Home Repair: How To Fix Common Threshold Problems

Steps and instructions for repairing and fixing threshold that are rotten or damaged from weather, insects and wear. Learn how to replace a threshold to keep out the rain, cold, sleet and snow.

Thresholds can rot away from weather, from insects, and ones made from non-wood materials can become bad simply from wear. And if the damage or rot extends beyond or beneath the threshold this can be a very difficult problem to fix.

If your threshold is bad chances are the weather has gotten to the materials under, beside, and beneath the threshold. Many homes have concrete steps flush against the house. There is generally wood behind those concrete steps and removing all that rotten wood is very difficult.

The first step in repairing a bad threshold is getting the damaged one out of the way. To do this you will need a circular saw with a good blade. It would be best to use a carbide blade because you might encounter a nail or two while making your cuts. One each side of the threshold as close to the door frame as possible make about a half inch cut. You do not want to cut too deeply. You only want to cut through the threshold nothing else.

Once you have made the cuts on both sides put a pry bar under the threshold and gently pry it loose and remove it. You will have two pieces left on both sides. They may come out easily or you may have to use a pry bar to get them loose from the nail(s) holding them. Be very careful though especially if you are working on a very old frame. You could end up splitting your door frame and then you would have a real problem. You might have to make some cuts with a wood chisel and chisel the piece away. If there is a gap at the door jamb you might be able to take a hacksaw blade and slip it in the crack and saw the nails.

Now that the threshold is removed you can examine the rest of the surface to tell whether the problem is more severe than just replacing a threshold. We will assume it is only a threshold needing replacing so you will take the largest piece of the threshold with you to your local lumberyard and have them help you find the proper replacement. Be sure to measure the exact width of the door.

When you get your threshold home you will then have to test it to see if it fits properly. You might have to make an adjustment to it so it will slide under the jamb.

Now once you have done this and you know your threshold will fit you will have to shim it so it lies properly and water runs out instead of in. Because of the angle of the threshold you cannot always shim it once in place so it is easier to shim it before you place it in position.

Your shims should be no more than 1 ½ to 2 inches in width and it will probably take a few tries to get the right thickness. If you are working with a fairly level house you might get by with one shim running the length of the threshold. If not you will have to vary the thickness of your shims across the length. You will also need some shims under the outside edge for a tight fit so get those cut and ready also. Make sure the shims are not too big. Once you have it the way you need it apply some quality construction adhesive to it and get a block of wood to put against the threshold and lightly tap it into place. Now you will drill four holes across the length of the threshold and using galvanized finishing nails the same size as your pre-drilled holes nail the threshold down.

This should now end your threshold problems.

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