By Gene and Katie Hamilton
Plug up air leaks at the bottom of your exterior door by installing a new door threshold, an aluminum strip with a vinyl insert in its center. The insert acts as a gasket to seal the gap between the bottom of the door and the floor, but over time it wears away. The only way to stop cold air from infiltrating is to replace the threshold, a job you can do if you have carpentry skills and tools.
You'll find a selection of aluminum and wood thresholds with vinyl inserts sold in home centers, hardware stores and lumberyards. They come packaged with installation hardware, but you'll need a good quality silicone caulk to bridge the gap between the floor and bottom of the gasket. To find a variety of thresholds go to www.reeseusa.com, a manufacturer's site.
If you're planning to replace the flooring material at the door, now would be a good time to replace the threshold to prevent uneven surfaces after layers of old flooring have been removed.
DIY Hassle Alert
If uneven surfaces are an issue, choose a threshold that is self-adjusting so you can level the surface.
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A handyman charges $69 to remove an old threshold and replace it with a new one, but you can buy the threshold and install it for $45, and save 34 percent. One way to thoroughly clean the area around a door threshold before installing a new one is with a shop vacuum. Use the crevice tool and remove all the dirt and dust so the new installation will fit perfectly.
The bottom line: compare the price of a contractor’s bid to replace a door threshold with what it costs to do it yourself and make your decision. You adjust the cost to where you live by adding your ZIP Code.
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2020