We live in a fantastic but chilly old Victorian house in the Northeast and spend a fair bit of time tracking down and fixing the drafts. One culprit was the external door from our sun lounge with a large gap at the bottom, this gap not only let the wind through but also rain and snow!
The floor slopes in this room so the door gap is not consistent across the bottom of the door, and it is often used to allow our dogs outside, so any solution to the draft problem had to to be hardwearing and flexible. As I was also insulating water pipes in the basement at the same time I thought I could use the same foam insulation to make something suitable.
Step 1: What You’ll Need
- Foam pipe insulation. This comes in a few different diameters from the hardware store to fit 1/2, 3/4 and 1 inch pipes - I used the 1/2 inch variety as I had a length spare. You will need two pieces the same width of your door, one for each side.
- A rectangle of fabric long enough to go across the width of the door and a bit extra for seam allowances. see the next stage for working out your measurements. The choice of fabric will depend on whether this is going on an external or internal door in your house. Anything external will need to be robust enough to stand up to the elements in your location - with plenty of snow, rain and subzero temperatures in upstate NY I used a heavy, waterproofed canvas off cut that we found in the local Habitat for Humanity recycle store.
- A sewing machine, you could also sew by hand if you have the patience.
- Iron to press the seams, you could manage without but it makes it easier and neater to turn the bag inside out once sewn.
Step 2: Measuring and Cutting the Fabric
Essentially you are going to make a long thin bag that goes under the door and holds a length of pipe insulation on either side of the door.
The width of the fabric will need to be sufficient to wrap around the two insulation tubes and go underneath the door with a bit of wiggle room plus your seam allowances.
You can carefully measure the circumferences of the two foam tubes, the door thickness and your seam allowances and add them all up with a bit extra for good measure, remembering that you will need to account for the door thickness twice as its two layers.
Or you can do what I did and roughly mock it up in position and mark onto the fabric where you need to cut. The transfer the fabric to the comfort of your work space and square off the edges and cut to size.
Step 3: Sewing the Open End Hem
You could sew the pipe insulation into the bag and seal it up at the end but I wanted to be able to replace the foam tubes if they got damaged - we have a couple of playfully destructive Boxer dogs!
To neaten up the open end I pinned and pressed a 2 cm hem across one of the short ends of the fabric rectangle on the 'right' side then sewed across.
In reality the canvas (duck) fabric I used isn’t going to fray but it did look more professional for having been done. The fabric you choose might dictate how necessary this is.
Step 4: Sewing Up the Sides
Fold the fabric in half along the long side, with the ‘right’ or good side of the fabric on the inside and pin the edges together. Sew along the unhemmed short side and the long side to give a long, thin bag, I used a seam width of 2 cm and as I was using a heavy canvas fabric didn’t have to worry about the edges fraying.
Trim the corners on the short side to approximately 45 degrees and press all the seams open with an iron - this will make it easier to turn the bag inside out and look neater when it’s finished.
Now turn the bag inside out so the right side is on the outside - you should be able to reach your arm inside, grab the bottom and pull it through to the right way.
Step 5: Finishing Off
To keep the pipe insulation from moving around too much, I divided the bag into two sections or pockets by sewing up the length of the middle of the bag.
You can carefully measure and divide in two to find the middle or just simply fold in half along the length and mark with pins or tailors chalk. I found the centre this way and stuck a piece of tape on the sewing machine to mark where I needed to line up the edge, then sewed using this tape mark as a guide. This sew line will be underneath the door and so will not be visible in use.
The pipe insulation foam tubes typically come in six foot lengths so you will need to cut to the same length as you newly completed bag and insert one length into each side.
Simply slide the finished draft stopper under the door with one foam tube either side. If your gap isn’t so big it may be easier to slide the empty bag under the door and then insert each of the two foam tubes.
Hopefully you now have a slightly warmer house!