Draft Stops

Limit air infiltration with narrow strips of various materials.
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Draft Stops

Postby johnleeke » Mon Dec 12, 2016 8:11 pm

Cold air sometimes infiltrates through gaps at the ends of the meeting rail of the lower sash. The gaps can be covered with a "draft stop." I just recalled that my Mom called these "dust stops", and we had them on the house I grew up in that my dad built in 1950. Her term probably comes from growing up during the "dust bowl" days of the 1930s out on the prairie lands of Nebraska when every breeze and wind blew fine dust into the house through all the little nooks and crannies.


I'm making my own out of leather, piano tuners felt or milk jug plastic depending on the budget. They can be tacked or glued in place. Leather and plastic can be painted. Conforms tightly to the face of the upper sash stile, parting bead, sash track and cord. 6 minutes each to make and install.

Leather works the best. Leather is less permeable to air flow than felt. I use Top Grain, vegetable tan, 12oz.(3/16" thick). Source: lower cost is scraps from a leather worker, or if buying new material "belt blanks" are nice, I get 1 3/4" or 2" wide belt blanks. In fact, the first time I made these I used dress belts from the second-hand clothing store, which were about a buck each, enough for ten windows.

- Make a Pattern
- Cut cardboard to width
- Set cardboard down flat on the upper surface of the meeting rail, and against the stile of upper sash, touching the parting bead
- Scribe with dividers: parting bead, cord or chain, inner edge of stile face
- Sketch and trim pattern to conform to the face of the stile, parting bead and surface of the sash track
- Check pattern at other end of meeting rail to assure it also fits there
- Trace pattern onto leather, flip pattern and trace for other stop
- Cut out stops with shears, tin snips or a sharp knife
- Drill holes in leather for tight curve of parting bead, and for the sash cord
- Put pieces face to face
- Cover with plastic guide, then drill
- Beat edges that meet the stile face and the sash track with a file card to "fuzz up" the leather fibers
- Cut split to hole for cord
- Dress outer edges with sandpaper
- Paint or finish if needed
- Install with 4 tacks
- Touch up tacks with paint or finish if needed

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