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Installing V-Channel Weatherstripping on Drafty Windows

Last week’s cold weather made me realize that winter is coming. So we took advantage of the warmer temperatures last weekend to weatherize the windows. While we’ve caulked around the edges of most of the frames, we haven’t done much to the windows themselves. Some of them were installed pretty loosely in their frames, making them ideal candidates for v-channel weatherstripping.

v-channel weatherstripping

V-channel is plastic weatherstripping that folds up (into a V) to block air, but still remains flexible enough to allow the window (or door) to move. Jason and I were a little confused at first as to where it was supposed to go. I think hardware stores assume a level of competence that we don’t have. (And this picture did not help—who has windows like those anymore?) But eventually we figured out that on our vinyl windows it was supposed to go not in the track with the counterweight, but on the outer track that the window slid past, opening outward toward the stop. After folding the weatherstripping, you slide it into the space beside the window, then peel off part of the backing to expose the adhesive, and stick it down. Then you open the window (or tip it in) to expose the rest of the weatherstripping, and stick that down. Afterwards, we could still see some light coming through the sides of our worst windows (it is just white plastic) but felt no draft.

We also used regular foam weatherstripping at the tops and bottoms of the windows to ensure a tight seal. By the 12th window, we felt like experts at this. I hope it helps make it feel a little less drafty in here this winter. Next up: door sweeps and spray foam! (Oh my!)

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Comment from Danielle
Time October 13, 2010 at 11:20 am

How do I know if my windows are good candidates for weatherstripping? This place has new windows (a key criterion at this point).

Comment from Brenda Pike
Time October 13, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Really, I think any window is; ours were just more obviously in need of it. I’ve heard v-channel described as “very effective,” but I don’t know exactly what that means. More effective than a door sweep? (I’m guessing no.) More effective than a foam insulating gasket? (I don’t know.) But it’s pretty easy, and cheap, so I think it’s worth it.

Comment from Sharon
Time October 14, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Hey, do you want to come over and show me how to do that? I’ll need to clean previous years of gunk out of our old windows, but I’d love to get rid of the draft on the couch.

Comment from Brenda Pike
Time October 14, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Sure. I’ll feel so handy!

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