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How to Fix Drafty Windows in Five Steps (with Pictures)

commercial space with large windows

Have you ever had a drafty window? If so, you know how problematic this can be. If air is coming into your house, that could be a big problem, and the temperature in your house can be lower than you think because of drafty windows. A house with drafty windows can lead to a high utility bill.

You can replace them, which is easier, but it is expensive. This guide will teach you how to fix drafty windows in just five steps. We will also go over a quick method for fixing small drafts. Just follow our guide to get started!

divider 7 Why Do Windows Get Drafty?

It doesn’t matter if you have brand new windows or vintage wooden windows. All of them need maintenance from time to time. The glazing putty generally becomes brittle after a while, some windows can even shrink, and this allows cold air to enter your warm home.

This guide goes over two methods to fix a drafty window: the caulking method and quick-fix methods. If you are unsure about your skills level with home repair, you want to use a quick fix method or if the draft is coming from a small part of the window. But let’s go over the caulking method first!

black window frames
Image By: Piqsels

Caulking Method

Tools and Materials Needed

  • Paint scraper, or putty knife
  • Caulking gun
  • Caulk
  • Scrub brush
  • Candle
  • Lighter
  • Liquid soap
  • Small bucket or bowl
  • Water
  • Clean towel or paper towels

1. First, inspect first before starting with repairs.

We have a little trick for you. A candle is an effective way to find the spot where the air is coming in. Light the candle and slowly pass by the edge of the window and see where the flame moves. Mark that place, so you know where the most problematic spot is.

handyman repair window
Image Credit: Andrew Angelov, Shutterstock

2. Remove any old caulk around the window and frame.

You also want to remove any old paint as well because old paint will prevent sealing up the draft with new caulk. Use a paint scraper to get rid of the caulk and peeling paint.

3. Scrub the window and window’s edge with soapy water and a scrub brush.

You do not want to apply new caulk on a dirty surface. Once you have washed the area with soapy water, use clean water to remove any soap from the window and edge. Use a clean towel or paper towels to dry thoroughly.

man doing window repair
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, ShutterstockPixel-Shot, Shutterstock

4. Use the caulking gun to seal the window’s edges.

If you have never used a caulking gun before, read all the instructions included with the caulking gun before getting started. Keep the tip close to the window’s edge when you apply the caulk to ensure a tight and clean seal. Once you have resealed all the edges, you need to let the caulk dry overnight or for at least 8 hours.

5. Check your work.

Using the lit candle, hold it near the areas where you applied new caulk. Make sure the flame does not flicker or move.

man installing window
Image Credit: ronstik, Shutterstock

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Quick-fix Methods

There are also other quick-fix methods you could use on the drafty windows:
  • Nail polish
  • Add some layers
  • Put tape around the windows.

Nail polish

If there is a small crack on your window, you can try to fix it with some transparent nail polish. But be aware if your window has a top layer coat, don’t try this method. It will ruin the window. This method is acceptable just on small cracks. We advise not trying it on bigger areas because it is not as effective.

woman cleaning glass window
Image Credit: Khaligo, Pixabay

Add some layers

If you want to stop draft getting in, in the classy and refined way, you could use some curtains and drapes. Not only will this stop the drafts, but it will also give your home a decorative look, and we all want that.


During winter, it’s much colder, so you don’t open windows as usual. This is when you can add some double-sided tape on the edges. Windows tape will prevent colds from getting in your house, and this is a great solution to save some time and money.

divider 7 Conclusion

You can use one of the quick-fix methods as a non-permanent solution to fix drafty windows. Still, this is not the best long-term option. If you are a handy individual and like to do things on your own, consider using the caulking method. We hope that either method you choose will help prevent drafts

Featured Image Credit: val lawless, Shutterstock


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