If you live in an older house, you may notice that your door sill is feeling mushy or unstable, or may even be showing gaps and holes. Because of the nooks and crannies where snow, ice, water and dirt can accumulate, and the traffic that passes through, door sills are one of the first places in a house to begin showing rot. It is important to replace a rotten door sill before the rot begins to spread to the surrounding wall framing.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Circular saw
- White oak lumber
- Nails or screws
- Linseed oil
Take the door off of its hinges and set it aside. Expose the old sill as much as is necessary in order to remove it completely. Depending on the construction of your doorway, this may involve taking the finish trim off of the inside and/or outside of the doorway.
Cut through the centre of the rotten sill using a circular saw. Be careful not to go so far that you cut into adjacent flooring. Put the flat end of a large crowbar into the kerf made by your circular saw, and pry up on one side of the rotten sill. When you can get hold of it with your hand, work it back and forth until it comes loose. Do the same with the other side. This will probably leave some bent nails sticking into the space where the sill was.
Cut off bent old nails using a Sawzall. Alternatively, you can bang them back into the wall. Get everything out of the way of where the new sill will be installed. Vacuum out any dust, grit, wood chips or other debris. If you see any sign of insect damage, be sure to deal with that before installing the new sill.
Make a new sill that is the same size and shape as the old sill, using the old sill as a template. White oak is a good wood to use for sills, as it is known for its rot-resistant qualities. If you don't have any white oak, tamarack and cedar will also work well.
Prime all the wood that you can reach that surrounds the space where the new sill will go, in order to deter further rot. Prime the new sill if you are planning to paint it, or treat it with linseed oil or polyurethane if you are planning to leave it natural.
Insert the new sill into the space where the old sill was. Secure it by toenailing nails into the surrounding frame, or by doing the same with long screws.
Replace any trim or other wall parts that you had to remove in order to get the old sill out.
Carefully caulk any joints around the sill where water might be able to enter.
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