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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.

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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95 thoughts on “How To: Install Spring Bronze Weatherstripping

  1. Hi there. If I buy the v shaped weatherstripping and it’s not as wide as my jamb channels, where within the channel should I nail it? Flush against the parting bead (minus the match width)? Or should it be back more in the middle?

    Thanks

  2. If I butt the spring weather stripping to the edge of the hinges, do I need to put some type of weatherstripping behind the exposed hinge? Thanks

  3. Hello, and thank you for all the great tips and sharing of skill and knowledge. I do have a couple of questions. Obviously, there is no school like the old school and I find that it is a nightmare going to the hardware store with all of the vinyl and adhesive crap they sell which in my opinion doesn’t work well at all. So here are my questions:
    1. There are two types V and flat springbronze plus numerous sizes. Is there a General size and type that an old school pro would typically use that covers the majority of door frames?
    2. Many of the newer prehung exterior doors come with a vinyl seal that the door presses against that sort of makes a seal…however, if I can see daylight through the cracks or feel wind I know that it is a poor seal. Do pros use spring bronze in addition to the crappy factory seals or is always typically removed first?

  4. I figure this should be a place to share advice after living through the process. Killian says to space the bronze a matchstick from the stop. Well, matchsticks are no longer uniform and pretty. They should be 3/32. I found out that the free fancy vinyl samples from home depot is the exact thickness. I grabbed one, cut it into quarters then super glued it to a scrap of parting bead (put the parting bead in place, then glue). Slip it in and butt the bronze up. perfec,t even spacing every time.

    1. Hello, and thank you for this tip. Can you please tell me a little more about the vinyl piece that you mentioned is? Also, do you have any pro tips about the lock area?

  5. My home was built in 1929. I just opened up two swing-out casement windows that were painted shut for probably 50 years. The weather stripping looks in good shape but both catch on the windows when I close them. Is there a recommended way to bend the metal back where it should be so the window will close without sticking?

  6. Hi, I found your blog as I have an 140 year old house that I have just noticed has bronze weather stripping on the door. I notice it because the bronze has split along various points where it is bent and has now started to interfere with the door closing properly, calling my attention to it. So I thought I would try to replace this myself. The installation seems straight forward enough. One question i have is do you have a suggestion on getting the many many copper nails out, that are, as described, set well flush with the door jamb, and there are alot that will need to come out to re-do this. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank You. Margaret Malone

    1. Rarely do I even try to remove the nails when reinstalling spring bronze. Rather set them flush with the surface and install the new bronze over them to hide them.

  7. while my windows are not original (2 over 2), they are unique and quite thin. Sashes are not even 1 inch in depth. Is there spring bronze that narrow and if not, what would you suggest?

  8. Firstly, thanks so much for this blog! It has is a fantastic source of information and inspiration. I have a question regarding the installation of spring bronze weatherstripping on a pair of outward opening double doors. One door is used daily while the other is stationary 90% of the time. I understand how to weatherstrip around the door jambs but what would suggest for the gap between the two doors? There is an exterior astragal, but there is still a lot of airflow there. Your advice will be very much appreciated. Many thanks!

  9. I am purchasing Pro Spring Bronze for a wood double hung window. 1910 built home. I believe there needs to be room for the spring bronze to compress, just not sure how much.

    Window channel is 1 3/8 wide, should buy the spring bronze 1 1/4″ roll or the 1 1/8″ roll?

  10. For our setup, I prefer to install two lengths of spring bronze on either side of lower sash jamb, one on the top portion of fixed jamb, and one on the removable portion of jamb weight pocket door.

  11. 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.

    1. I have an old Craftsman style home built in the 20s. former owner had all windows sealed shut…uggg I need
      windows open in the summer. I’ve used a heat gun to get the caulking off some windows. in the winter I stuff felt strips to help keep the cold air out. helps some, not great. The doors are another story. Gaps are much wider in some areas than others. Is there a demo of how to install spring bronze weatherstripping? There are several windows that swing in, the rest are double hung with weights…air gets in through the rope channels too.

  12. 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?

  13. 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

  14. 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!

  15. 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

  16. 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?

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