On most homes, you will usually have to step up to enter a home. If you are on a raised foundation typically you will step up approximately 5 inches and if you are on a slab foundation you will usually step up at least 2 inches from the outside.
However, some homes will have the outside and the inside nearly level with one another. These are usually specially designed with a large overhead so water cannot directly come near the openings. These are unique and create different issues than a tripping hazard. This situation requires that tracks are recessed and they must be cleaned out regularly so debris does not build up.
But typically from the inside usually, a finished floor will but up to a doorway’s threshold or sill.
What is the threshold? A threshold is the bottom portion of an entry door that is on the outside. Thresholds on newer door units come standard already attached. The threshold will be approximately 1-5/8” high. The flooring will usually be approximately 3/4’ of an inch thick reducing the total height of the threshold by the thickness of the floor. However, on some floors, the threshold goes over the top which will leave the total size of the threshold. The concern here is stepping over the threshold from the inside causing a tripping hazard. I will go over a couple of options and facts about thresholds and why they are important.
A threshold is very important because it elevates the door above the finished flooring for a door to have clearance over the finished flooring so it opens and closes without impediments like rubbing on carpet or tile. Thresholds also are a barrier for outside weather for the rain to be diverted back outside. On sliding patio doors the bottom portion has a built-in track where the door glides between. There are weep holes that will catch any rain and also divert that back to the outside.
Handicap Accessible Thresholds: Some openings may be required to be handicap-accessible openings. This means the opening must be at least 32” wide and that the threshold could only be 1/4“ above the finish flooring outside and inside. There are some door manufacturers that you can buy a handicap accessible threshold, but you must be extremely careful if this is what you order. These thresholds have a much lower profile. The flooring on the inside cannot have any high points that will interfere with the transition of your door swing. You will most certainly not be able to put any type of rug in front of your door on the inside as well. These low-profile specially made thresholds do not keep a lot of the outside rainout due to them being designed the way they are. If you are going to make the opening accessible for a wheelchair you will more than likely have to build up the outside portion to come close to even with the inside portion.
Another way is to have your door swing out instead of in. This will allow the transition of your door to clear and you could keep a really low profile.
You can also build up the floor near your entryway or use a floor transition profile up against the threshold that is beveled so that someone’s foot does not get stuck where the threshold meets the floor.
Regarding options, many manufacturers do not even give you an option other than a few different colors. The inside is usually a different color than the outside and some people do not like this. The outer portion is metal that’s either a Bronze color, Gold or Nickel, or just a Mill Silver finish. The inside is usually made out of a type of composite where it is adjustable and it usually is a Tan color.
Just an added note regarding thresholds. They will typically have some flexibility because they will pass an outside concrete slab by approximately 1 to 2 inches. This is typical. If this concerns you, you can sometimes build up the bottom of the threshold but this is not something usually included in a door installation. I would hesitate to do this because that will not look aesthetically pleasing once it’s finished on most homes.
For more information, please call Top of The Trades Home Remodels today and we will help you make a selection.