Home & Garden Personal Safety & Security

Ideas for Exterior Thresholds

    Types of Threshold Strips

    • Builders use the term "threshold" to refer to the sloped strips of material that span between a door's jambs. Affixed to pre-hung doors during production, metal threshold strips are common among new homes. Lined with rubber gaskets to prevent moisture and air penetration, metal threshold strips are designed to fit snugly against the ground. Generally produced from attractive hardwoods, builders install wooden threshold strips after hanging doors or add them to a custom pre-hung door order. Often found on historic buildings, stone and tile are the least common threshold strip materials. Consider the appearance of the door's threshold strip when designing your entry. Metal thresholds are generally inexpensive, but might not visually blend with interior flooring materials as well as wood, stone or tile thresholds.

    Accessible Thresholds

    • The height and slope of a threshold strip affects ease of entry. Manufacturers offer low, gently rising threshold strips to accommodate the needs of wheeled equipment, disabled and elderly individuals. Generally constructed of wood or metal, these low threshold strips often rise only 1/2 inch above the entryway's exterior flooring surface and feature the same types of weatherproofing gaskets as standard threshold strips.

    Threshold Design Ideas

    • Several design elements increase the accessibility and hospitable character of an entryway. Wide entry doors increase accessibility, provide extra room for moving furniture and equipment and allow a broad, welcoming view of a home's interior. Approximately 36 inches wide, the widest, standard entry door allows plenty of space for both people and equipment. To ensure comfort during all types of weather and both night and day, consider covering the entryway with an awning and adding light fixtures above or near the door's threshold.

    Railings and Planters

    • Railings and planters not only provide threshold spaces with both a visual and physical boundary, but also offer several design opportunities. Posts, balusters and handrails may feature decorative carvings or provide color accents to a home's exterior. In lieu of railings, raised garden beds or planters provide both a physical border and opportunity to add decorative landscaping to an entry.

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