How To: Install Spring Bronze Weatherstripping

By Scott Sidler July 29, 2013

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.

Buy your spring bronze right here!

Here’s how to install it:

Tools Needed

Step #1 Cut to Size

how to cut spring bronzeMeasure 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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68 thoughts on “How To: Install Spring Bronze Weatherstripping”

  1. I work in architectural restoration and have installed a lot of this stuff over the years. Yes, spring bronze is a good form of weather-seal that has been around a long time—more than a century, I would guess (from houses I’ve worked on). I do want to offer one correction, though. Your description says “Installed properly it will never need replacing…” Well, that isn’t quite true. Metal does fatigue over time. Yes, it lasts a long time, especially if you buy high quality material (not the junk you can get in your local hardware store…name starts with “A”). But it doesn’t last forever. If you’ve got old spring bronze that doesn’t “spring” when you bend it, you aren’t getting a good seal on your door or window. I recommend replacing it when it is fatigued.

  2. Can you get 18 ga copper brads collated for a brad nailer like Harbor Freight has?

    Is there any particular reason to use coppered nails? Could (say) 18 ga brown head nails work as well?

  3. I understand how to use spring bronze on double hung, doors and in swinging casement windows. Is there any way to use spring bronze effectively on out swinging casement windows? How do I weather strip them?
    Melinda Lee

  4. If you have old spring bronze that have been painted is there a safe way to take the paint off? Like Cleartrip? Would removing old paint help to regain some of the weather stripping effectiveness?

      1. re: bronze weather stripping….I used a knife tip to carefully chip off the larger chunks of paint, then steel wool for the rest. Went over it with noxon and now they look great! House is 95 years old….the stripping is on two French doors leading to an enclosed porch. It’s amazing what a tight seal this stripping creates. I’m also retired so have the time to do stuff like this! Took about 8 hours for both doors. I’m trying to bring a once neglected home back to original….fun way to spend my remaining years!

  5. Hi,

    I have existing bronze metal weather stripping on my front door of a house built in 1940. When the wind blows high the weather stripping vibrates and is extremely loud. When I first moved into the house, there was a wind storm and I thought my front entry was going to collapse. Any thoughts on how to adjust the stripping so it doesn’t do this?

    Jamie

  6. I have an interior door to the garage and when the wind really blows there is a shrill noise generated from the vibrating metal. Any fixes for that?

  7. I installed one piece of bronze weatherstripping on the vertical (hinge side) of my front door jamb. I carefully “sprung” it and it looks good and seals perfectly. How do I eliminate/reduce the unpleasant noise it makes when the door is being closed? It’s a metallic crinkling noise. If I add the weatherstripping on the top and latch side it’s really going to sound obnoxious.

      1. ALL the way around except for the threshold? Taking a closer look at the photos, I don’t see it over the hinges. I installed mine in one long piece on the hinge side of the jamb and had annoying noise problems from it “oil canning.” I’ll try it again but will not run it over the hinges.

        1. I often find it over the hinges but I prefer not to because I have found it to bind and then it makes it impossible to remove the hinge for any reason without destroying the weatherstripping.

          1. Thanks, Scott. I tried a second time on the hinge side of the jamb, this time not covering the hinges. My thought was that the lack of unsupported weatherstripping there would prevent the “oilcanning” noise. I wasn’t successful. I then decided to practice attaching spring bronze weatherstripping to a less-noticeable doorway but those attempts on the hinge-side and top were no better despite my varying the technique of nailing the whole strip loosely with a couple of nails at the middle and bottom then returning to the top to pound a nail in tightly in every hole. I also tried loosely taping the bottom end of the strip to the jamb to keep it under control while putting nails in tightly beginning at the top. Nothing helped. I’m 62 and have been successfully doing handyman jobs since I was a kid but this is my first attempt at using spring bronze. A hardware store clerk said to start at the top and nail each pre-punched hole, being sure that the metal was very tight before proceeding to the next. I’ll try that.

          2. I discovered my problem: as I nailed in the spring bronze, it curved (about 1/4″ in 3′) toward the nailing edge. I successfully installed it by starting at the center and locating it about 1/8″ (half the curve distance) closer to the exterior. I carefully nailed alternately toward the top and bottom and did NOT try to keep the nailed edge straight. By letting the nailing edge go where it wanted to go it didn’t distort the flange area and thus didn’t have the oilcanning noise problem. No one will notice that the nailed edge isn’t perfectly straight (1/8″ off over 1-1/2′).

        2. I no longer install the flat bronze on the hinge side. Hinges cannot be maintained and tightened, and often hinges are decorative and therefore should not be covered. Install a V-shaped bronze, 1/2 inch in most cases, between the doorstop and the hinge, with the open side of the V-shape toward the exterior. Of course, flat bronze can be cut around hinges as shown in this article, but then you have huge gaps through which drafts can pull, which defeats the entire purpose of weatherstripping. V-shaped bronze solves all of these problems.

  8. Can or should this be used on big push out bay windows? They have a bracket hinge on top and bottom with a handle turn-latch on the inside.

  9. I messed up and installed the bronze in the wrong place! I thought I could pull out the nails and bronze together with pliers. But the Kilian bronze just tore into pieces with the nails unmoved. After cutting my thumb on a bit of ripped brass under a nail, I realized I have no idea how to get the nails out! Any ideas?!

    1. Ouch! I’ve done it too Sarah and it’s no fun. I usually year the bronze off which leaves the nails in place and then take a nail set and set the nails back flush with the surface or counter sink and fill them. They are so small it’s almost impossible to get them out.

    2. I’m sure you’ve long since solve this problem, but if you drive a thin, flat, prybar underneath the bronze and up to the head of the nail and pry outward, the bronze and nail normally come off together. Where nails are left in the wood after bronze removal I use a pair of electrical side cuts with a sharp point, push it under the head of the nail into the wood, and pry. The nail comes out easily. Fill pry-gouges with wood filler or cover with new bronze.

      Driving the head of a nail into the wood increases the likelihood that you will hit the head of the nail with yet another nail when you are installing the actual bronze afterward, bending the new nail over and damaging your new bronze, causing you to have to remove it yet again 🙁

    1. Is your weatherstripping spring bronze or integrated metal weatherstripping that fits into a channel on the sash? If so that explains the difference. If not I guess someone just installed it with fewer nails. The manufacturer recommends at minimum 2″ so that’s what we do.

  10. The entry door on our 1920s Gainesville, FL bungalow has a metallic spring-type weatherstripping installed on hinge side and top door jam. The latch side of the door does not close tightly against the door stop. I suspect the problem may be that the weatherstripping covers the hinges and prohibits them from closing tightly. Is there something else I should look for before I start cutting the weatherstripping around the hinges?

      1. I’m having this problem, too. Were you able to resolve the issue?

        I used a single piece of bronze across the entire hinge side of the doorframe. If the problem is the bronze, that’s the best way to remove the bronze from over the hinges?

        Otherwise, is there a way to determine what else might be causing the problem? I can see that the door no longer fits quite flush with the jamb on the lock side. I’m sure one cause could be the bronze over the hinges.

        Thanks!

  11. Thanks for all this great information!

    What if we have some old paint inside the window frame? Some of our windows are painted and look a bit “alligatory.” Can I put the weatherstripping over the paint?

  12. I have a curved wooden door that leaks a ton of air but gaps are not even and door swells during the summer so fit is much tighter during warm weather. I have been looking at spring bronze weather stripping but am wondering if there is a max curvature it can be installed around and if it will interfere with door closure during the summer months when door is swollen.

    1. Vicki, I would plan down the jamb so that it is level all the way around and then install weatherstripping. Spring bronze can be installed on a curved door, but it has to have kerfs cut into it to make the bend without kinking. Whatever you do it will bind in the summer until you shave the jamb down evenly though.

      1. Hi, you reply to mrs vicki curved door weatherstripping has me puzzled? Plane down a curved door jamb? don’t get it? Metal can be installed on a curve jamb, takes time and patience. Please clarify.

  13. My door and jamb(?) is 1 3/4 inches thick. Is that the width of weather stripping I should use? Or should I use the 1 3/8 inch stripping?

    1. The rule of thumb is to use the same thickness weatherstripping as the door or window you’re working on. So 1 3/4″ is great though you can get away with a smaller size with no harm if you already have some.

  14. Do you sell or recommend a spring bronze product for the jam side of a steel door & frame ? Which adhesive would you recommend ? Considering J-B Weld.

  15. 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?

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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?

    1. 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.

  19. 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

      1. 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.

  20. 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?

    1. 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!

      1. 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.

  21. 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?

    1. 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.

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

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