Need advice on threshold options

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Old 09-18-12, 01:05 PM
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Need advice on threshold options

Im laying hardwood flooring and need a solution to an exterior door threshold situation wanted to get some input from the community. See the attached drawing for a visual of the scenarios I describe below.

"A" is the current state. It's a side view of the entryway. The sill is at the same level of the subfloor. The previous threshold sat directly on the sill, and on the interior side it butted up against the old hardwood layer that I pulled up. (Yep, no expansion gap but dont blame me, it was like it when I bought the place. ) The new hardwood floor is 3/4", so its that high above the subfloor and currently stops a few inches in front of the door, but I can still bring it out as far as necessary.

"B" is what my original thought was - use a new threshold piece with a gap removed from the interior side that allows the hardwood floor to slide under it. The exterior side of the threshold would meet the sill at the bottom. The problem with getting an off-the-shelf threshold to do this is I can't find any tall enough. Max Ive found is 3/4", and I need a little more than that to have a lip over the hardwood floor layer. Do off-the-shelf thresholds that are at least 1 tall exist? If not then this solution requires making my own threshold from a board at least 1" thick. (Flooring is red oak, so I figure Id use the same for the threshold. I have the matching stain from the factory.) This option is what Id prefer to do, but while I have some limited woodworking skills Im not confident about making my own threshold.

"C" was the suggestion of a friend: Use a standard off-the-shelf threshold with a furring strip/shim underneath to bring the height of the threshold piece up to where it needs to be. I could stain/poly such a strip to match the threshold piece, but I hesitate to go this route because Im afraid the seam between the two would be too noticeable. If I do this, what type of wood is recommended for the furring strip?

"D" is my latest thought similar to C except, instead of having a strip of wood only under the threshold, I install a 3/4" thick board all the way to the edge of the sill. (Btw, the sill is about 10 in depth from exterior edge to the door.) This way I could still use a stock threshold. I could paint the board the same color as the sill currently is. There would still be a seam introduced, this time between the sill and the board, at the far left edge of the sill in the picture - but I think it may be less noticeable to have a seam there than it would between the threshold and furring strip as in "C". Plus here, I could fill the seam and paint it, something I could not do with the 2 stained pieces in "C". (Or, maybe I could somehow get a bullnose on the front of the board, like you see on stair steps.) If I do this, what kind of wood board is appropriate for this application?

So, just wanted to put this out there for comments, and/or suggestions for other possible ways of doing the threshold that I may not have thought of. Thanks,

- Bill
 
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  #2  
Old 09-18-12, 02:17 PM
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Are you adding a threshold? What happened to the original? What configuration was it in? It appears you plan on using a store bought interior threshold. Won't work. You should install a weather seal threshold, like the one that came off. Got any pictures of your existing situation?
http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...your-post.html
 
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Old 09-18-12, 02:23 PM
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If you have a table saw, and a source where you can obtain some 1" oak, I would go with "B". Making thresholds is really easy and usually they look best when you custom make them for your particular situation.

Oak stair treads are usually a good place to start. They are usually 1" thick and you can rip them down to size and make whatever you want.

Rip it to width.... play with the angle until you like the way it looks. Usually leaving a 3/8" square edge in front works, and since my blade will only raise 3" high, I will adjust the angle to make the longest bevel possible on the top edge. Sometimes you want to plan to stop the bevel just in front of the door. Then rabbet out the notch over your floor, being careful not to make the notch too deep. You'll want at least 1/4" of wood left on top as a lip.

Then sand the heck out of it and router or round all the edges.

I'm assuming you will apply some sort of aluminum bulb weatherstrip on top of this threshold to seal the door bottom?
 
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Old 09-18-12, 04:50 PM
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@chandler: Yes, I am adding a threshold after having removed the old one with the old flooring. The original looked like the image below. It had not been installed properly - it was sitting directly on the sill, with the interior beveled edge ripped off so there was a vertical edge which butted up against the hardwood inside. The top of the threshold was at the same level as the floor inside, instead of a bit higher as is necessary. So I can't go by what was there before in trying to do it correctly now. I am not planning on getting an interior threshold. In my attached drawing I was trying to represent an exterior threshold like the old one, and the one in the pic below, which is 3 or 4 inches wide. Re pics, I will try to post some later tonight.

@XSLeeper: Yes, I have several woodworking tools including a table saw and a router. So if I went with option "B" I figured I'd try to make something like the pic below. I was concerned about the bevel and rounded edges though, along the lengths of the exterior and interior edges. I can try using the table saw for the bevel on a practice piece, or I have a 45 degree chamfer bit for my router I could play around with. Wasn't sure about the best way to get the nice edges at the bottom though... is there a router bit that will do that?

Finding 1" oak boards has not been easy - thickest available at big box stores are 3/4", so was planning on checking out the local lumber yards - but that stair tread tip is great - those appear to be more readily available and just as you say, come in 1" widths. (And also might be perfect to use if I go withOption "D", since they already have a bullnose on one end.)

Re weatherstripping, yes I currently have a sweep on the bottom of the door (and stripping on the sides and top). The door is set way back in an enclosed porch, so I don't think moisture sealing is as important - there doesn't seem to be any water damage underneath where the old threshold was, at any rate.
 
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Old 09-18-12, 08:30 PM
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I would say that you would probably just round all those edges with an orbital sander. You definitely won't want to use a router or a 45 chamfer bit to make the shape you have pictured. And i'd suggest you use the table saw to make the bevel as long and shallow as possible... such as standing the board up on edge and running the board thru the table saw at a 22.5 degree angle. A shallow angle is less likely to be a tripping hazard.
 
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Old 09-19-12, 02:57 AM
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Good suggestions by XSleeper, but I just question using oak for an exterior threshold. It will turn black with weathering. My choice would be extruded aluminum in the design you need.
 
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Old 09-19-12, 09:02 AM
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I should mention the doorway is set 6 feet back in a covered porch, which is elevated 10 feet above ground level, and I live in a moderate climate. And the old threshold wasn't really showing signs of weathering (just traffic). I could always restain/poly the threshold if it wears.

Given all that, do you still think aluminum is necessary? (I respect your opinion, just wanted to make sure you were aware of those factors above.) I should also mention it's a 1916 Craftsman style house that I try to keep as period correct as possible.
 
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Old 09-19-12, 01:31 PM
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Well alrighty, then. We didn't know all that. You will be fine with the wooden threshold. I was assuming it would be taking a hit from water, which will turn oak black and partially ugly. I agree with X on the choice, and since you have tools to do it with, Rock and Roll. I always make my own interior thresholds and transitions. I hate the ones in the store. Too cheesy looking.
 
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Old 09-19-12, 05:08 PM
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Cool beans Larry. Do you happen to have any links/pics of your threshold designs, or other non-store-bought designs? I have no imagination myself so was going to pretty much mimic that picture above, other than making longer bevels as X suggested.
 
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Old 09-20-12, 03:29 AM
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That's exactly what I do. I just make a profile in my mind with each application and replicate it. Quite often there no two alike. With oak, make your cuts deliberate and as quick as possible, as your blade will burn if you hesitate. One more safety tip on your table saw. I use the nylon zero clearance inserts which help a great deal when cutting thinner materials, so check into that for your saw. I have one for 90 degree cuts and use a wider open throat for bevels or dadoes.
 
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