Doors in period properties become a real nuisance over time. They won’t close properly, locks get stiff, or stop working altogether, and terrible icy draughts make their way around the door even on the more mild winter days. There is however a great number of ways to solve this.

When doors will not close properly it is almost certainly because the tread has got wet, water has sat, and absorbed into the end grain of the door. This is one of those horrible damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenarios. There is the option to plane the door to suit the frame while the timber has expanded. This poses a nasty problem. In the summer months when the timber has had an opportunity to dry fully, we are left with a gap that we planed from the door! So what do we do in this situation? The logical thing to do is plane the door and allow a 3-4mm tolerance underneath. This will be more than enough to allow for expansion in the future, but the ideal gap to install draught proofing. This is the same draught proofing system that is used in sash window repairs. To install the draught proofing system we need to remove the door, having previously marked where we need to plane to adjust the door nicely. We then plan off as required and then run an 8mm groove into the door all the way around the perimeter to hold the pile carrier and pile. This is bedded in with a silicone and will hold firmly in a couple of hours. It’s always recommended to only install the pile carrier and then once door re-hung, slide in the piles. This is because it is much easier to judge the thickness of pile required once the door has been offered in.

If removing the door and installing a draught seal feels like too much work, don’t worry, at the expense (but not too sad) of aesthetics we can tac draught proofing around the edge of the frame. Neatly sealing against the door. Then under the door we will install a weather bar which is just screwed, surface mounted onto the rear of the door to stop draughts coming through.


To deal with stiff locks WD-40 is your friend. No DIY enthusiast can be without this miracle product. Simply spray into the keyhole and then around the locking mechanism and let the magic work. Then, to handle the expansion issue we can also rub candle wax into the end grain of the door. not only will it repel the water now, but if snug, it’ll slide over the tread all the more easily. This comes with a warning. Be careful not to make your tread slippery, this would be extremely dangerous and therefore any excess, you must ensure is removed thoroughly from tread, especially if you have a stainless plate covering your timber tread. This is pretty much common sense and I am sure you’ll work a way to make your door move without making your door dangerous!


  1. I had a go at this, the weather bar was surprisingly easy to fit but I didn’t like the tacked on look so I also had a go at rebating the draught seal into the door, surprisingly it wasn’t all that difficult, although I wasn’t expecting I would also need to take the door hinges off as well as the locks so that the router could pass. Do you think you could update the post to reflect that please because cost me a lot of time? Thanks J

    • Hi John,
      Thanks for your valuable input as I do this everyday, I didn’t even think about the fact this would be an inconvenience for a hobbyist so thanks for pointing that out. Over the coming weeks I will improve the quality of this post to reflect your valuable input and make this the top post so people interested in fixing draughty doors can see it.

  2. Can you recommend a professional to make this installation in Highbury please? I have front and back door and both of them let a large amount of draught through. I also think security needs improving.

    • Hi Jenna,

      I have vested interest and therefore would rather not comment as this website is setup for discussions on home improvement and energy efficiency. Please google sash window repairs Highbury. I am sure you’ll come up with good results. If you’re really in a pickle send me an email I will quote. Mr Green

  3. Thanks for the post, where is the cheapest place to buy this draught seal from? I have seen Screwfix but I recall the price was about £5 for the door storm proofing. Now it’s nearly triple that! Do you have any knowledge of a trade counter to buy 4 of these, I need to do all my external doors. Cheers

    • Hi Phil,

      Apologies on slow reply – sadly prices have rocketed in the last few years and on a large number you can still get £5 however for just four the Screwfix trade counter is still your best bet. Sorry I cannot be of more help than this.

  4. I just wanted to say thanks for the advice, it gave me the confidence to take on some draught proofing around my front and rear doors. I wont say that it’s completely changed my life because it wouldn’t be true, but the draught that passes behind my ankles when I sit down for my morning coffee is gone and I am really grateful for that so thank you for your wonderful website.

    • Thank you Eddie your comment makes the whole site worth while to me, and is exactly the reason I do it. If you’d like some more home insulation tips then always email me and I put the requests into a list and as I have time I add another to the site.

  5. Can I just ask how you are cutting the weather bar to length? All of the weather bars I have ordered are too long and made of metal so I cannot use my wooden saw for fear of blunting it any further, that and the saw slips if I do try. Is there any special trick to this? I’d love to know thanks.

    • Hello Mr Tepper,

      A junior hacksaw is your friend, and if you cant get a good start then consider using a carpenters box to steady. The cut shouldn’t take a great deal of effort with the correct tools, I can cut a bar to length in around 30 seconds to a minute, if it’s taking much longer then please come back to me as there’s something else wrong.

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