Weather-proofing a door we never use
November 26, 2017 7:14 AM   Subscribe

We have an exterior door we have never once used, and we don't foresee any situation where we might use it in future. I need to do the weather stripping on it but it occurred to me there might be a more effective solution given that we don't actually need to open or close the door. What can I do?

There is an exterior door that goes into our laundry room. There's also a door in this room that goes into our garage. The exterior door is quite obviously a source of cold coming into our house in the winter, and I was planning to winterize it a bit with some new weather stripping.

The thing is, if we had our druthers (and a lot more money) we'd probably just get rid of the door and turn it into a wall. That's probably cost-prohibitive. But I was wondering if it was possible to use some kind of caulking or something around the door to seal it off, given that we don't have any intention to ever open this door.

(As we said, it's right next to the exit to the garage, and there's another door about 15 feet away into the backyard. This isn't a door we'd ever want to move stuff into or out of. It just goes to the side of the house. I don't think it has been open once since the home inspection.)

Is this a terrible idea? If not, what can/should I do?
posted by synecdoche to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
We have a similar door in our house. Whatever you do, I’d make sure you could still open the door from the inside in a true emergency (like to exit a burning house or if an intruder is a You can go to town with sealing off the edges but I’d make sure an adult could always bust through from the inside if needed.
posted by whitewall at 7:39 AM on November 26, 2017 [3 favorites]

I think it’s better to seal it up like a wall than have a false door that doesn’t open. It could be a real problem in a fire for someone to run to a door that can’t open.

I don’t know what is cost prohibitive to you but pulling out the door and jambs and putting in an insulated framed wall and drywall is an easy job for a framer.
posted by amanda at 7:41 AM on November 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

You could apply a winter weather-seal to the door, and just never take it off. Additional insulating foam could be applied to the door, wrapped in paper or some other unobtrusive material to add more insulation.
posted by nickggully at 7:42 AM on November 26, 2017

In New England what we do with doors to barns is weatherstrip, maybe use some of that sheet plastic and then cover the whole thing with a nice looking quilt or other hanging thing that can actually look nice, potentially on one of those swing-out curtain rods so you have a door in an emergency. Undoable in a pinch, otherwise completely undoored and maybe you have a place to put a nice quilt on the wall.
posted by jessamyn at 7:48 AM on November 26, 2017 [6 favorites]

I have a similar door situation and I use the same plastic kit that I use for the windows; the clear plastic stays on with the two sided tape and use the hairdryer to 'tighten' it. If I need to emergency exit, it's just breaking/ripping through plastic.
posted by NoraCharles at 8:34 AM on November 26, 2017 [3 favorites]

First you'll need to seal up gaps. Weather-stripping is good; I've also used Mor-tite press-on caulk to good effect on doors like this. It's very easy to apply (and remove), allows you to open the door in an emergency, and effectively seals up even large gaps. Pay attention to every possible gap, including the edges of the doorknob, over the keyhole, around the hinges, etc.

After you do that, you'll want to put something over the entire door to provide an additional insulating layer. Options I've used myself or seen used: window plastic as suggested above, a heavy quilt, a cheap wool blanket ($12 from Harbor Freight), layers of felt fabric, foam insulation boards you cut to size, or any combination thereof.
posted by ourobouros at 9:08 AM on November 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Weather stripping and then use a temporary, peel-off silicone caulk to close any remaining gaps. Then, plastic sheeting and a heavy blanket or moving quilt.
posted by quince at 10:07 AM on November 26, 2017

If you don't care too much about appearances and want cheap, easy, and fast, spray foam would do nicely.
posted by slipthought at 3:15 PM on November 26, 2017

I don't know what your handyperson skills are like, but permanently closing that opening shouldn't cost very much at all. A very small amount of timber, some plaster (drywall), insulation and paint is most of the job.
posted by wilful at 3:07 AM on November 27, 2017

« Older Apologizing to recommenders   |   How will I be billed for prenatal care and labor... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.