

Weatherstripping is an excellent way to stop leakage. You can find it in various materials, but felt is probably the most common type used. It’s available in several thickness and you should purchase the one that will best fill in the amount of gap your windows have.

The weatherstripping can be attached with small tacks or it can be quickly stapled into place around your window! If the weatherstripping is too thick, it will be hard to open the windows! You can also purchase a clear weatherstripping tape that can be applied around the windows.

There are also several types of caulking that you can use to seal your windows. You can purchase caulk in tubes that can be placed into a caulking gun and you can purchase rope caulking. Rope caulk won’t shrink and it’s easy to remove, it also stays flexible.

Rope caulk is just what the name implies, it’s caulking that is in a rope or string form. You simply unroll it and place it where you need it and then you can use your finger to press it into place!

If you choose to use caulk you should purchase an acrylic latex caulk. Although, there are cheaper kinds of caulking, acrylic latex is the best suited for this type of project.

You should also remove any old caulking before applying any new caulk. And, clean the window frames throughly so that the new caulk can adhere to them. You can use turpentine, alcohol or a good soap to clean all the oils off of the frames.

When insulating your windows or doors, don’t forget to insulate the outside as well. Applying insulation to both sides of the window will double your chances of getting a good seal with less leakage.

Although, it’s a more expensive solution, storm windows are one of the best ways insulate your windows. It has been proven in studies that storm windows that fit tightly cut energy loss by around 50 percent!

A more cost efficient way to insulate windows is with plastic sheet kits. A good quality plastic kit will give close to the same results as storm windows in energy savings!

Most kits come with thin cardboard strips to hold the plastic in place, but you can increase the results by using small strips of thin boards. The cardboard strips don’t secure the plastic well enough and will allow air to escape or enter the home.

Plastic kits can be purchased that will shrink with the use of a blow dryer to make them look better and fit snugger. These types of kits also usually allow a better view of the outside since they are more clear.

If your windows are in really bad shape, you can use polyethylene sheeting. It’s a heavy duty plastic that will give a good seal, but it will almost totally block any view of the outside. This may be something you only want to use in extreme cases.

How To Install Insulation in Existing Walls

Insulating your home will save you lot’s of money on both heating and cooling bills. It can result in savings of between 20 and 30 percent and it will also make your home a more comfortable place to be!

While newer homes will most always have adequate insulation installed, if you’ve bought an older house there may not be any at all. But, you don’t have to tear out all of the walls to insulate them!

Removing drywall to insulate and then replacing all the drywall  will be very expensive and very time consuming. If you need to insulate existing walls the best way is to use blow-in insulation!

There are several types of insulation materials that can be blown or sprayed inside existing walls. The most common types are cellulose, fiberglass and foam.

Hiring a contractor to do this can be very expensive, but you can do it yourself. Although this may be one project that is best left to someone with a little experience.

With both blowing or spraying methods of applying insulation, you need to make correct measurements and know how much insulation to use. If you don’t you will end up with too much or too little insulation in the walls.

If you’re going to do the job yourself, it’s probably a better choice to go with the blow-in type installation. Many tool rental places have blower equipment, but you will need to rent certain types of blowers for the insulation material you’re using.

Blow-in fiberglass insulation is probably the most popular choice for hard to get to places and attics. It insulates very well, but the proper technique during the application is crucial.

If you’re not real careful during application, fiberglass will fluff. Manufacturers directions for coverage should be followed exactly to achieve the proper results.

The depth plus density level for fiberglass insulation should be clearly stated on the bag. It will usually give you the measurements per square foot of space that you need to fill.

About 85% of cellulose insulation is made up of recycled newspapers! The other ingredients are borate and ammonium sulfate which helps make it flame retardant. As an added bonus these chemicals also help the insulation resist mold, repel insects and rodents.

Dry cellulose is a popular material for insulating walls and other tight spaces. It’s small particles will easily fill up any cracks and corners during installation.

Although it’s a itch free insulation, safety goggles and respirators should be worn when working with this material. The dust is very fine and can take quite some time to settle.

Cellulose can also be applied by wet spraying, but this method isn’t recommended for existing walls. The wet cellulose can damage the interior of the walls before it’s had time to dry.

Cementitious foam is the most effective material for insulating existing walls. The foam will easily spread into the area and provide almost 100% insulating fill around any obstacle.

It will work around and in between bundles of wire or pipes, unlike cellulose or fiberglass insulation which will leave gaps and voids. Another great feature of foam insulation is that it won’t shrink or expand!

During the construction of a new home or building, foam can be applied as soon as the drywall is hung. But, taping and finishing the joints shouldn’t be done for at least 48 hours to allow the foam plenty of time to dry.

Cementitious foam is the most expensive type of blow-in insulation. But, it will provide the best level of insulating and doesn’t create any dust when applied.

To insert the nozzle of the blower small holes will have to be made in the drywall. Then they will of course have to be patched and refinished. But, this is still much easier than replacing the whole wall from start to finish.

How to Install Loose-Fit Insulation

If you want to stay warm in your home during the cooler months and be comfortable in your home year round you should think of installing loose-fit insulation. Installation is not difficult to do if you follow the right procedure. (more…)