DIY Guide: Insulating Sliding Glass Doors for Winter with Draft Stoppers and Window Film

As winter approaches, it’s time to think about how to keep your home warm and cozy. One often overlooked area is your sliding glass doors. They can be a major source of heat loss if not properly insulated.

Insulating your sliding glass doors isn’t just about comfort, it’s also about energy efficiency. By reducing drafts, you can lower your heating bills and reduce your carbon footprint.

Key Takeaways

  • Evaluate the current insulation of your sliding glass doors by checking for drafts, visible weatherstripping damage, light leakage, and monitoring energy costs.
  • Applying weatherstripping is a cost-effective method to improve insulation. Among the types available, adhesive-backed tape, V-strip, and door sweeps are common. While each has varying levels of ease of application, durability, and effectiveness, all significantly increase insulation.
  • Thermal curtains and drapes are another great option. These specially made insulating materials can significantly reduce heat loss, leading to improved energy efficiency.
  • Insulated window film can also be used for insulating sliding glass doors. These films reduce heat conducted through glass by reflecting radiant heat back into the room, which can reduce energy consumption by 25-30%.
  • Opt for DIY draft stoppers for a creative and cost-effective alternative. These are tubes filled with insulating material, placed along the bottom edge of your doors to block drafts.
  • Remember, a combination of these insulation techniques will most effectively enhance your home’s ability to retain heat and lower heating bills during the winter months.

Insulating sliding glass doors is essential for maintaining warmth in the home during winter months. U.S. Department of Energy provides a comprehensive guide on using draft stoppers and window films to seal air leaks effectively. Home Depot offers a tutorial on applying window film, which adds an insulating layer to glass and reduces heat transfer, and This Old House covers different materials and techniques for the best insulation results.

Assessing the Current Insulation

Before you dive into the process of insulating your sliding glass doors, assessing the current state of insulation is key. Not only does it provide a baseline, but it also helps you understand the weak points in your insulation that are contributing to a cozy environment turning chilly and inefficient.

Start by feeling the draft. On a cold day, place your hand near the edges of the door. If you feel a cold draft coming in, there’s inadequate insulation. Similarly, check if there’s a noticeable temperature difference between the area around your door and the rest of the room.

Next step, carefully inspect for visible damage. Look for signs of aging, peeling, or damage to the existing weatherstripping – a common insulating material for sliding glass doors. If damage is evident, it’s a clear indicator that you need to replace it.

Undertake an evening assessment to check for light leakage. During dusk or after sunset, turn off lights inside the room and check around the door frame and track for visible external light seeping through. If you see light, it means your insulation needs improvement.

Finally, keep track of energy costs. If your heating expenses have been increasing lately without any significant change in usage or external temperature, it’s a sure sign of heat escaping somewhere – sliding doors could be the culprit.

ActivityIndicator of Poor Insulation
Feel the draftCold draft felt near door edges, temperature difference in room
Inspect visible damageSigns of age, peeling, or damage on weatherstripping
Check for light leakageVisible light during dusk or post sunset around door frame
Monitor energy costsRising heating expenses without considerable change

Remember, just like every problem does not warrant drastic measures, every draft does not indicate a complete insulation do-over. Sometimes, a simple quick fix could work wonders. You’ll discover more about it in the sections ahead.

Weather Stripping for Sliding Glass Doors

If you’ve identified drafts or light leakage around your sliding glass doors, weatherstripping becomes a vital next step. It’s a cost-effective way of enhancing your door insulation without the need for a full remodeling project.

You’ll find an array of weatherstripping options in the market designed specifically for sliding glass doors. The most common types are adhesive-backed tape, V-strip (also known as tension seal), and door sweeps.

Here’s a table to help you compare these options:

Adhesive-backed tapeV-stripDoor sweeps
Ease of applicationEasyMediumHard
Effectiveness in blocking drafts and lightMediumHighHigh
  • Adhesive-backed tape is the easiest to install. All you need to do is stick it on the areas where the drafts are coming out. Unfortunately, it’s less durable and might need frequent replacements.
  • V-strip is more durable and highly effective at blocking drafts and light. Applying it might take a bit of effort since it usually requires cutting the strip to the size of your door and gluing it to the correct place.
  • Door sweeps can be a bit challenging to install as they’re typically mounted at the bottom of the door. However, they’re highly durable and effective at blocking door drafts and light.

Remember, before writing off a complete insulation overhaul, you can try some of these simple, yet effective methods. Weatherstripping not only improves the comfort of your home during the winter but also contributes to energy efficiency, ultimately reducing your energy bills. Properly sealing up your sliding glass door could keep it functional and cost-effective, helping you brave the harsh winter months with ease.

In the next section, we’ll talk about insulating films: another affordable insulation option for your sliding glass doors.

Thermal Curtains and Drapes

Another way to up the ante on insulation is through the effective use of thermal curtains and drapes. These aren’t your everyday window treatments. Thermal Curtains and Drapes are specially made with a layer of insulating material to shield your home from winter’s chill. This is a secret weapon that’s too often overlooked.

Consider this: a sizable amount of heat loss happens through the windows, and sliding glass doors are simply huge windows. So, curbing that heat loss significantly contributes to your home’s energy efficiency, and thermal curtains and drapes are a perfect tool for that.

When you’re shopping for thermal curtains or drapes, look for ones that are labeled as “insulated” or “thermal”. They’re crafted from densely woven fabric to block heat loss and some even come with a foam backing to provide extra insulation. We’re talking about a product that marries style and function. They come in various colors, patterns, and textures, so you’ll undoubtedly find something that complements your beautiful home.

Installation is easy for these thermal curtains. The process is like hanging ordinary curtains, but you’ll have to ensure that they cover the whole door to maximize their benefits. And the best part? You’ll feel the difference almost instantly! Cold drafts will reduce, and you’ll see a decrease in energy bills over time.

While this method might require a higher upfront investment compared to weather stripping, the long-term gains are worth it. An average reduction of 15-25% in energy costs isn’t something to sneeze at.

Insulated Window Film

Diving further into the topic of insulating your glass sliding doors, Insulated Window Film emerges as another viable solution. Frequently used to prevent heat loss in the colder weather, it fits as a transparent layer over your existing glass. This thin, invisible barrier adds an extra level of thermal insulation. Plus, it’s a perfect alternative when you don’t exactly fancy drapey curtains.

What makes this product unique is its functionality. The film reduces heat conducted through the windowpane by reflecting radiant heat back into the room. This essentially underpins its primary role in retaining heat during the winter months. For instance, your glass door becomes a two-way mirror, retaining more heat inside. Besides that, you’ll notice less cold spots and drafts, making your home more comfortable.

Exploring the cost-effectiveness and energy savings attached to insulated window films, it’s a smarter investment over the long haul. Studies have proven that homes using window films can see a drop in energy consumption by 25% to 30%. To help you put this into perspective, we’ve created a chart to visualise the potential savings:

Initial InvestmentEnergy Savings %Payback Period
$20025%2 years
$50030%3 years

Depending on the size of the doors and the film type, the initial investment may vary, but the payback period usually ranges between 2-3 years.

The application process is another selling point of insulated window film. It’s easy and straightforward. Armed with only a pair of hands, a small utility knife, and a squeegee, you can install the film in no time. A quick tip: apply the film on a clean, dry, and cool window. This affects how well the film sticks to the glass and thus how effective it will be.

Having covered insulated window films, let’s explore other options for insulating your glass doors against winter chills…

DIY Draft Stoppers for Sliding Glass Doors

You’re likely familiar with one other handy tool in the glass door insulation arsenal – the draft stopper. This simple device – sometimes called a door snake – is a kind of tube you place along the bottom edge of your doors. What’s the purpose, you ask? It blocks wind, drafts, and cold air from sneaking under the door and into your cozy room.

Here’s a fun part. You could go out and buy one, but for those with a flair for the creative, making a door draft stopper can be a rewarding and efficient DIY project. Let’s get your hands busy.

What you’ll need:

  • Long piece of fabric
  • Sewing machine or needle and thread
  • Filling material like rice, beans, or old clothes

First off, measure the length of your sliding glass door. This will determine the length of the fabric you’ll need. Ensure it’s long enough to cover the entire bottom edge of the door. Then, cut and double fold the fabric, sewing along the edge to create a tube.

Next, fill this tube with your chosen material. Remember, it needs to be heavy enough to stay in place but not too heavy to move when you’re opening or closing the door.

Finally, sew the open end, and there you have it! Your door is less drafty, and your home is warmer. Plus, you’ve added a personal touch to your décor.

For additional protection, consider using weatherstripping on the door frame. This adhesive foam or tape creates a seal when the door is closed, reducing drafts from the sides of the door as well. You’ll find, in combination with the window film and your DIY draft stopper, there’s a noticeable increase in your home’s insulation capabilities.


Insulating your sliding glass doors for winter doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With DIY draft stoppers and insulated window film, you’ve got a powerful combo to keep the cold out. Don’t forget the added punch of weatherstripping for an even cozier home. These tools not only block cold air but also help you save on energy costs. So, roll up your sleeves, gather your materials, and get ready to create a warm, draft-free space this winter. Remember, every small step you take towards better insulation makes a big difference in your home’s comfort and your wallet’s health.

What is a DIY Draft Stopper?

A DIY Draft Stopper, also known as a door snake, is a tube made from fabric and filling material that is placed at the base of a door to prevent drafts from entering a room.

How does a Draft Stoppers work?

Draft Stoppers work by blocking cold air and wind from entering under a door. By sealing this gap, they help to reduce drafts and improve a room’s insulation.

How can I make my own Draft Stopper?

You can make your own Draft Stopper by sewing a tube of fabric and filling it with materials such as rice or beans. This makes for a rewarding DIY project.

What are the benefits of a DIY Draft Stopper?

A DIY Draft Stopper has the benefits of increasing a room’s insulation, reducing drafts, and saving on energy costs. It complements other insulation methods such as Insulated Window Film.

What’s another method to improve insulation on glass sliding doors?

Apart from using DIY Draft Stoppers, you can enhance insulation on glass sliding doors by using an Insulated Window Film. Applying weatherstripping to the door frame can also reduce drafts.

How effective are DIY Draft Stoppers when combined with window film?

When DIY Draft Stoppers are combined with window film, you may see a noticeable increase in your home’s insulation capabilities. They work together to minimize energy loss and keep your home cozy.