Video: How to Position Door Threshold on Floor

door, jamb, threshold

Hi. This is Nathan Harrison for FineRemodel.com. Well, you’re interested in finding out how do decide where to put a threshold. But, of course, as usual, I can’t just give you a straight answer, I have to teach a little history first.

So, let’s start with this picture of an ancient threshold. Obviously at the joint between 2 rooms, and it’s there to support these very large slabs which would be supporting the header, which, of course, would be supporting the roof.

Now, actually, this would not have been called a threshold. And that’s because the concept of the threshold arose later or at least in a very different context.

Here’s what I mean. The work threshold means, the things which hold in the threshings. So we have a society that grows grain. They get the seed heads away from the grain and what’s left is the chaff, or the threshings.

Then they decided, you know what? We could use these threshings to keep us from having to walk around on our damp, dirt floors…cause it’s just not fun walking around on a damp, dirt floor and they baby crawling around on that doesn’t make us feel good, so let’s take all this dry chaff and just put it on the floor.

Well, then over time, they found that as they stomped in and out of the door, they tracked a lot of it out into the yard, so they needed something to hold it in. So, let’s put this piece of wood to keep the threshings from getting out of house. And it was called the thresh-hold. It would have probably been a lot like this even though this is, of course, tile on both sides.

Nowadays, we don’t have problems with damp, dirt floors. We have a problem with dissimilar floor materials that we need to cause to meet one another gracefully. Of course, the most obvious place to have the joint between the 2 floor materials is at a doorway. And so we’ve taken up that term “threshold” to describe the place where they meet.

So, the question is, where exactly to we locate this threshold? The most common mistake is to put it between the 2 nearest points. So, you’d run it right here in the center from the nearest points in the center of the jamb to one another.

Now, the reason this is wrong is that when this door is shut, and you’re standing inside the room to the right, over here, you’re going to be able to see the floor material of the other room.

And that, in fact, is the driving concern in how to place a threshold. With the door shut, neither floor material should be seen from the opposite side.

So, in this case, we want the threshold to run exactly halfway under the door, right there.

Now, this brings up a story of a mistake I made that I’m going to tell you so that you’ll never make it.

I was asked by a client to take a look at the possibility of reversing a door. He had bought a new house, and there was a door to a bathroom that he wanted changed to swing out rather than in.

I looked at it and decided there would be no problem reversing the door. We would take the entire jamb and flip it around, and so the casing would have to come off of one side and then get put back on once the door was reversed.

I forgot to take into account the threshold.

So what happened was, when the door was reversed and now hinging from over here, about 3 inches of floor material was now visible from one side of the door with the door closed.

In retrospect, he probably would have done the door switch anyway, but I goofed up on that one, and so if you’re ever reversing a door, make sure you think about the threshold first and what the ramifications will be of the threshold.