How to Design a Custom Door Threshold

  • 4-8 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 100-300
What You'll Need
Tape measure
Paint/ stain
Cordless drill
Pry bar
Wood shims as needed
Industrial adhesive
Caulk and caulk gun
New threshold
Clean up materials

A door threshold is often overlooked, but it’s an important element of your home. It helps to keep your home from being drafty, as well as forms a barrier to pests and mold. A poorly installed threshold, or one that is worn, can lead to structural damage. You don’t need to settle for pre-designed thresholds. Here’s a way you can build your own in just a few hours.

Step 1 - Remove Existing Threshold

Most likely you are replacing your old door threshold because it has worn out. This threshold performs a valuable service for your home by keeping the cold air out in the winter months and the warm air outside during the summer. These seals can go bad, however, so if they need to be replaced, it is a good opportunity to install a new one of your personal design. This can add an extra personal touch to your home right at the entryway. Since most first impressions are made right there, it is the perfect place for that personal touch. Removing the old threshold is the first step, and it gives you an idea of what you need in order to replace it. Be sure to keep it handy, as its measurements and size will help in the long run when you go looking for a new one.

Step 2 - Measure the Area

This is another area in which hanging on to the existing threshold can come in handy. It already has the measurements needed. Sometimes the old one will be too badly damaged to get a measurement. If this is the case just measure the floor where the threshold was. You want to make sure you measure the length, width, and height.

Step 3 - Select the Threshold Material

Aluminum and vinyl are common, but boring, if you are looking for a custom look, solid wood is often a good choice. These are often made of red oak and can easily be adjusted to fit your needs.

Step 4 - Cut New Threshold

When choosing to install a new wooden threshold you can paint or stain it to match the existing floors in the area. This offers an element that aluminum or vinyl does not. Be sure to cut the threshold after purchase in order to fit the area needed. Many wooden thresholds often come pre-cut to fit common sized doors.

Step 5 - Install New Threshold

Most wood thresholds are easily installed either with industrial adhesives or with traditional screws or nails. Industrial adhesives actually work best because they help to provide a secure seal necessary to keep out drafts. They also limit visible fasteners and help keep that personal touch in order. When installing any kind of new threshold, position it so that the edge facing the outside of the home has a slight slope angled away from the house. This prevents water from getting in the house.

Step 6 - Test the Fit

Insert wood shims as necessary beneath the threshold in order to assure a tight seal. Also test-fit the door, adjusting the bottom sweep on the door for a proper fit. If the seal is too tight, however, the door may not close properly. Apply caulk at the points where the threshold meets the jambs.

Step 7 - Paint or Stain Again

If necessary, a second coat of stain will help match the flooring as well as prevent the threshold from deteriorating due to weather.