Using insulated door indoors

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Old 03-06-17, 05:31 PM
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Using insulated door indoors

So we're finishing our basement right now, and there are two areas on the basement that will not be finished, or in other words, will not be insulated. They are the cold storage pantry, which is just a small pantry under the porch cap, and my A/V closet, which is basically a long skinny room, about 2.5 foot by 15 foot, right behind my screen wall. The inspector said that for that A/V closet, either the exterior wall needs to be insulated, or the interior wall needs to be. Well because I'm tight on space back there, I chose to insulate the interior wall. But apparently we are also then required to use insulated doors on that A/V closet, and the cold storage pantry, since they are un-insulated areas.

Ok, so my general contractor is installing doors downstairs this week. He has the two insulated doors to install, and they have weather thresholds on them, as any exterior door would. Now this is going to sound borderline too picky, but we're just not huge fans of the look of the threshold on the bottom of the door inside the house, giving it the look of an exterior door. Like it leads outside or something. I was wondering if there was a way we could do without the threshold, but instead attach a door sweep or some other weather stripping to the bottom of the door to create the seal to those areas instead. That way, the carpet could be installed to the underside of the door, and not have to step over the threshold whenever going in or out of those rooms.

My contractor is installing the doors, so I would probably have to just instruct him to remove the threshold so I can install a strip later, as I could easily remove the door to install it myself. Not sure if the inspector is going to have a problem with this approach, I doubt it, but is this something I could do?
 
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Old 03-06-17, 06:01 PM
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The threshold is more of a weather-keeper-outer more so than insulation. BUT you will be left with a gap that must be addressed. I would get with the inspector and let him know what your plans are so you can get with the contractor and make sure he removes the thresholds before he installs the doors. I would have the sweeps on hand as well. You may talk your contractor to install them for you But it is certainly DIY.
 
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Old 03-06-17, 07:00 PM
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Yes the door sweeps are definitely a DIY. In fact I would be doing the whole basement myself if it weren't for the fact I've got 4 kids and no time. I did two bedrooms a while ago and they turned out pretty good. I did text my contractor and he has no problem taking the thresholds off (the doors are here but not hung yet) I will probably wait to install the sweeps till later, as I don't want to pay him to install them, but he will be removing the thresholds and hanging the doors right after and don't him to wait for me to install the sweeps. (That being said, if I have the sweeps on hand he probably wouldn't charge me anything to throw them on lol)

He said basically all the inspector is really looking for is the seal around the door, so the threshold is not really an issue. But yeah maybe I will have him remove a small portion of the bottom of the jambs to adjust for the huge gap there will be. He'll probably be facepalming because he had to sawzall a portion out of the top of my rough opening on one of them because he ordered the door too tall lol.

Thanks for the response!
 
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Old 03-06-17, 07:55 PM
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You won't like a door that has a sweep that drags on the carpet... but if you don't mind a gap under the door and the inspector doesn't mind the gap... but I would think this would be a fire issue more than anything and he won't want any gap at the threshold.
 
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Old 03-06-17, 08:07 PM
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Yeah that's a good point, not sure I'd like that. Although it would be easy enough to take the sweep off later. But I'm curious, what kind of fire issues might this cause that wouldn't also apply in the rest of my rooms that have the same gap under the door?

BTW, I just measured, the gap from the bottom of the door, to the bottom of the jamb is the same distance as the gap on all the regular interior doors they are installing.
 
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Old 03-07-17, 04:21 AM
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I don't know, I'm just guessing... I have *NEVER* heard of anyone that required exterior doors to be installed to close off the uninsulated parts of a basement... so I'm just guessing the inspector has other reasons besides the temperature of the room in mind.

Insulating also means firestopping... so I'm guessing he might be requiring a 30 min door in that insulated wall... and removing the sill would void that rating. So you might want to ask a few questions before going too far.
 
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Old 03-07-17, 04:50 AM
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My inspectors require an insulated and weather stripped door between heated and any unconditioned spaces. So, if part of the basement is finished off and made into conditioned space they basically want an exterior door into the unfinished and un-heated area. They will allow using an interior door if you attach weather stripping around the perimeter and a sweep on the bottom and attach insulation to the door.
 
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Old 03-07-17, 04:59 AM
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I understand the exterior door that closes off the area under the porch... it should have a sill and threshold, imo.
 
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Old 03-07-17, 07:57 AM
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Why that area and not the other one? I've just never seen that on other cold storage rooms in my area.
 
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Old 03-07-17, 08:27 AM
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The area under the porch is the coldest of all basement areas because it has 3 exterior walls, the ceiling is exterior, its isolated from the heat of the rest of the basement and the door closes off any air flow. Its heat loss will always exceed it's heat gain in winter months.

If you have a long skinny room on an exterior wall that is also closed off, it may be cool, but it won't be half as cold as the room under the porch. The long skinny room shares a long, warm interior insulated wall, a warm insulated ceiling, and a basement wall that is uninsulated and above grade (which does have the potential to get cold). The basement wall below grade has the potential to frost to a certain depth, but the rest of the ground stays a constant 54F (depending where you live, of course) so basement walls an floor below grade will be warmer than the exterior temperature on most winter days. When you average up all that (assuming you have no conditioned air entering or leaving that sealed area... which is not really true) the temperature of that long skinny room will likely be somewhere in between room temperature and ground temperature. In other words, cool but not cold. The room under the porch will likely be cold in winter months.
 
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Old 03-07-17, 11:05 AM
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Yeah you are right, that cold storage gets VERY cold. Ok I understand. Yeah I think I'll leave the threshold on that one, and if the inspector will allow it, leave it off the other one. Thanks for the info.
 
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