The Final Stretch! Replacing the Door Sill/Threshold
August 3, 2011
Continued from: Door Sill/Threshold Replacement Post 1
Day 3: Elapsed time 4 hours
This project was quite an undertaking. I should have expected it though, projects done on old homes never go as planned. Lesson learned again.
So the last step in the “This Old House” directions is to:
Squirt expanding foam sealant under the threshold to hold it in place and plug any air gaps. Immediately put the toe kick up under the flashing and tight against the underside of the threshold, and screw it to the sub sill. Run a bead of sealant between the threshold and each door stop. Finally, protect the wood with deck paint or several coats of spar varnish.
We are almost there. My dad ripped down a piece of pressure treated wood to use as the toe kick. He dropped of the toe kick and the finished threshold he made out of a white oak board. He planned and sanded the board to make the angle on each side. The thresholds they sell at Home Depot and Fingerle are too short and too thick (of course), so he had to make a custom piece.
Geoff popped the toe kick into place and shimmed it level and tight to the sill. He then drilled three holes (2″ each from each jam and one in the center) 1″ from the sill’s edge. He used a 1/2″ countersink bit after drilling the holes so that we could hide the screws with oak pegs my Dad supplied. This step actually went fairly smoothly. He used 3.5″ screws so that they would go all the way through the 2.5″ thick sill and into the toe kick. When drilling he made sure to use a large bit. The screws were very long and the oak is a dense wood that does not have very much give. He needed to drilled holes to be just large enough to leave ample wood for the threads to catch but to allow the screw to go in smoothly without too much resistance.
3, 3.5″ deck screws
3 1/2″ oak plugs
1/2″ counter sink bit
4″ drill bit
I placed the old threshold over the custom planed oak board my Dad made. I traced the profile of the molding onto the new board and used a coping saw to cut out the shape. Refer to my crown molding post for notes and video on how to use a coping saw.
We put the coped threshold down and covered it with the brass threshold that makes a tight seal with the copper flashing on the bottom of the doors. Geoff pre-drilled holes through the threshold and into sill to attach the metal piece with brass screws…..We had everything screwed in tight when we realized that the doors wouldn’t close!!!!
There was still a small amount of concrete below the sill that had raised the right side of the sill 1/4″ above level. So the door or the left close smoothly and tightly, and the door and the right wouldn’t close at all. For whatever reason we thought it would be easiest to sand down the sill 1/4″ (I don’t know what we were thinking) After 1.5 hours of trying that, we took the right door off it’s hinges, removed the copper flashing from the bottom and sanded it down 1/8″ in about 15 minutes. The combination of the sanded sill and the sanded door added up to just enough to have the door close.
We reassembled everything and all that’s left is to foam, caulk and paint. It has been very humid and raining the last few days so I am waiting for another dry spell to finish these last few steps.
Day 4: 1 Hour
So, the weather dried up a bit and I was able to finish the threshold/sill. I went back and forth between painting and staining. I decided to go with stain and poly because the white oak has a really beautiful grain and it will not chip or crack like paint. There was a more prep and more steps but it’s looking realy good.
Unfortunately we are suffering from the problem of “now that I’ve fixed X, Y looks like shit.” It’s the whole give a mouse a cookie syndrome. You think you’re just helping out a hungry murine friend until you realize you’ve involved yoursel in a whole series of tasks to get the job done.
This is how it went for us:
The screen doors were ripped and flaking paint. Hmmm, I’ll just sand, fill and paint the door and replace the screens. NBD.
Oh, now the threshold/sill look horrible next to the freshly painted screen doors. The sill is rotting and needs to be replaced. Ok I’ll replace the sill.
Wow that was alot of work, but at least the sill will last 100 more yeats. Wait….now the french doors look terrible. Dull brown paint, next to the gleaming sill and the crisp doors…..
Guess I will have to refinish the french doors…..ugghh
For now, see the pictures of the Threshold/Sill below.
I sanded it down with 180 and the 220 grit sand paper.
I followed with 2 coats of minwax red mahogany oil based stain. Make sure to use a high quaily brush made for stain and poly. Cleans up with paint thinner/mineral spirits.
I brushed the stain on, let it sit for 15 mintues and wiped off the excess with paper towl.
4-6 hours between coats.
I follwed it 2 coats of satin based polyurathene intended for outdoor use. I like the satin look more than the gloss or high gloss poly.
|still drying in this photo|
Tape and caulk where the sill meets the jam. Foam gap under sill.
Replace the deck boards.
Put the screen doors back up.