In this article

What is draught proofing?

Benefits of draught proofing

Draught proofing costs

DIY draught proofing or professional?

Energy bills savings of draught proofing

Top draught proofing methods

Common areas in the home to find draughts – and how to stop them

Ensuring good ventilation

Other ways to insulate the home

Draught proofing (or draft exclusion) can be one of the cheapest and most effective ways to save on your energy bills and is a great choice for all types of home. It’s a very simple concept of stopping cold air from coming in and preventing warm air from leaving the home. This is done by sealing gaps in areas such as windows and doors to eliminate heat loss and. The work is usually simple to carry out as a DIY project resulting in a much more comfortable home.  

There are different areas in the home that can benefit from draught proofing and a few different methods to follow. Continue for our guide to these methods, and to learn about the costs, savings and benefits of draught proofing the home.  

What is draught proofing?

To put it simply, draught proofing involves blocking up and sealing gaps that let cold air into the home and let warm air out, while ensuring adequate ventilation and fresh air. These gaps can be present in many different areas of the home, from cracks in skirting boards to gaps in windows and doors. Draught proofing measures (such as draught excluders) help to increase energy efficiency and reduce energy bills. As a result, the existing heating system doesn’t have to work as hard to retain a comfortable temperature. Draught proofing also helps to reduce carbon footprint. 

Benefits of draught proofing 

There are several key benefits that come with installing draught proofing measures in the home. These benefits combined with the relatively cheap cost make it a great choice to achieve greater comfort.  

Increase energy efficiency in the home: Draught proofing is a fantastic way of reducing heat loss in the home. This means your heating system won’t have to work as hard or be on for as long to produce a comfortable temperature. 

Lower energy bills: A heating system that doesn’t have to work as hard means you’ll be using less energy, resulting in lower energy bills.

Lower carbon footprint: Reducing your energy use with draught proofing comes with another benefit of combating climate change and reducing your carbon footprint. If you have a fossil fuel powered heating system such as a gas boiler, it will be used less resulting in fewer carbon emissions being released into the atmosphere.

Cheap and easy installation: Draught proofing measures are cheap and easy to install. They can be installed by yourself as a DIY project or a professional. They can even be tackled room by room.

Increase the value of your home: Potential buyers want to purchase a home that is efficient and cheap to run. The increased level of efficiency will be an attractive selling point. The same is true for other types of insulation. 

Draught proofing costs 

Pricing will vary depending on the area of the home you’re focusing on and work can be carried out room by room. Hiring a professional can be a more convenient option, with a guaranteed high standard of work but it can cost upwards of £200 for the whole home.¹ DIY draught proofing is relatively easy work to carry out and materials are cheap to buy. For example, a keyhole cover starts at only £3.  

Here are a few guide prices for various draught proofing works, and as you’ll see they can be quite affordable. We would always recommend shopping around and comparing prices, and all DIY stores should stock draught proofing measures: 

  • Thermal curtains: £45 

  • Thermal blinds: £25 

  • Carpet or rug underlay: £35 

  • Letterbox brush: £10 

  • Draught excluder: £6 

DIY draught proofing or professional? 

Ultimately, this comes down to personal preference, budget and how comfortable you are with DIY.

There are many installers of draught proofing measures and you can be guaranteed high quality materials and workmanship. This of course comes with the higher price tag. Professional installation could produce higher efficiency and lower bills in the long run as a result of being installed correctly. If you are uncomfortable carrying out the work yourself, we would recommend getting in a professional to complete the work regardless. A professional should be able to identify draughts very quickly, and will know what materials to fill them with, therefore saving you a lot of time and energy. 

DIY draught proofing on the other hand is quite easy, even for someone without major DIY experience. As long as you’re comfortable with DIY and the work ahead, you can still produce great results doing it yourself. 

Energy bills savings of draught proofing

Draught proofing helps to increase energy efficiency in the home and reduces heat loss, it also helps to make savings on energy bills. 

Here are some savings you can expect:²

  • Windows and doors: around £25 per year   

  • Chimney: around £18 per year 

Depending on your home improvement budget, you could also consider improving the insulation of the home to increase energy bill savings even further. 

Top draught proofing methods 

Whether you’re letting a professional take care of it, or carrying out the work yourself, there are lots of different methods to draught proof the home. Here are our top draught proofing methods: 

Sealing gaps 

Small gaps in the home mean that heat can escape. One of the best things to do is seal these gaps by using these options.  

  • Draught excluders: These are one of the most common forms of draught proofing. They are taped along parts of windows and doors which close against a frame. We would always recommend measuring the size of the door or window correctly to ensure the right size of excluder. If the wrong size is purchased you could have difficulty closing the door or window. 

  • Brush strips: These stop warm air from leaking out through gaps in the bottom of doors, they also stop dust from coming into the home and increase soundproofing. Brush strips are designed to fit all types and sizes of doors. As the name suggests, these are a series of small brushes attached to a PVC strip. Brush strips can be fitted by measuring the bottom of the door when it’s closed, and cut to size. Brush strips are either screwed in or attached by adhesive.  

Thermal curtains and blinds 

There are curtains and blinds which are specially designed to stop heat from escaping. The thinner the curtain the more heat that can pass through it.  

  • Thermal curtains: These are extra thick curtains which stop air from getting in and out of windows. You must make sure to measure these carefully so that the window is fully covered. These come in a wide range of colours and designs to match your existing living space.  

  • Thermal blinds: Like with thermal curtains these are specially designed to stop heat from escaping, and are a thicker version of standard household blinds.  

Rug and underlay  

If you have a wooden floor, then it’s likely some heat will be escaping through this. To combat this, we would recommend placing a rug or carpet on top. You could even add an underlay beneath.  

Keyhole and letterbox covers 

While small, a keyhole is the perfect place for a pesky draught to enter the home. Buying a keyhole cover is the perfect way to stop draughts entering through the door. They start from as little as £1 and can be installed in a couple of minutes. While you’re there you should also consider buying an internal cover for your letterbox. These are installed on the inside of the letterbox and typically come complete with brushes attached. Installing one of these will stop draughts entering with your daily post.  

Common areas in the home to find draughts – and how to stop them 

Pesky draughts can find many ways to enter the home, including gaps in doors, windows, letterboxes and even the chimney. If you search around the home, you’ll likely find some uncovered gaps and openings exposed to the outside air. Here are some of the most common places to find draughts: 

  • Windows 

  • Doors 

  • Chimneys 

  • Floorboards and skirting boards 

  • Loft hatches 

  • Pipework 

  • Old extractor fans 

  • Cracks in walls 

Draught proofing windows 

Depending on the kind of budget you have, and the type of windows, there are several different ways to draught proof. You can buy draught proofing strips which stick around the window frame and fill the gap between the window and the frame. There are two types: 

  • Self-adhesive foam strips: These are cheap and easy to install, but may not last as long.  

  • Metal or plastic strips:  These have brushes or wipers attached and more expensive, but tend to last longer.  

The strip should be measured to the right size to fill the gap in the window. Too big and it will get crushed when closing the window. Too small and there will still be a gap. 

If you live in an older property with sliding sash windows, foam strips wouldn’t be suitable. You should opt for brush strips or contact a professional. If your windows don’t open, then you can use a silicone sealant. If you have a larger budget, you could also explore the options of energy efficient windows.  

Draught proofing doors 

External doors should be a key focus when draught proofing. Draught proofing for external doors is affordable and easy to install, there are some key areas to consider:   

  • Keyhole and letterbox: buy a purpose-made keyhole cover and a letterbox flap or brush for the inside of the letterbox. 

  • Gaps: For gaps around the bottom of doors, then consider a brush draught excluder. For gaps around the edges of doors, fit foam or brush strips similar to those used for windows. 

  • Internal doors: Internal doors will need draught-proofing if they lead to a room that is not normally heated, this could be a kitchen or spare room. Keep the doors in these rooms closed to prevent the cold air circulating in to the rest of the home. You don’t need to worry about draught proofing doors between two heated rooms, as only warm air will circulate.  

Draught proofing chimneys  

In older homes with a traditional fireplace, the chimney can be a source of unnecessary draughts. There are a couple of ways to stops draughts through the chimney: 

  • Fit a cap: This is a neat cap for the top of the chimney, usually made from terracotta. The cap stops air from flowing in or out. We would usually recommend this is done by a professional who can easily reach the roof of the home.    

  • Chimney draught excluder: These are usually fitted inside the chimney or around the fireplace and help to stop draughts. 

Draught proofing floorboards and skirting boards 

For gaps and cracks in the floor or skirting boards you can squirt filler in to the these, this will stop draughts entering. Make sure to use a filler which can tolerate movement as day-to-day floor and skirting boards may contract, expand or even move slightly. The most common types of fillers for this job would be: 

  • Flexible fillers 

  • Decorator's caulk 

  • Mastic-type products

Fillers are available in different colours to match existing furnishings and can be purchased for indoor or outdoor use. We would always advise applying with caution as they block gaps permanently. You should always wipe off any excess filler before it dries, and reapply if the filler has broken down over time. It’s a relatively simple job but if you don’t feel comfortable with this, then a professional can help.  

Draught proofing loft hatches 

It’s worth draught proofing the loft hatch as well, as hot air rises and escapes into the cold space in the loft or attic. The best way of doing this is to use strip insulation, as you would for a door and place them around the edges of the hatch. 

Draught proofing pipework  

Filling gaps in pipework can be done in a similar way to that of floor and skirting boards, by using silicone fillers. If there is a particularly large gap, then expanding polyurethane foam can be used. This foam material is sprayed into the gap, which then expands and sets. 

Draught proofing old extractor fans 

If you look at the ceiling in your kitchen or bathroom, you may find an old extractor fan which is no longer in use. These outlets can allow draughts to enter the home. These can be filled with bricks or concrete blocks sealed from both sides. This is something that a professional would be best to help with.  

Cracks in walls  

Cracks in walls can be filled in using cements or hard-setting fillers, these will work around existing electrical fittings on walls and ceilings. If there is a large crack, we would always recommend consulting a builder or surveyor to see what caused the crack. They can also check for underlying issues. 

Ensuring good ventilation 

While you want to keep draughts out, you still want to make sure that the home has adequate ventilation to keep it fresh, dry and healthy. While draught proofing you need to make sure that you don’t block any of the following by accident:  

  • Active extractor fans 

  • Airbricks or underfloor grilles 

  • Vents on walls 

  • Trickle vents

Ensuring good ventilation particularly in kitchens and bathrooms will stop the build-up of any moisture or condensation, and help to prevent damp or mould from developing.  

Other ways to insulate the home 

There are some other choices that can be made to insulate the home. These are all covered in our guide to home insulation:  

Roof and loft insulation

One quarter of total heat loss is accounted for through the roof of a home. By insulating the roof and loft of a home you could make savings of £275 per year on energy bills.  

Cavity wall insulation 

This is the construction of an inner and outer wall of the home, with a small space in the middle known as the cavity. This cavity can be filled with insulation materials to reduce heat loss, which could save up to £305 per year on annual energy bills.  

Solid wall insulation

If solid walls are installed in the home, they too can be insulated. Solid walls contribute to 45% of overall heat loss in the home, so insulating them can be a great way to reduce heat loss. Typical energy bill savings can be up to £375 for a detached home, so it’s a worthwhile investment.

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