How To: Install Spring Bronze Weatherstripping

Spring Bronze weatherstrippingTo allay your concerns that old doors and old windows can’t be energy-efficient I wanted to make sure we covered how to install weatherstripping on these openings.

Weatherstripping has changed a lot over the years. Today it is usually foam, vinyl, or felt peel and stick weatherstripping, but there is an old school way of weatherstripping that will last well over 100 years and be just as effective, if not more, than today’s methods.

Spring bronze weatherstripping, while a bit more work than the peel and stick variety provides an excellent seal to keep air, water and bugs out of your home. Bronze weatherstripping is extremely effective and durable enough to last generations.

There are several types of metal weather stripping. Some are more complicated than others and require modifications to the doors or windows. Leave those to the pros. For the average homeowner spring bronze weatherstripping will be just as effective and it is user-friendly to install.

You can find it at several places on the web. We usually buy ours from Kilian Hardware.

 

Here’s how to install it:

Tools Needed
  • Tin snips
  • Hammer
  • Spring Bronze weatherstripping
  • Coppered Nails 3/4” 17 ga.
  • Nail set

 

how to cut spring bronze
Step #1 Cut to Size

Measure the door openings and using tin snips cut the weatherstripping to length. The weatherstrip needs to go in the rabbet that the door fits into when closed. There is a flat side and sprung side to spring bronze. The flat side goes on the interior and the sprung side faces the exterior so that the door compacts it as it closes.

You’ll need to cut the bronze so that it doesn’t cover and interfere with the hinges or latches.

 

 

Nail spring bronzeStep #2 Nail in Place

Line up your spring bronze and nail it in from the top down. Make sure you start from one end and keep the bronze straight the whole length so it does not bubble or bind in places. Also be careful not to nail the bronze too close the the door jamb (see spacing in photo) or it may not be able to lay down completely when compressed.

Your nails should be no more than 2” apart. I prefer 1 1/2” between nails to make sure the installation is lasting.

Corners require the weatherstripping to meet at simple butt joints.

The nails should be flush with the surface. Run your fingers across them and if you feel any that are standing a bit proud set them a bit more with a nail set.

 

 

spring bronze finished installationStep #3 Spring the Bronze

Depending on how tight the existing door is in the frame you may need to increase the spring angle on the weatherstripping.

Use a putty knife or screwdriver to gently bend the bronze to increase the tightness of the fit.

Close the door and check for any gaps where you can see sunlight. If you do, open the door and bend the bronze a bit more in that section until you achieve a good seal.

 

Spring bronze is an excellent material for weatherstripping. Installed properly it will never need replacing and is extremely flexible to fit almost any size gap around doors and windows.

 

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by Scott Sidler

Scott is the owner of Austin Home Restorations, a company that specializes in renovating and restoring historic homes in Orlando, FL and the creator of The Craftsman Blog. When not working on, teaching about or writing about old houses he spends time fixing up his own old bungalow with his wife Delores and their son Charley.

http://www.austinhomerestorations.com

24 comments

  1. Toni on said:

    I think you read my mind sometimes! I was just looking into weatherstripping our doors before it starts getting cool. Great post!

  2. Max on said:

    Have you ever used any products from accurateweatherstrip.com
    Their window weather stripping seems to be a good long term solution. My only worry is attempting something like this with no prior experience. Would you recommend trying it on a practice window?

    • Max, I have not installed any of their weatherstripping, but we have serviced windows with the interlocking weather stripping. In my opinion, the performance is better with interlocking but the installation is much more precise and difficult. I would definitely practice on an extra sash until you feel confident. Once you start cutting channels into your old windows you wanna know what you’re doing.

  3. Matt on said:

    Trying Spring Bronze later today on my tudor-style arched door. What should I do about the hinges, just skip it and continue? Was thinking of having one continuous piece. What do you do about the strike/latch side of the door?

    • Skip the hinges. If you weatherstrip over them they will bind. For the latch area there is a piece you can buy from Kilian’s Hardware online to cover that. It’s not entirely necessary, but if you really wanna seal the door up well, buy the latch kit and install it too. Good luck today!

      • Matt on said:

        Thanks. Haven’t tackled it yet. Still scraping/sanding/etc, takes a long time when you spend more time chasing around the kids, there’s just not enough hours in the day.

        I’ll look into the latch piece, thanks.

        I’m a little concerned at this point that the door will be too snug – it seems like it’s rubbing near the upper right corner. Either way, about another week or two and we’ll be good to go with this.

        Thanks again for the advice.

  4. Sarah on said:

    Hi Scott,
    My door swings out (outswing door!). Should I reverse the nailing pattern for the spring bronze?
    I’m really hoping my 1 3/4″ spring bronze will fill the 1/2″ gaps around my door!
    Thanks for your thoughts

    • Sarah, the weather stripping should be nailed on whichever side the door closes from. If it opens in then nail on the inside. If it opens out then nail on the outside.

      • sarah on said:

        That must have sounded like a really stupid question! What I meant was, on an outswing door, should the nails (rather than the sprung bit) be toward the outside or inside of the strip. It only makes sense to me to put them towards the outside, so the sprung part is not caught when the door closes. I just wanted to double-check that there isn’t a totally different way to do an outswing door.

        • Not stupid at all. Yes, on an out swing door the nailed portion should be to the outside.

  5. Sarah on said:

    I meant to ask one more question: What about when it comes time to re-paint the door jamb? Do you take it off and re-nail it into the same holes? Or just paint it? Or just paint carefully around it? We have the original spring bronze on part of the front door, and it has been painted a billion times and seems a bit brittle (not as flexible) as a result. But it does still seem to work, so maybe painting is ok?

    • Though paint won’t ruin the bronze I would try to avoid painting it because it does lessen its effectiveness. Don’t try to remove it once it is nailed in. You’ll destroy the bronze and it’s almost impossible to get the little nails out.

  6. Arline on said:

    Scott-

    We have an old 1927 Georgian Colonial in the SF Bay Area. The over sized front door is original to the house and I’ve been working hard to save it. However, since 1927 the house has settled and the door no longer hangs plumb, the door itself might even have a little warp to it. Due to extensive other repair work, I currently don’t have the funds (or desire) to remove the door stops and framing. What I did do was have the door removed, painted AND had the old interlocking bronze strips removed from the door jambs, as the door was no longer able to close easily due to the interlocking bronze no longer matching up (due to door/door frame movement). I left the bronze mates on the door sides and header b/c it would have been too extensive to remove them from the door. I wouldn’t think they would interfere with any weatherstripping we now apply. Although the door now opens and closes easily, I now have varying gaps along the sides of the door. I thought I would install the spring bronze you have referenced here, but wonder if it is good to use with varying gap widths? My alternative is to use a Pemko gasket product, S773. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

  7. Steve on said:

    Some good information Scott!. Just a quick tip on a good way to put more “spring” into the bronze is to run something narrow( I usually use the tip of a nail set) down the crease of the bronze. It will cause the bronze to spring outward with good tension on it and avoid pulling at the nails.
    Doors can be very tricky also as the tolerance may not be there for spring bronze (and you won’t find that out till you install it). I prefer a kerfed in wood stop with a gasket seal. This allows you to work with warped doors also.

  8. Matt on said:

    Alright, I managed to put the bronze up around my front door, it’s in good shape. But, there’s still a gap around the latch and the deadbolt portions that I’ve skipped. Is there something I can do with the remaining few feet of bronze (bend it, etc) to block the cold air coming in through the small sections near the latch/bolt sections?

  9. Bob on said:

    Preparing to install bronze weather-stripping on our arched door frame. Any suggestions regarding avoiding kinking?

    • Bob on said:

      how do we avoid kinking bronze weather stripping on our arched door frame?

    • Cut kerfs into the bronze every few inches or more depending on how tight the curve is.

      • Bob on said:

        Thanks,

        RWS

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