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The threshold is an essential component of any home’s design. These decorative yet functional strips of wood or metal are installed at the bottom of the exterior or interior door frames. Thresholds can wear down over time from the constant foot traffic. This guide teaches you the basics of door threshold replacement for interior and exterior doorways and how to replace them with new models.
Remove the Old Exterior Threshold
What is a threshold for an exterior door useful for? These wood or metal strips at the doorway restrict air flow coming in or going out of the home. They also help keep bugs out of your home.
The first task of exterior door threshold replacement is to remove the existing threshold from your door and prepare the area for the new one. These steps show how to remove a door threshold from an exterior door.
- Cut the old threshold with a back saw or a reciprocating saw. To cut a metal threshold, use tin snips and a saw equipped with a metal-cutting blade. Be careful not to accidentally saw into the flooring.
- Dislodge the threshold pieces with a pry bar.
- Remove any weather stripping or caulk on the threshold.
- Clean the area thoroughly with a solution of vinegar and baking soda. Make sure the site where you will replace a door threshold is free of debris and residue.
Prepare the New Exterior Threshold
The next task before you’ll replace an exterior door threshold is to carefully measure the doorway to ensure a good and secure fit.
- Measure the space between the outside edges of the door casing.
- The new threshold should have a similar profile to your old threshold and be 1- to 2-inches longer than the length of the doorway so that you can trim it for an exact fit.
- Use a marker or pen to mark where the exterior door threshold replacement will go based on your measurements.
- The threshold will have to have notches on each side to fit around the door jambs. Use a carpenter’s square to mark perfect right angles for these notches.
- Cut the new threshold to fit with a jigsaw or circular saw. Adjust and perfect the cuts with a hand saw if necessary.
Install the Exterior Threshold
Test the fit of what you’ll use to replace the exterior door threshold. If it prevents the door from closing comfortably, you can use a plane to lower the threshold.
- Use a caulk gun to lay a bead of caulk along what will be the back edge of the threshold.
- Slide the threshold underneath the doorstops and position the notches cut to fit around the door jambs. Tap it snugly into position using a rubber mallet. The threshold should slope slightly away from your home so that water will not pool at your doorway.
- Secure the wood threshold with collated flooring nails.
- If the new threshold requires screws, use a power drill and bit to create three to four holes along the length of the threshold. Drill wood screws into the pre-made holes to attach the threshold into position.
- If your new threshold does not require screws or you are installing it onto concrete slab, secure it with construction adhesive that is approved for use with both the threshold material and the floor surface material.
- Run a bead of caulk between the threshold and each doorstop.
Replacing an Interior Threshold
What is a threshold for an interior door useful for? Interior thresholds or transition strips cover floorboard edges that end at a door. Interior thresholds create transitions from one type of flooring material in a room to another.
Most interior thresholds are made from wood, though you also can buy laminated wood, tile, plastic, marble or solid-surface versions similar to solid-surface countertops. No matter the material, interior thresholds are both decorative and functional as they smooth the way from room to room. Like exterior thresholds, interior thresholds can undergo wear and tear from foot traffic, which means you’ll need to replace the door threshold when it wears down.
Remove the Old Interior Threshold
The process of how to remove a door threshold for an interior doorway starts with removing the old threshold that’s worn.
- If the doorstops are undercut but the jambs are not, use a claw hammer and prybar to remove the nails from the threshold.
- Hammer or chisel the threshold out from under the doorstops.
- If the door jambs are undercut to accommodate the threshold, saw the threshold into two pieces.
- Remove each piece separately.
Tip: Use a wet tile saw to cut tile or marble thresholds. Dislodge the threshold with a mallet and chisel.
Prepare the New Interior Threshold
- Carefully measure the doorway for the new threshold as you would for an exterior door threshold.
- Mark the new threshold based on your measurements.
- If necessary, undercut the doorstops and door jambs to fit the threshold. For some interior threshold materials, it may be easier to undercut the door jambs than to cut notches into the threshold.
- Cut the threshold to length.
Install the New Interior Threshold
After removing the old threshold and measuring the doorway, the next task is to replace the interior door threshold.
To install a wood threshold onto wood or carpeted floors:
- Pre-drill pilot holes into the threshold.
- Position the threshold underneath the doorstops. Use a rubber mallet to tap it snugly into place if needed.
- Nail the threshold to the floor with collated flooring nails.
- Alternatively, countersink the threshold and fasten it with countersunk wood screws.
To install a tile, marble or solid-surface threshold or to replace a door threshold onto tile or masonry floors:
- Use adhesive to securely replace the interior door threshold.
- Make sure the adhesive you choose is approved for use with both the threshold material and the floor material. Contact cement creates a strong, durable bond, but it won’t allow you to reposition the threshold after you set it and apply pressure. Other types of adhesives will allow you to adjust the threshold slightly once placed.
Knowing how to remove and replace a threshold is a DIY task that pays off over time. Replacing a threshold for an exterior doorway makes your home more energy efficient and adds to its appearance. Installing a new threshold for an interior doorway enhances a room’s design. Ready to get the supplies you need for a door threshold replacement project? Download The Home Depot Mobile App and check out the options for your next DIY flooring project.