How To Remove A Threshold

  • 2-4 hours
  • Beginner
  • 10-55
What You'll Need
Small chisel to expose nail heads
Larger chisel to pry the threshold up
Cleaning materials

Removing a threshold is a very simple task that can turn into a nightmare. Most thresholds are simply installed and just as simply removed, whereas others have been in place so long and repaired and adjusted so many times that it is difficult to know what is holding them in place.

Step 1 – Survey

As much as you might want to simply lever the threshold off the floor as quickly as possible that is not a good idea unless you are not bothered about damage to the floor. First of all you should clean up the top surface of the threshold with sandpaper and try to work out whether it is held down by screws or nails.

Step 2 – Unscrew

If you identify screws, remove them using the right size and type of screw driver. Since the screws may be very hard to remove it is important that the screwdriver blade is square or the right size and type of cross head. For very stubborn screws a heavy downward pressure can help as can a sharp tap with a small hammer.

Step 3 – Survey Again

If the screws have been removed but the threshold will not lift off the floor, give the upper surface another going over with the coarse glass paper and see if there are other screws or nails that you haven’t spotted.

Step 4 – Remove Any Nails

Nails can be removed by cutting away some of the wood that surrounds them so that you can get a grip on them.

Step 5 – A Little Brute Force

There should not be many nails so even if you can’t remove them it should be possible to see some movement in the threshold. If there isn’t any movement the chances are that the threshold is held by adhesive.

Step 6 – If the Threshold Is Deep Enough

It might be possible to put some screws into the threshold just far enough so that they don’t go all the way through but do give you something to get a grip on to pull it off the floor using a claw hammer or a pair of pincers.

Step 7 – If All Else Fails

If the threshold is still fixed to the floor and you have removed all the screws and nails you now need to try to force something between the threshold and the floor. A chisel is often the first choice but it must be used carefully to avoid damage to the floor. The best place to start is at either end of the threshold and it really is just a matter of trying to tap the chisel between the two surfaces until they part.

Step 8 – Cleaning Up

If you have had to resort to brute force or even if you haven’t, there will be a very clear accumulation of dirt that shows where the threshold was. This will usually clean up with soapy water and a scrubbing brush. If there are adhesive residues, these will require more robust treatment but should clean off quite well.