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How To Insulate A Hollow Metal Door

A metal door is a hollow metal or steel type door. These are sometimes fire rated doors, depending on their location. Steel doors are primarily used as stairwell doors or rear building exit doors. In this guide we explain how to properly insulate a metal door.

Step 1: Insulate The Door Frame Perimeter

When the metal door is in the closed position it seats into the door frame. A neoprene, silicone, or polyurethane bulb seal can be attached to the inside of the door frame perimeter where it meets the door. When installed, the door will close and hit the bulb seal on the door frame, compressing it for a firm seal. This seal will close any gaps between the door and the frame, properly insulating the metal door.

Types Of Door Frame Perimeter Seal

Adhesive Perimeter Seal

Adhesive perimeter seal is shaped as a “tear drop” and are typically constructed from neoprene. High quality adhesive perimeter seal is fire rated and can be used on fire rated metal doors. Adhesive perimeter seal is the least expensive insulating material, however, the con is that if not properly installed, the adhesive can peel off the door frame over time. Or if the door is in a location that is abused, the perimeter seal can be ripped off or snagged. We recommend All American brand adhesive perimeter seal since it uses very high quality adhesive and will stick to the door frame.



Screw On Door Frame Perimeter Seal

Screw on door frame perimeter seal is the recommended choice for metal doors. The neoprene bulb seal slides into an extruded aluminum channel. The aluminum channel is designed to attach to the door frame by screws. Screw on door frame perimeter seal is available in fire rated models. The design of this weather stripping is much more heavy duty than adhesive perimeter seal. The aluminum channel often uses slotted screw holes, so that once attached to the door frame, it can be adjusted for the perfect seal. Since an aluminum channel is used, this weather stripping is more expensive than adhesive perimeter seal, however in the long run, we feel it’s total cost of ownership is less since you will not have to keep replacing it like you would with adhesive perimeter seal. We recommend All American brand frame perimeter seal because it is very durable and designed specifically for commercial door applications.



Step 2: Install Door Threshold

The next gap between the door and frame that needs to be sealed is between the bottom of the door and the surface of the floor. To seal this gap two weather stripping products are needed a saddle threshold and a bottom door sweep. The most common door threshold is a ¼” height ADA compliant saddle threshold. A threshold is designed to mount to the floor and should span the full length between the frame. The threshold should be caulked and screw attached to the floor. It is important to caulk the bottom of the threshold to prevent water from penetrating through the door way. We recommend All American brand thresholds since they are manufactured from extremely heavy duty aluminum designed for commercial door applications.



Step 3: Insulate Bottom Of Door With Door Sweep

The next step is to install a door sweep at the bottom of the door to seal the gap between the door and threshold. There are a variety of door sweeps to choose from, that vary in material. The most popular type of door sweep is a nylon or polypropylene bristle brush sweep. However, many exterior building doors can use vinyl door sweeps to help prevent rain water from entering through the bottom of the door. Door sweeps typically have slotted mounting holes, so that the door sweep can be adjusted for the best seal. We recommend All American brand door sweeps since they use high quality materials that are durable and will hold up on even the most abusive and well used door ways.



Step 4: Check If Your Door Is Properly Insulated

One of the easiest ways to check if your door is properly insulated is to do the “light” test. To do this, turn the light on in the room on the exterior side of the door. Then enter the room on the interior side of the door and turn off the lights. Look around the door and see if there is any light around the door. If there is, then the weather stripping should be adjusted so that there are no gaps.



Conclusion

It is important the hollow metal door frame is insulated so that there is no air gap between the door and frame as well as the door and the floor. For weather stripping products including the door threshold, we recommend All American weather stripping and thresholds. The reason is, that many weather stripping products out there are only really designed for low traffic residential home doors. Although it may not be advertised, it is quickly realized once it is installed, as the weatherstripping tears within a few days or the bottom threshold dents or crumples from the weight of people walking on it. As a national hardware supplier we cannot iterate it enough that the All American door products are designed for commercial hollow metal doors, and are durable and high quality. So if you need a door threshold or any kind of weather stripping order All American brand products and you will not be disappointed.

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