Four years ago I replaced the rotten threshold of my back door. I took
a plank from a pallet, sawed and planed it to fit, caulked, applied two
coats of Thompson's sealer, and painted.
Before long, the wood was getting wet. It soon rotted.
What's a better way to make a threshold?
Plus, take the door frame out and reinstall it properly with flashing
and sealing in the appropriate places. Seen a lot of rotted thresholds
in my life, and almost all were due to ponding water from outside,
because whoever added the porch didn't hold it down an inch or two like
you are supposed to, and didn't seal or flash under it. (rim joist right
under door in basement usually has visible water marks.) Most of the
other rotten thresholds were from water entering at top or sides of door
frame, traveling down the gap between jamb and rough opening, and
ponding on subfloor under threshold.
As Keith notes- best plan is to make it stay dry. chances are you
are rotting out the nearby sill 7 god-knows-what-else. And you're
throwing money away with Thompson's.
Then I'd make it out of Mahogany, Ipe, or even PT Yellow pine.
[I made one 25 yrs ago from whatever red mahogany-like wood was found
in an old castro-convertible sofabed- It still looks like new.
Most [domestic] pallets are made from twisted elm. Hard stuff to
break, but not known for its decay-resistance. Come to think of
it, a friend worked in a BeechNut factory in the 60s. All the gum
came from south America and was on Mahogany pallets or in mahogany
boxes-- lots of the boards were 5/4x12- but never more than 3-4' long.
Me made a lot of bowls and trinkets with it, though. I doubt you'll
find mahogany pallets these days.
If you like the wet-wood look that you get with Thompsons- mix Boiled
Linseed oil & Turpentine 50/50 & apply until it will take no more.
Any rain that hits the storm door ends up on the sill. I have kept it
dry by cutting open a plastic bag and taping it inside the door along
the bottom so that when the door closes the skirt drapes over the sill.
That's not a permanent solution.
The threshold is 7" above a concrete step. When I replaced the
threshold, I replaced the sill and put on a pressure-treated fascia
board with an airspace behind it to help keep moisture from reaching the
I knew that the threshold, unlike the fascia board, would be exposed to
standing water. I thought wet pressure-treated wood could cause rotting
in adjacent wood. Swelling and freezing could also cause damage. Metal
flashing didn't seem feasible, so I tried paint over a penetrating
sealer. I don't know if it could work with the right wood, the right
sealer, and the right paint.
Windows and doors these days are installed with drain pans at the
bottom. These are sometimes plastic membranes like SealRite, IIRC. Go
to web sites for the better manufacturers, typically JeldWen, and
review the installation instructions. Alternate systems of drain pans
can be fabricated from copper flashing along with plastic window
screen to permit moisture flow, a method I have used successfully. The
copper also discourages growth of nasties that rot the wood.
First, however, rebuild your structure to a proper level of soundness
with treated lumber, not the cheap wet stuff used for for backyard
storage sheds. The better boards are southern yellow pine, ACQ treated
for example. Then when you have a decent rough opening, install the
frame and door, finally dealing with the exposure to casual water by
using a storm door or adding a portico.
That could be a practical solution for me. What sort of trim should I
look for? Is it thick like a board?
I want to keep moisture from penetrating at all. Pressure-treated wood
wouldn't rot, but moisture penetration could still cause trouble.
Thompson's in the kind of wood I used didn't work. Now I'd be reluctant
to trust Thompson's in any kind of wood.
Figuring out how to keep the water out is the best solution.
I've used pieces of that composite 5/4" deck board for various things
where I though it may get wet. As another posted mentioned cedar and
redwood are good choices.
The wood from a pallet is the cheapest low grade wood you can find.
Probably pine. You leave a piece of untreated pine wet for a year and
it's be rotten to mush.
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