Wood thresholds take quite a pounding when you think about it. There they lie across a door way and virtually everybody that passes over them will, at some time, hit them with something.
A nice threshold can add welcome to a house and indicate security but a damaged one can do just the opposite. So how can you protect your wood threshold?
By having the threshold cambered you can reduce the impact of objects hitting it. A shoe can deliver quite a damaging blow and the cumulative effect of people kicking a threshold can be very destructive, Cambering the threshold lowers the leading edge so that people walking across the threshold either miss it altogether or simply give it a glancing blow. Cambering also avoids much of the damage caused by objects being dragged into the house.
Coating can also protect your wood threshold. Some coats like paint or varnish can absorb blows and protect the underlying wood and others, like rubber, can offer even more protection. Although rubber sheeting has not been used extensively on domestic thresholds, it is becoming more popular as commercially produced thresholds try to find more cost effective production methods without affecting how long the product will last.
In many homes with fitted carpets thresholds are given added protection by having the fitted carpet butted right against them. This has the effect of lowering the apparent height of the threshold so that people don’t kick it so much – the same effect as cambering. Even without fitted carpets, a simple welcome mat or a rug against the threshold can make a contribution.
Thresholds tend to be left out of the normal house keeping routines and this neglect soon starts to show. By having a regular cleaning session thresholds will lose much of the accumulated dirt and grit that would otherwise be continually grinding away at the surface. There is also a psychological effect with cleaning. It has been well observed that things that are clean get treated better and a nice clean threshold benefits from this effect.
Maybe the best protection of all for wood thresholds is simply an awareness that they are there. Although you probably would not hesitate to warn someone to ‘mind the step’ how many times have you warned about the threshold? While you can’t be forever pointing thresholds out, maybe it would help if your wood thresholds were in contrasting colors to the floor they were on. It is much easier to miss something if you can see it.
Much damage to wood thresholds is caused by water penetration. By waterproofing your threshold you protect it from the weather and from accidental spillage. Sometimes it is enough to waterproof the top of the threshold but for the maximum effect it is much better to waterproof all surfaces of the threshold.
Protecting your wood thresholds can pay dividends in making your house look more inviting but it can also help you to protect your wood floors. After all, if your threshold is suffering from water damage and rough treatment, your floor may be having the same problems.