Thresholds are a necessary part of a proper door installation. They serve to keep out moisture, insects, drafts, and other pollutants and irritants from your home. The threshold is the sloping piece of metal, wood, or combination of the two that spans the door at the bottom. It sits on top of the doorsill, which is a piece of wood that sits on the subfloor across the door opening and serves the same purpose as a windowsill.
As time goes on, exposed to the weather and heavy foot traffic, thresholds rot or wear out and need to be replaced. Replacing a threshold is a relatively straightforward task for the do-it-yourselfer.
There are at least six different styles of thresholds for residential use.
- Aluminum/vinyl. This is a threshold made of aluminum having a soft vinyl strip on top that serves as weather stripping for the bottom of the door.
- Frost break. This style of threshold is also made from aluminum and wood and serves to prevent moisture and freeze damage to the finish floor and subfloor.
- Adjustable. This threshold is designed to allow a height adjustment to accommodate varying heights from the bottom of the door to the finish floor.
- Solid wood. This simple threshold is just what the name implies-a solid wooden plank.
- Saddle style. This is an all-aluminum threshold that has a double taper, one on each side.
- Bumper style. This threshold has a taper on one side and a round or bullnose edge on the other.
- Examine your door opening carefully. You may need, or want, to remove the door stops on both sides of the door opening. Using a sharp-bladed small pry bar, carefully pry the stops away from the jamb. Remove the nails in the stops and set the stops aside.
- Remove the nails or screws securing the threshold to the sill.
- Cut across the width of the threshold in the center two times.
- Remove the cut piece by prying it up and out.
- Now, remove both remaining threshold ends by tapping them out of place with a hammer and block of wood.
- Clean thoroughly underneath the old threshold.
- Measure the distance across the door opening.
- Cut the new threshold with the proper saw.
- If you did not remove the doorstops, cut notches in the ends of the threshold with a jigsaw and wood chisel. If it is aluminum, use a file to trim up the new notches.
- Apply at least two beads of silicone caulk or a building adhesive like Liquid Nails on the bottom side of the new threshold.
- Tap the new threshold into place. Drill pilot holes and set the threshold with finishing nails or screws.
- Clean up all excess adhesive with the proper solvent or cleaner.
If you do not have the proper size drill bit for pilot holes, you can make your own. Simply flatten the point of one size smaller finishing nail than the one you are going to use. Chuck that nail up in your drill and you have a ready-made pilot bit.
Measure the distance between the bottom of your door and the finish floor. Then shop for the correct type of threshold to seal that gap, taking into account your flooring type and the finish you desire.
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