If you’ve ever looked at the parts of an exterior door, especially at its threshold, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s the part that woodworkers and do-it-yourselfers usually mess up. It’s usually the very last thing you see when you look at the door, so it deserves more attention than it normally receives. While there are many things that can go wrong with this crucial component of the doorway, the most common is probably the “backlift”. So in this article I’m going to show you what parts of a door threshold should you keep, and which parts of the door need to be replaced.
The backlift is the heavy part of a door that rests on the frame. Its job is to keep the door handle closed so that the wood rot doesn’t compromise the rest of the door. On a new door, the wood rot should have started pretty good before your door was installed. If it hasn’t, then the backlift has to be adjusted. Adjusting the backlift involves lifting and lowering the door handle in order to make sure that the wood rot doesn’t compromise the integrity of the door.
There are two basic parts that determine how much effort is required to properly adjust the backlift. The first is the door handle. The larger the door handle, the less effort is required to lift the door. This is because as you can imagine, a larger door handle exerts a greater force on the door itself, exerting a larger downward pressure. This works against the wood rot, since it tries to live with the little bit of downward pressure that the door is exerting. This little bit of pressure makes it more likely for the wood rot to start.
However, as you may also know, there are other things that contribute to the onset of wood rot, and these are beyond the scope of this article. What you can do, though, is get the backlift operating at the correct angle. That is, if you want to keep your door threshold level and clean. In order to achieve this, you want the knob to lift and lower as necessary. When the knob starts to rise, the backlift must be adjusted. Likewise, when the knob goes down, the backlift has to be adjusted.
The reason this is so important is that it means that there is a limit to the amount of wood rot that can take place. If the threshold is too low, some or all of the energy that the knob uses will be wasted. If the threshold is too high, the wood rot will simply continue moving upward, making the problem worse. Thus, one has to strike a balance between the two. This is something that is best done by consulting an expert, or by taking advantage of a knob that has been designed to be effective within certain parameters.
Beyond the question of wood rot, there are a couple of other issues with high thresholds. For starters, it is possible that the structure of the threshold could be in poor condition, and that the door is coming loose on its hinges. As with the rot issue, this requires a professional inspection to be totally sure that the problem is beyond repair. However, there is a potential for damage to the door itself, so this should be taken into account as well.
Finally, one needs to recognize that the parts of a door threshold can vary according to the type of door. There are some that open inward, like pocket doors or French doors. Other doors open outward (like the majority of patio doors), and this means that there are different parts that will need to be addressed.
To address all of the issues that you have identified, you need to consider each part individually. Some of them will be more important than others. For example, the threshold may simply need to be shimmed to get rid of snow, and then painted to match your home. Other components may be more complicated, like internal hinges or internal tracks, and if these pieces are damaged, they will need to be replaced.