Easy way to light seal an interior door?
Old 03-15-2007   #1
Jeremy Z
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Easy way to light seal an interior door?

Hi Fellas,

I'm about 90% done setting up my home darkroom. (I think)

The one thing I'm having an issue with is lightproofing. I put a door sweep on the bottom of the door, which did a pretty good job.

But it is the edges of the door I'm having a problem with. I tried weather stripping, but even the thinnest stuff makes it so I can't close the door, and there is still a crack of light around most of the edge. (everywhere but within about 14" of the latch)

There must be an easy way that I'm overlooking!

I'm thinking of maybe trying to mount a temporary curtain on the outside of the door, but this seems like a lot of work too.

I'm also considering putting sweeps around the perimeter of the door, but that might look a little ghetto.

What I was hoping for, but have been unable to find so far is that black brush material, or something made specifically to light seal doors or windows.

Has anyone got any sources or ideas on how to accomplish this?
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Old 03-15-2007   #2
FrankS
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On my darkroom door, I used a few layers of duct tape on the inside edge of the hinge edge, a small carpet rolled up and placed along the bottom edge by the floor, and I used a flexible black rubber strip, about 3 inches wide, screwed to the top and opening side of the door. This rubber stripping, bought at a hardware store, is normally used for garage doors, I think.
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Old 03-15-2007   #3
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A velvet curtain works well if you can get a good overlap, outside the door will help to keep down the dust and fly. Either on a permanent rail or a dowel with some cup-hooks to support each end. I have two my mother had in storage that hang one on top of the other.
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Old 03-15-2007   #4
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On my darkroom door I hung up a lightproof curtain on a wire about 20 cm above the door, so that it goes well beyond the dimensions of the door at the top and at the sides. Then, in addition to that, in darkroom sessions I hang a long strip of thick black plastic foil on top of the door before closing it, so that it hangs down on both sides (the type of foil used for garden ponds, with a thickness of 1mm). The door is 80cm wide. The foil is about 4m x 0,8m, cut so that one half is slightly wider than the door (2m x 0,9m), the other is slightly narrower (2m x 0,7m). The wider part goes to cover the side to which the door opens, so that it covers the edges; the narrower part goes to the other side so that the door opens and closes easily. That way the foil covers the edges of the door when the door is closed. Whatever light does creep by the foil is blocked by the curtain. If there's light that creeps under the door, I place a strip of foam on the floor during darkroom sessions.

It's kind of a layered approach, like in winter clothing - instead of having one fixed "perfect" layer that blocks all, I use two or three easily removable "imperfect" layers.
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Old 03-15-2007   #5
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I just hang two dark sheets over mine. I put hooks on the top edge of the door trim, and let the sheets hang down to the floor to cover the bottom as well. Works like a charm.

Last edited by 40oz : 03-15-2007 at 20:40.
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Old 03-15-2007   #6
Jeremy Z
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 40oz
I just hang two dark sheets over mine. I put hooks on the top edge of the door trim, and let the sheets hang down to the floor to cover the botom as well. Works like a charm.
I think I'm going to try that. It sounds simple and fool-resistant.

If I get king-size, I may even be able to get by with one sheet.

Thanks for the tips guys; I've got a lot to think about.
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Old 03-17-2007   #7
mike goldberg
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The layered approach makes sense to me...
Just think of the double curtains in some cameras.
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Old 03-17-2007   #8
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Remember that you darkroom only need to dark enough to prevent fogging. I have loaded film spirals in bathrooms frequently where after inside and acclimatised I can appreciable light coming in and even just about make out my hands. Paper is FAR less sensitive. My last darkroom appeared as leaky as a sieve until I did a paper test and realised it was fine! I had a nightmare of a garage door that was so rotten that the task was just not practical with me not being able to affect the fabric of the rented property by drilling hooks etc into walls.

A technique for doors that works great is to get the lightproof plastic or sheeting and tape strips to the inside of the door edge. Open the door past these flaps and as you close it, the door will naturally fold the strips inside the door/frame. This forms a light proof tongue and this works for the top and open side just great, you just figure out how deep the tongue needs to be. If the hinge side is leaky you can just tape that or use tape and lightproof sheet as all it needs do is be able to bed. The bottom is dead easy once you have the other measures in place. fold a sheet and palce it at the gap. as the other measures are taped in place, all one has to do is drop the sheet/towel in place and it is done.
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Old 03-18-2007   #9
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I wound up using a spare shower curtain, on top of a spare blanket that I put eyelets in. Then I put hooks above the door on the outside. It works like a charm, thanks for the tips!
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