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7 Exterior Door Threshold Types (Updated 2023)

7 Exterior Door Threshold Types (Updated 2023)

Doors consist of different parts that are all essential for their proper functioning such as the threshold. Thresholds are important in protecting your home from the elements but few people know the different threshold options for exterior doors. What are they and which should you choose for your door?

We can help you choose the right threshold for your exterior door. Read on to learn more about exterior door thresholds.

Exterior Door Threshold Basics

The job of the threshold is to provide an air-tight seal between the bottom of the door and the floor. It ensures your home is weatherproof and stops drafts from getting inside your home.

Because the threshold is a barrier for the elements and gets a lot of foot traffic, it is important to choose a good quality threshold. A low-quality threshold will not protect your home from the elements, can lead to damage to the door or doorframe, and it won’t last as long.

What Are The Different Types of Exterior Door Thresholds?

Thresholds are used both on interior and exterior doors. When used on an exterior door, they can be on the outside or the inside of the door opening. The ideal placement for you depends on your door and the structure of your frame.

The most common material for thresholds is aluminum but stainless steel, brass, and bronze are also used for thresholds. Bronze and brass thresholds tend to last the longest. Besides the different materials, the thresholds available also vary by design.


1. Saddle

Saddle thresholds are named after their saddle-like design and they are popular in modern constructions. The surface of a saddle threshold is either smooth or grooved and they come in different widths and thicknesses. If the door opening sees a lot of foot traffic, a wider and thicker threshold will be better and last longer.

2. Heavy-Duty

Heavy-duty thresholds are more commonly used as commercial door thresholds rather than in residential buildings. They are designed to withstand the weight of heavy vehicles such as forklifts and lorries. In appearance, they are similar to the saddle threshold, but a heavy-duty one may include a bumper seal.

  • Bumper Seal

A bumper seal threshold has a stopper added on the top where it comes into contact with the door. The stopper acts as a sealing agent that stops water and drafts from entering the interior space. Bumper seals will prevent loss of heat and can improve your home’s energy efficiency.

The bumper is made of polypyrene, polyurethane, vinyl, or pile. If you are installing a bumper threshold, you need to ensure the correct clearance between the door and the threshold so the door will seal properly.

3. Thermal Threshold

Thermal break thresholds form a breaker between hot and cold air. If the temperature on one side of the door opening is very different from the other side, cold and heat can transfer between the spaces. Thermal break door thresholds are used to prevent the impact of temperature differences.

The different temperatures can cause condensation to form on the threshold and it can become slippery. In a thermal threshold, a vinyl strip splits it into two, which prevents the temperature from transferring and condensation from forming on the surface of the threshold.

Interlocking Threshold

4. Interlocking Threshold

This type of threshold is often chosen for in-swinging doors. They have hooks that interlock the threshold and the door and are great for doors that are not protected by an overhang. However, the door’s ability to seal can be affected by mud, rocks, and ice that gets lodged in the hook. Once cleared, the door will again operate efficiently.

5. Panic Thresholds

These thresholds are designed to be used with out-swinging doors and vertical rod bars. If you are looking to install a panic threshold, you need to have a door that has a minimal clearance between the floor and the door to ensure the panic hardware is engaged in panic situations.

6. The Carpet Divider

While the article’s focus is on exterior door thresholds, we should include carpet dividers, too. They are designed to create a smooth transition from one flooring type to another. They can be used on any flooring combination.

As well as creating aesthetically pleasing looks, carpet dividers have an important safety function as well. They help contain fires as they prevent them from spreading underneath the floor from room to room.

Custom Exterior Door Threshold

7. Custom Exterior Door Threshold

If you are into DIY, you might like to consider making your own customized threshold for your exterior door. You might like to do this, for example, if you live in an old house and the existing options are not right for your home. You can learn more about making a custom threshold in this video.

How to Choose The Right Threshold?

When you are choosing a threshold for an exterior door, you need to consider the type of premises and the foot traffic passing through the door opening. Commercial buildings where the opening is used for vehicles will require a heavy-duty threshold. Other commercial buildings need to consider the footfall as well as the type of door.

If you are installing a new threshold in your home, the most likely options would be the saddle, bumper, or thermal breaker threshold. You also want to think about aesthetics. Choose a type of threshold that goes well with your door. For example, a bronze threshold will look out of place with a UPVC door and door frame.

When you are installing thresholds in public buildings, you need to know the regulations for thresholds such as the maximum slope allowed. Local municipalities can help you with the details so that your thresholds are installed correctly.


The threshold is an important part of your door setup. There are different thresholds and when selecting one, you need to consider which type best suits your door. Getting the right fit and design will prevent outside air and water from coming inside and can improve the energy efficiency of your home or commercial property.

If there is anything else you would like to know about exterior door threshold types, write your questions in the comments box.