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  1. #1
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    Jun 2004
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    Best replacement woods for door thresholds, window mantles etc?

    I'm closing on a HUD home the end of this month in need of quite a few repairs, replacements and updates as par for the course. I'm doing everything DIY I can due to extremely limited LTD income.

    A few wood related things in need of attention are;
    - Replacing deteriorated wooden exterior door thresholds (the door just needs refinishing)
    - Replacing deteriorated wooden window mantles
    - Replacing some exterior door frame trim that has rotted around the bottom 3-6" on a few west facing rear doors

    I wanted to get some opinions on the best woods for longevity however its a 20 something year old house.

    My search regarding "thresholds" came up with on thread related to replacing a whole exterior door and frame assembly which was going to require a new threshold and a pre-made fiberglass threshold was mentioned. I never thought about it before but I guess the local Lowes and Home Depots would carry ready to install thresholds since they sell the door/frame assemblies.

    I'm guessing a pre-made one might be already sealed and weather protected which would save me the time of cutting and finishing one with all the drying time involved.

    Any thoughts or recommendations on the subject? Do they make ready to install window thresholds as well (of course with the need to cut to size)?

  2. #2
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    Mar 2002
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    Napa Valley, California, USA.
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    Hi Scooter---

    First, some terminology. You mention a door threshold. Just so we're clear, there is something called a "sill" and something else called a "threshold": In the old days, doors commonly had a wood sill, a thick, sloping piece of wood under the door, serving to drain water to the exterior, much like a window sill. On top of the sill, there would be a threshold, a separate piece that does two things: 1)form a seal of sorts between the door and sill, and 2)cover the seam between flooring and sill.

    Typically, the sill extends under the door frame (jamb) and is difficult to remove or replace without pulling out the entire door frame assembly. The threshold, on the other hand, is typically installed after the door, and is removable without disturbing the rest of the assembly. Which are you trying to replace?

    If it's threshold only, they can be purchased at any home improvement supplier, in wood , aluminum (probably the most common), and brass. Aluminum (much cheaper than brass) is more rot-proof than wood. A sill can be replaced, too, of course, but with more effort. These are also available in aluminum. Look through the Pemko catalog and see if there is something that will work for you:

    http://www.pemko.com

    You mention "window mantles." Do mean window sill? (The sill is the sloped piece extending across the window at the bottom). These can be difficult to replace (often involving removing the whole window assembly). Sometimes is more efficient to repair with an epoxy system like:

    http://www.systemthree.com/mws_wood_restoration.asp

    "Door frame trim"---if it's only the trim, just remove and replace. If it's the door jamb, then you're either replacing it and re-hanging the door, or repairing with a patch of wood and/or an epoxy repair system. Might be a good time to replace the whole door and frame, if the budget allows.

    Species: White oak makes a serviceable sill or threshold. Door jambs are made from many species, sometimes chemically treated to resist rot. Pine and fir are common, but not particularly rot-resistant without some chemical help.

    ---Jerry

  3. #3
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    Jun 2004
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    Edmond, Oklahoma.
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    Thank you Jerry for an informative answer to my question.

    Regarding correct terminology as defined and in context to your question I don't know how to categorize either.

    The words "sill" and "threshold" we're taken straight off the inspectors report as needing replacement. There were no sloping elements to either and no metal or fiberglass parts near, on or apear to be missing from the doorway.

    It is possibly imprtant to note that it is a ranch style house with roof overhangs extending all around including doorways and windows. I'm not sure that the sloping element is a required element here.

    In both cases (windows and doorway) there appears to be a single piece of wood spanning the base of each extending through from interior to exterior. I would post pics if I could now but I can't get back into the house until after closing May 31st.

  4. #4
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    Aug 2011
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    East Central Texas
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    May 31 isn't that far away. Please post pictures of the areas that concern you.
    I've never seen a flat sill in a door frame, so something is wrong there. Windows that don't open sometimes have flat sills, and are usually made of aluminum, (and 20 years ago, they were what they were. Not up to today's standards and not much better than stick built windows.

    the rot on the bottom of both the door and the windows is a sign that the top of the window and door frame are not sealed or incorrectly sealed against the weather.

    You would be well off (in my opinion), to pull each frame, one at a time and repair it correctly, which includes sealing with the correct membrane, and removing any rot around the installation.

    You'll also want to use a minimally expanding foam spray insulation once you put the frames back in the holes.

    Pictures..... We NEED Pictures!

  5. #5
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    Edmond, Oklahoma.
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    Yes pictures would be a good idea. I can't really get inside the house until after closing but plan to head out there after closing to take lots of measurements regarding other refurb issues. I'll bring a camera and get some pics then.

    I was going off memory and probably should have said I did not notice any perceivable sloping. All the other houses I have lived in had all brick surrounding the window frame on the outside and the wood sill was only on the inside. I don't recall noticing any houses built after the 1960's that had wooden sills running all the way under the window frame inside and out.

    The exterior paint is somewhat deteriorated and there is no rain guttering on the house. Both may have contributed to some of the lower wood rot on the door trim or perhaps a pet dog scratched some of the paint off first that exposed bare wood to water. The house is definitely not in a flood zone but all off the trim rot is much worse at the bottom and recedes as it goes up. I think all of it remains under a six inch line from the base. Since the roof look fairly new I'm guessing perhaps the guttering was removed while re-roofing. I will definitely be adding guttering after painting the exterior.

  6. #6
    Hello Scooter! Pictures may be helpful... I guess the best thing you can do to your door or windows to improve its appeal is putting shutters. You can put interior or exterior shutters if you desire since your problem is only your windows and doors. I hope this site will be helpful. I got you a link..

    http://www.decorativeshutters.com/

  7. #7
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    Nov 2012
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    Santa Ana
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    Thanks Jerry for giving a clear definition of each item. It provides a clear picture of what should be done. I think its better to take help from professional interior designers for these things.

  8. #8
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    Nov 2012
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    North Hills, CA
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    Thanks Jerry for that informative post. It was definitely loaded with valuable information about the subject while the link you provided was very useful too. Thanks again.

  9. #9
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    Oct 2005
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    Oklahoma City.
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    Sorry it has taken me like ten and half months to get some pics up as requested for this thread I started. I actually took the pics back in May last year but things have been way too hectic.

    Although I took my terminology off the inspector's report on the house it appears it was not consistent with industry standards.

    I'm not sure if it is a regional thing but growing up everyone one I knew referred to the entire wooden structure under the door and typically wider than the door frame (interior to exterior width) as the "threshold". After finding a rather large rat snake in my house one afternoon I headed off to Lowes to pick up actual door thresholds to deny wild life access and installed them over concrete under the back two doors.

    Likewise we interchangeably referred to the wooden ledge under the interior of windows as window sills or mantles. From the responses I got it definitely sounded like the repair issues some of you described involved the exterior of the bottom of the window and perhaps shared or were secured to structural components of the window frame/housing.

    Although I picked up a threshold for the front door, the wooden structure under where a front door threshold should mount is too torn up and uneven to properly mount a real threshold. I have a temporary barrier in place until I rebuild whatever the wooden structure where the threshold should mount is replaced.

    So enough blabbering it's time to clear everything up with the pictures.

    Front Door looking in web.jpgFront door inside view 1.jpgFront door 2 web.jpgInterior window missing mantle or window sill web.jpg

    PS I head back to the house to work tomorrow morning till Friday with no internet so I will check back in Friday.

    I pretty much have the repairs planned out but at least the pics can clear up the confusion I hope.

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