Here's How - Keep Front Door From Rubbing on Carpeting
Dear Pat: We had a home built and installed a fiberglass front door. When we open it, it hits the oriental carpet on the tile floor. How did this happen, and what can we do other than cut off the bottom? -- Melody H.
Dear Melody: Unfortunately, the problem you are experiencing is all too common in new homes. The weatherstripping on the bottom of a door is generally either vinyl or other rubbery compound. It will not take long for it to permanently discolor and wear the section of the carpet it repeatedly rubs against.
Most front doors are a standard height and are delivered to a building site already hung in the door frame. They often have an adjustable threshold built into the bottom of the frame so it seals well against the weatherstripping on the bottom of the door. Some thresholds can be 1 inch high or more.
The subcontractor who installed the front door probably placed it directly on the subflooring. Had he checked the complete building plans first, he would have found you are having a thick tile floor installed and extra height was needed. It would have taken only five minutes more to add a piece of lumber under the door frame to raise it higher for more clearance.
Cutting off the bottom of the door may help, but often there is not much edge rail lumber along the bottom of a fiberglass door. If there is not enough, you will cut into the insulation and weaken the door. Contact the door manufacturer first, and ask about the maximum height you can remove.
Another limiting factor on how much you can remove is the threshold seal. If you cut off some of the door bottom, you will have to adjust the threshold upward so the weatherstripping still seals against it. Make sure the threshold will adjust up high enough to provide an airtight seal.
It is more work, but you may be able to cut some off of the top and the bottom of the door. This will allow you to reposition the door higher in the door frame, and it may then clear the carpet. With this method, you will have to drill new holes for the hinges and the latch, so it will take more time and careful measurements.
The most complicated method, but actually the best, is to remove the door frame. Increase the height of the rough opening and install a piece of support lumber over the subflooring as should have been done initially. This is not a terrible job on a house with siding, but with a brick or stone exterior, you will have a lot of extra work.
A quick and inexpensive fit, but not necessarily the best or most attractive, is to remove the existing threshold seal and install a retractable one. This seal will mount on the interior lower edge of the door.
A small pin extends out on the side of the retractable threshold by the door hinge jamb. When the door is open, the threshold seal is in the up position so it will clear the carpet. When you close the door, the pin contacts the jamb and the seal drops down to seal on the threshold. Installing this is fairly simple do-it-yourself job, and fitting instructions are included.
Send your questions to Here's How, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit www.dulley.com.
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