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Last updated: 12 January 2024

Draught Proofing Windows: A How-to Guide


Draught proofing windows is a low-cost but effective way to improve the energy efficiency of your home, reduce heating costs, and reduce the draughts of cold air in your home.

Here we outline how to draught proof the windows in your home.

Finding the best window installers is crucial to ensure they are long-lasting and secure. Rather than spend a lot of researching the best installers to work with in your area, leave it to GreenMatch.

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Do your windows need draught proofing?

If your windows are double or triple glazed and were installed after 2002, you should not need to carry out draught proofing as building regulations introduced at that time required all window installations to meet certain quality standards. If you are not sure when your windows were installed, look for a FENSA certificate (which you would have been given by the installer) or check for a stamp in the metal seal of the window.

Will draught proofing windows make much difference?

While the odd draught through a window may not seem like an urgent issue, if several windows in your home are letting hot air escape and letting cold air inside, you will be paying more than you need to for your heating and wasting energy.

Depending on the severity of the draughts, you may also feel cold which is both uncomfortable and potentially dangerous for vulnerable people. If you feel the air is colder near your windows and/or you can feel a draught, then, yes draught proofing is recommended.

In order to work out where your windows need draught proofing, you should check the gaps between the window and its frame, the caulk on the exterior of the window frame, and the gaps around locks or catches. When you have identified where the window needs draft proofing, you can set to work.

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How to Draught Proof Windows

The draught proofing technique you use will depend on the type of windows you have, but here are the most common ways to draught proof windows.

Draught proofing windows that open

For the windows in your home that open, you need to fill the gap between the frame and the window with draught-proofing strips which you can buy from a DIY store. You can use self-adhesive foam, metal, or plastic strips.

  • Foam strips are cheaper and often easier to use, but not as durable
  • Metal and plastic strips will usually have wipers or brushes attached to them for extra insulation, but they are more costly

When you buy the strips, make sure you are getting the right size for the width of the gap.If the strip is too small, it will not be effective. If it is too big, the strip will get crushed when the window closes and may prevent you from closing the window. It is also worth noting that foam strips are often not suitable for use with sliding sash windows.

Draught proofing windows that don’t open

Windows which do not open should be draught proofed by sealing the draughts with a silicone-based sealant. When you have found the gaps, clean them to get rid of dirt and dust as this will improve the durability of the sealant. You should apply a release agent to the part of the window which touches the frame to prevent the sealant from sticking to the window rather than the frame.

If draught proofing does not solve the problem

If draught proofing your windows has not worked, or your windows are old/in particularly bad condition, you may need to take more drastic action. Here are your window improvement options.

Add secondary glazing

If your windows are single-glazed, it will be difficult to keep your home warm and stop noises from the outside being audible in your home. While the most effective solution would be to install double or triple glazing, an alternative solution for people who cannot afford the cost or live in a listed property/conservation area is to install secondary glazing. This means adding a second pane of glass to the window to improve heat and noise insulation without changing the character of the property.

Replace with double or triple glazing

Replacing your old windows with new, energy efficient double glazing is the best way to insulate your home and reduce heating costs.

Double glazed windows are sealed units which contain two panes of glass with a gap in between them. The gap is filled with an insulating gas such as Argon which makes your home more comfortable, cheaper to heat, and more secure as the windows are harder to break. Triple glazing takes this insulation and protection to another level, as they include three panes of glass and two layers of gas.

Get free quotes for replacement windows

If it is time to upgrade your windows, making your home more comfortable and cheaper to heat in the process, your next job is to get quotes from windows installers in your area. You need to compare quotes from at least three different companies to ensure you are getting the best possible price, but this research can take time.

Instead, why not save yourself the time and hassle by completing one simple form here on GreenMatch? This will only take a matter of minutes and once you’re done, you’ll get free quotes from up to 4 window installers near you.

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