It should have been a simple task. Namely, to install some sort of draft blocker under a door that led to the cold, cold attic. The drafty door is only about ten feet from the thermostat that tells my kilowatt eating heat pump to kick on. Last month’s electric bill? A whopping $452 . Sweet Baby Jesus.
The simple solution was right there on Amazon, a mere two days shipping away. The device consisted of two circular tubes of foam, one for either side of the door, and held together by a rubber band of some sort. Installation time? About ten seconds.
“That thing is ugly,” the Missus proclaims. “Can’t you find something more attractive?”
Off to Lowe’s I go. It’s a twenty-five mile round trip from my house, the cost of gasoline already exceeding the price of the foam insulators. An employee points me in the right direction where I find all sorts of hardware to solve my problem, or so it seems. I immediately spy a spiffy little piece of plastic with flexible fins on the bottom and is molded to fit the bottom of a door. It comes in jet black or dazzling white. I logically choose the white to match the décor. I note that the strip is thirty-six inches long. My door is a mere thirty-two. Hmmm.
Instructions printed on the packaging lead me to believe that size is not a problem, contrary to what I’ve heard all my life.
“Use scissors or hacksaw and cut to fit,” it reads. Ahhh.
The Missus is delighted with my choice and I go to work. In theory, it couldn’t have been easier. Simply slide the strip over the bottom of the door and attach it to said door with screws provided. But wait, something doesn’t look right. Further perusing the instructions, I find that the strip will work on gaps only up to ¾ inch. I measure my own gap: 1 ¼ inch.Crap. The problem, you see, is that we recently had the old carpet replaced with tile. Why? Suffice to say it had to do with cats.
Tile, being thinner than carpet, resulted in the wider than normal drafty gap. I decide to pour a spooker and think about this. Soon, it hits me. All I need to do is cut a piece of wood the width of the door and about a half inch thick. Nail it to the bottom of the door and voila! There was one slight adjustment. The plastic was a little wider than the actual door. Why not make my cut to fit the plastic? After all, the back side would face the attic stairs and be out of sight. No problem here.
My optimism was short lived. Scissors didn’t work for the trim job, not at all. A hacksaw might if you had a brand new blade, which I didn’t, so I butchered my way through the damn thing with brute force. I might as well have used a Weed-Eater. Screws of the proper length for my nice new piece of wood had to be located, pilot holes measured and drilled. A Phillips-head screwdriver that wasn’t rounded off would have been nice. As the garage air cleared of profanity, I hoisted the door back in place, lining up the hinges.
The carpentry gods have smiled upon me. The gap was sealed. Nary a wisp of cold air to climb up and out and invade the money-eating thermostat could be found. I smiled.
But wait, what was that? Where did that space in the frame come from? A mysterious gap had appeared between the newly modified door and the frame opposite the doorknob. What the hell?
Then I spotted the problem. Another installation strip, mounted vertically along the frame, was being mashed and forced sideways by my new, resized, and brilliantly engineered extension board. The excess ¼ inch or so that I thought would be out of sight and negligible was now warping the frame and allowing space for yet another draft.
Yes, I could have notched it out. That would have the proper thing to do. What I did was put that SOB on the miter saw and chop it off.
“Why doesn’t that white thingy go all the way to the end of door?” the Missus inquired, a look of puzzlement on her face.
“It’s very simple, dear. They don’t make white thingies the exact width of our particular door. But, I’m pretty sure Amazon still has those foam models in stock.”