How to Fix a Drafty Window

Don’t hire a handyman. Save money and follow HGTV Magazine ’s DIY steps for weather-stripping windows.
Snow Falling Through a Window

Snow Falling Through a Window

home window

Photo by: Illustration: Brown Bird Design; Window: Marko Metzinger

Illustration: Brown Bird Design; Window: Marko Metzinger

Window Elements Figure

Window Elements Figure

parts of a window mapped

Photo by: Brown Bird Design

Brown Bird Design

Before you start, get to know your window. (See figure at left for double-hung windows)

Step 1: Clean Inside the Window Frame

Using a rag dampened with water and a little soap, wipe inside the window jamb and along the bottom of the lower sash and the top of the upper sash. Let dry.

Clean Inside Window Frame

Clean Inside Window Frame

wipe down window frame

Photo by: Brown Bird Design

Brown Bird Design

Tip from a pro

"I advise avoiding foam weather stripping. Yes, it’s cheap, but it’ll only last a year or two, compared with three or more years for vinyl or silicone." —Chip Wade, host of Elbow Room

Step 2: Seal the Sides

Seal the Side of a Drafty Window

Seal the Side of a Drafty Window

seal sides of a window

Photo by: Brown Bird Design

Brown Bird Design

Cut four strips of self-stick vinyl V-channel an inch longer than the height of the lower sash. Raise the lower sash. Apply a strip inside the jamb, leaving the backing on the top inch. Feed that extra inch up under the side of the sash. Repeat for the other side. Close the window, remove the extra backing, and press the strips in place. Repeat for the upper sash, but feed the extra inch of V-channel down.

Step 3: Seal the Top and Bottom

Seal a Window

Seal a Window

sealing a drafty window

Photo by: Brown Bird Design

Brown Bird Design

Cut two strips of self-stick vinyl or silicone gasket-style weather stripping the same width as the sash. Raise the lower sash, and apply one strip along its bottom. Close the window. Slide down the upper sash, and apply the other strip along its top. Close the window.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Which Home Improvements Pay Off?

Basic maintenance, such as the roof and exterior painting, are frequently more important than an awesome kitchen.

How to Care for Poinsettias

Poinsettias bring a splash of festive red and green to a table or windowsill at the holidays. With proper care, you can enjoy these beautiful plants for weeks.

How to Distress Furniture

What's old is chic again. Follow these step-by-instructions for achieving a distressed look on furniture.

How to Remove Wallpaper

How do you remove the wallpaper without damaging the wall – or yourself? Use these tips to help you decide which option will work best.

How to Freeze Spinach

Freeze fresh spinach leaves—homegrown or store-bought—to create your own dark leafy green to flavor hot dishes and smoothies.

How to Kill Mold

Killing mold is a dirty job, but the right tools can help you wipe it out for good. Check out these tips for using the best cleaners to solve your fungus problem.

How to Remove Black Mold

Learn how to remove black mold safely and effectively.

How to Build a Home Theater

Want a movie-theater experience in your home? Learn how to build a home theater with step by step instructions from the pros at

How to Properly Paint Your Home's Exterior

Give your house a fresh, updated look with exterior paint.

How to Freeze Broccoli

Garden-fresh broccoli tastes amazing—nothing like its supermarket cousin. Freeze this cool-weather crop in season to savor later.


Shop This Look

Found a living space you love in HGTV's Photo Library? Get the look in your own home with products from Wayfair.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.