How Do I Make My Windows Cold-Proof? A Winter-Ready Guide Using Butyl Tape

Have you noticed a cold breeze blowing into your home when the intensely cold temperatures start to roll in? Well, you’re not alone! Over the years, the natural movement of a home and windows can open gaps that weren’t there before. If you don’t seal them up, the temperature of your home can plummet, and your heaters will need to work harder to keep a comfortable temperature.  This will cost you money. Thankfully, ending this problem is easier than you may think. All you need to buy is some butyl seal tape and give yourself an hour or so to apply it around all your windows.

On this page, we’re going to walk you through the butyl tape installation. Our goal is to help get your windows properly winter-ready. We promise you that it doesn’t take much effort, and you’ll notice that your energy bills will fall. Not to mention that you’ll be a little bit warmer too. Note that you can also use butyl tape for roofing, or even in your RV (and sometimes your car). While we are talking purely about butyl tape application around your windows here, you can use the same process anywhere that you want to make winter-ready (or just waterproof).

What Is Butyl Seal Tape?

Butyl tape is a heavy-duty adhesive rubber. It is quick and easy to apply, and its properties make it highly suitable for cold-proofing windows (or cold-proofing anywhere, really). The butyl tape temperature range is anywhere from -20F to 275F. Even at the lowest temperatures, it won’t crack or peel away, meaning that it is going to provide the highest level of protection during the colder months of the year.

Step 1 – Buying the Butyl Tape

Before we can even think about butyl tape installation, you’re going to need to purchase some butyl tape. Thankfully, it isn’t as difficult as you may think. We suggest that you pick up butyl tape on Amazon. Canopus butyl tape is up there with some of the best butyl tape on the market, and it is incredibly affordable too.

Remember – you should always buy butyl tape that fits the color of your window frame. You don’t want it to stand out too much. Most people have white window frames, so you’ll want to pick up butyl tape in white. While you’ll see the butyl tape white against the window frame, it shouldn’t be too bad. It won’t mess up the aesthetic of your home too much, and at least you’ll be warm.

The butyl tape that we have selected is quite thin in size. This will help to keep it hidden as much as possible. If you were putting the butyl tape inside the frame (which would require you to remove the windows), you’d need something thicker.

Butyl Seal Tape

Butyl Seal Tape

Step 2 – Refrigerating the Butyl Tape

Got your butyl tape? Fantastic! It is time to prepare it for installation.

To get the butyl tape as flexible as possible, it is important that you keep it in the fridge for 2-3 hours before installation. It’ll make it much easier to mold the butyl tape to the shape of your window frame.

You should also check the temperature in your home. The butyl tape temperature range for installation is 30F to 110F. Outside of those ranges, it will be tough to get the butyl tape to stick (although, once it is stuck down, extreme temperatures would struggle to remove it).

Step 3 – Preparing the Butyl Tape Surface

Now, the best type for butyl tape application around a window (or even using butyl tape on roofing) is before anything has been installed. A lot of window fitters will put butyl tape inside the frame before putting the glass in it. This keeps the butyl tape hidden, but it will still provide you with the cold weather protection that butyl tape is known for. However, we are going to assume that you either do not know how to remove your windows, or you don’t have the time to do that. Thankfully, you can still use butyl tape.

Start by identifying any parts around your window frames that seem to be letting the air in. Any air flowing in is going to lower the temperature in your home. This is where you want to be putting the butyl tape, although, ideally, you would surround the entire outside of the window frame with it. If anything, surrounding the entire frame will give it a cleaner look.

Once you know where you need to put the butyl tape, give the area a clean. When we say it needs to be clean, we mean that it really needs to be clean. Wipe it free of dust (using a lint-free cloth) and then use an alcohol cleaner to get the rest of the grime removed. If anything is left behind, it may result in the butyl tape not sticking to the surface.

Step 4 – Cutting the Butyl Tape to Size

This part is easy. You’ll need a sharp knife for this. Just measure the area that needs to be covered and trim the butyl tape to size. Make sure that you do not accidentally peel off the adhesive ‘protector’ yet. You don’t want the adhesive exposed until it touches the surface you’re sealing.

Step 5 – Applying the Butyl Tape

Note: it is important that you get this part right. Once the butyl tape is in place, it is almost impossible to remove. So, be careful during this stage.

Start by removing the adhesive backing on the butyl tape. Don’t touch it with your fingers as it could result in dust and body oils getting onto the adhesive, and it may not stick as well.

Finally – it is butyl tape application time. You want to push the butyl tape into the gaps that need to be covered. You’ll notice that the butyl tape is very flexible, so you should be able to push it nice and tightly against the frame with absolutely no gaps.  

It is important that you push all air bubbles out of the butyl tape as you push it down. Any air bubbles in the tape will prevent the tape from doing its job (i.e., protecting you from the cold).  Some people will use a small roller to really push it into place. You want those gaps properly covered.

If you wish, you can layer the butyl tape for a little bit of extra protection from the cold. However, we only really find this necessary if you have some serious gaps in the window frame.

Final Thoughts

Butyl tape is one of the best ways to cold-proof your windows. Pick up some butyl tape on Amazon, stick it around your windows, and it should help to keep the cold air out of your home. It is very easy to apply, and the proper application of butyl tape can result in a warmer home and lower energy bills.

Butyl Seal Tape

Butyl Seal Tape