Rubber vs. Vinyl Weatherstripping

Rubber and vinyl weatherstripping helps keep heated and cooled air from escaping.
Image Credit: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Weatherstripping is an important material to use to make your home more energy efficient. Vinyl and rubber are popular choices used to seal gaps around windows and doors in homes. Familiarize yourself with the differences between the two and the product styles and options so you make the right choice. Heating and cooling costs money, so don't let the heated and cooled air that you pay for escape from inside your home.


Rubber weatherstripping products are used for doors, windows and in areas that have an irregular shape and require a flexible weathering material. Rubber products are often made as a tape with an adhesive backing for easy installation. The tapes come in various widths and thicknesses so you can select a size that will best fit your needs. You can use common household scissors to cut rubber weatherstripping tape, according to the length or size you need.


Vinyl is used to produce several types of weatherstripping products. This includes rolled or reinforced stops for doors and windows, door sweep pieces to attach underneath doors, door shoes to keep doors shut, and various types of threshold pieces. Vinyl is also used to create V-strip pieces. These are folded pieces of vinyl that open and contract in a spring-like action to bridge the gap between a doorjamb or a window sash. V-strips are relatively inexpensive and easy to install. They have an adhesive back so you can quickly and easily attach them inside the doorjamb or window sash so that doors and windows close tightly.


Improvements have been made in how newer doors are manufactured. Most doors have a gap of one-quarter inch or more along the bottom edge. In the case of wood doors, the gap is needed to provide space for the natural expansion of the door during warm weather. In efforts to address consumer and homeowner concerns about energy efficiency, many manufacturers are now making new door models that have pre-attached vinyl or rubber weatherstripping along the bottom edge of the door. Window manufacturers also provide homeowners with options to include vinyl or rubber weatherstripping materials when they install new or replacement windows. These features help homeowners install new doors that will prevent seepage of warm and cool air. Vinyl and rubber weatherstripping products are typically sold by the foot and in rolls and have adhesive backing to make installation easy.


Vinyl weatherstripping provides more options, strength, durability and product choices compared to rubber weatherstripping. Although it has an overall industrial look, vinyl can be more aesthetically pleasing, because it has a rigid form and structured shape. The adhesive on rubber weatherstripping tapes can wear out rather quickly. As a result, you have to monitor the tape to see if it is still holding up. They should be used in areas where they won't experience much wear and tear, such as to weatherstrip areas in an attic or basement. Rubber weatherstripping is also visible, so if cosmetic appearances are a concern, vinyl might be a better choice.