There is no doubt that metal weatherstripping is one of the best choices for air-sealing wood windows and doors, but which one should you choose? Today I’m going to pit two of the more popular types of metal weatherstripping so you can understand them a little better in a head to head match up of spring bronze vs. v-bronze weatherstripping.
Compared to other types of weatherstripping like felt, vinyl, or rubber, metal weatherstripping is an extremely durable option that rarely if ever needs replacing. That makes both of these metal weatherstrips an excellent option for an extremely long-lasting installation that you can set and forget on both windows and doors. In the match up of spring bronze vs. v-bronze they both have similar price points and resolve similar issues, but installation is different as are the specifics of the air-sealing issues they resolve.
Spring bronze is sold in rolls of 100 feet typically and can be used to weatherstrip wood doors, double-hung windows, single-hung windows, casement windows, and a slew of other types of wood windows. The installation process is fairly straight forward but can be tedious because it involves installing dozens of nails to hold the bronze in place.
It can be purchased in different widths ranging from 1” to 1 3/4”, but I have found that in most cases 1 1/4” is a fairly universal size that can be used in almost all applications. Installing spring bronze involves cutting around hinges, latches, pulleys and any other obstruction in the jamb of the window or door which takes some precision and time.
Spring bronze can be used to resolve gaps as small as 1/16” to about a 1/4” successfully Though it can be bent at times to resolve larger gaps it does not perform as well in gaps larger than 1/4”.
The most time consuming aspect of spring bronze is that it must be nailed approximately every 1 1/2” to 2” along its entire length using either coppered or bronze nails. That’s a lot of nailing and it can be frustrating if you’re not good with a hammer as you can easily end up with bent nails and dinged bronze in that hard old-growth wood. You can purchase spring bronze in our store here.
- Easy to store and transport compact 100’ rolls
- Excellent for sealing 1/16” to 1/4” gaps
- Very attractive
- Can be easily adjusted to fit gap size
- Requires lots of precise nailing
- Easily kinked if not installed straight
- Poor air-sealing of gaps larger than 1/4”
To about the installation process on doors check out this post How To: Install Spring Bronze Weatherstripping
To about the installation process on windows check out this post How To: Weatherstrip Windows
V-bronze, sometimes called “cushion bronze” is extremely similar to spring bronze except that its form is essentially an extra wide spring bronze that is doubled over on itself. This type of weatherstripping is extremely effective at resolving larger gaps from 1/8” upwards to 5/16”.
It is sold in specific straight lengths, the most common of which are 3, 4, 7, or 8 foot lengths. Unlike the roll of 100’ like spring bronze you have to specify a length of v-bronze when you order and you may end up with more waste because of that. Like spring bronze it is also available in a variety of widths ranging from 1/2” to 1 1/8” of which I find 3/4” to be the most useful and a happy compromise since it can fit in most applications and avoids overlapping of elements within the jamb like the larger widths do.
Due to its design, v-bronze requires fewer nails than spring bronze which is a welcome relief to many installers. Even though manufacturers still recommend nail spacing in the 1 1/2” to 2” I have found in practice that nailing once every 10” to 12” and one on each end is more than sufficient to hold it securely in place.
- Easy to keep perfectly straight at installation
- Excellent for sealing 1/8” to 5/16” gaps
- Very attractive
- Simplified nailing compared to other options
- Generates more waste due to pre-cut sizes
- Will not fit gaps smaller than 1/8”
- Requires caution to transport without bending or damage
Which is Best?
You’ve seen the differences and now you’re probably wondering what option is best for you. Spring bronze vs. v-bronze? Well, it’s largely based on some per project questions we’ll ask below.
V-bronze works best for projects with gaps 1/4” or large with lengths of 8’ or less are required to be sealed. V-bronze is also a great options for those concerned with excessive nailing time.
Spring bronze works best for projects with gaps of 1/4” or smaller or where long lengths are needed without break like on larger commercial doors. If you are someone with precise abilities and exacting work methods spring bronze also provides an extremely attractive result with all those little bronze nails lined up perfectly.
In the spring bronze vs. v-bronze conversation there will likely be a time when both are required so understanding when and where to use them is essential. Remember with both options these are long lasting metal weatherstrips that can easily last 100+ years with minimal to no maintenance. So you really can’t go wrong with either.
For historic windows and doors you can find all your weatherstripping needs as well as any other old house tools and supplies in The Craftsman Store.
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I love old houses, working with my hands, and teaching others the excitment of doing it yourself! Everything is teachable if you only give it the chance.