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Make sure your sweep is right size for shoe

QuestionLeon, I have a 36-inch aluminum storm/screen door. Last summer the rubber weatherstrip on the bottom tore and came off. Now I have a door with lots of cold air coming in under it. I asked our local home center about a weatherstrip replacement, but they didn't have one.

Do you know where to buy a rubber weatherstrip, and can it be installed without removing the door? It appears there is a 3-inch aluminum cap on the bottom of the door attached with screws that the weatherstrip would slide into if the molding is removable. Thanks for your help.

AnswerYou pose an interesting question. The 3-inch aluminum cap you refer to is called a "shoe" or "expander." On the bottom of the shoe is a track that the weatherstrip (or "rubber sweep") slides into. The shoe's "U" shape allows it to be lowered or raised on the bottom of the storm door so the tip of the rubber sweep just touches the entrance door's threshold.

The purpose of the sweep is to provide a wind-break. It is not designed to block out all the air; if it did, you would have a hard time closing the door because of the air trapped between the two doors.

Replacing the sweep is easy because the shoe is removable. Remove the shoe by propping open the door and unscrewing the screws that secure it to the storm door. Then pull the shoe downward while sliding it toward the handle side of the door.

There are roughly four or five rubber sweep designs on the market. The most common is the "T" or "ball" top. Unfortunately, rubber sweeps alone are hard to find.

Many local home centers sell a product called a "door bottom sweep," essentially a neoprene sweep attached to an aluminum strip and available in different shapes and colors. The sweep is normally attached to the entrance door near the bottom of either side using wood screws. It could be used on either side of the storm door depending on how your storm door sits in relation to the threshold. However, you'll need to replace the wood screws with sheet metal screws. This is a good alternative solution to the problem, but I would only consider it after you have exhausted all avenues to finding a sweep to fit your particular storm door's shoe.

I suggest that you phone companies in your area that specialize in surplus windows and doors and repairs.  Ask specifically if they sell "T" or "ball" rubber sweeps. If their sweep doesn't fit your shoe, you may need to purchase a new shoe to fit the sweep. Be sure to bring the shoe and rubber sweep from your door when you visit the company. Good Luck!

Copyright © 2003, 2006, & 2007 LAF/C.R.S., Inc. All rights reserved.
Question answered by Leon A. Frechette.

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