Sunday, January 7, 2018

6 Ways to Insulate a Drafty Sliding Glass Door

I walked from my toasty warm home office to the kitchen downstairs. It was so cold I almost felt like someone left a window open in the dead of winter. 

I found and sealed the interior air leaks around my windows, water pipes, and front and back doors years ago and mulled over what could be wrong when the cold air hit me.

I didn’t weatherize, weather strip, or check the sliding glass door for air leaks when I did the rest of the house.

I didn’t need to light a candle or stick of incense and run it along the patio door to find warm escaping because the air leak was so big and blatant it almost smacked me right in the face. There is absolutely no weather stripping between the stationary and sliding glass doors. Take a look!


how to winterize a sliding glass door
There’s yer problem!

Sliding doors can be tricky to weather-strip and seal to prevent drafts and leaking air if you need to use the door during the winter but it is not impossible.

6 Ideas for Winterizing a Sliding Patio Door

Depending upon your needs and circumstances, think of the following suggestions as a good, better, best  idea for weather stripping or insulating a sliding door. If you have a better solution please add it to the comments below!

Six ways to stop sliding patio door drafts
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1. Hang insulating drapes or add thermal curtain liners like these to your existing  curtains currently hanging in front of your patio door (this works for windows too.) 

Many of the supplies in this tutorial are either things I own, some I know owns them or like so much that I have no problem recommending them to you (and using my affiliate links.) Thank you for helping us keep the lights on at Condo Blues!

2.  If you do not need to use your sliding door in the short term, consider using a  patio sliding door plastic insulation kit (learn more about it here) on our door. This kit is some type of temporary plastic sheeting insulation kits made for windows except large enough to cover a screen door. They are very easy to double stick tape the sheeting over the door or window and shrink to fit using a hair dryer.


3. For a more permanent solution that works for hot and cold weather close the gap between the stationary and sliding door by attaching silicone sealing strip weather stripping like this to the back side of sliding door. I prefer silicone weather stripping over the foam and fabric type because the silicone is shaped like a bottom door sweep for better insulation and is less likely to fall apart with normal wear and tear.


4.  My research says that spraying water on a window to hold a pieces of bubble wrap (you can buy rolls of bubble wrap here) cut to size will insulate glass windows and doors but haven’t tried it. I’m not sure how well the bubble wrap will stay on the patio door in the long term. If you’ve tried it let us know how well it works (or not) in the comments below!

5. I also found that some people suggest temporally attaching foam board insulation (like this) over a sliding door as a more durable insulation solution than plastic sheeting. This solution may work for you if you don’t need to use the door during the winter to go outside or for a source of light.


6 Unfortunately, I couldn't find silicone sliding door weather stripping locally. Lacey the Berserker Spaniel will bust through plastic sheeting  like nobody’s business  the minute she sees a bird or squirrel in the yard, and I need to use the patio door for daytime light (not to mention I have restrictions on what I can hang in my windows according to my Home Owners Association.)


I didn’t want to wait for my online order and went with a temporary door insulation hack.
I bought a rubber replacement door side seal, cut it length with a pair of scissors and stuck it in the channel in between the stationary and sliding door, and taped it into place with white duct tape.



how to add weather stripping to a sliding glass door
This my dry fit work in process.


It isn’t pretty but it works and blends with the white door casing to keep the Home Owner’s Association happy until it is warm enough spend time outside to test a more permanent solution.

Update 10/23/2018: I later bought bought silicone sealing strip weather stripping on Amazon and installed it (AKA peeled off the sticky tape and stuck it on the door) in the Spring when we needed to use the back door again. So easy1 This is my recommend first choice when it comes to insulating a sliding door.


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