Replace, repair or leave alone?

graywings123November 10, 2012

This is the door sill for the front of my 1919 house. The square nails lead me to to believe it's the original wood sill. If this were your house, would you replace it?

If replacing it is a bad idea from an old house point of view, then what? I could do a credible job of filling in the cracks and missing areas with wood filler, but doubt I could stain it well enough to pass for wood. I'm thinking of just leaving it as is, staining and topcoating with a sealer. I have adjusted the door so it isn't rubbing the wood.

(I scraped the paint off the threshhold at the top of the photo. The paint plan calls for that to be painted green to match the door frame, but if I can get all the paint off, I might stain and clearcoat it.)

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Well, if you're asking what I would do...I would replace it.

However, you seem to like the idea of staining it and keeping a bit of the old house. I think that's a great idea and the square nails will be a real conversation piece. If it's still functional, why not? :)

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 2:30PM
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There's nothing wrong with the sill that a little tlc won't fix--so I'd keep it and stain it. As for the threshold--that should not be painted to match the frame, it should match the porch floor.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 5:24PM
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When I bought my house some of my sills had been replaced with modern machine cut oak sills. My carpenter was doing some work and ended up milling new sills out of some beautiful maple for me. My house has oak floors, poplar trim, but original maple sills. I love the way he did it; I had to stain them to match the old carefully, but now you can't tell the difference between old and new. The modern sills were so out of place.

But, if I could patch that corner with wood putty reasonably well, I'd keep it. There are a lot of lousy putties out there; I've had reasonable luck on small jobs with JB weld Kwikwood, and on larger projects, ConServ products (but that's a lotta $$$ for such a small patch, and I don't think you need to pay the big bucks for the performance characteristics of the conserv for an indoor application.)

I like the look of a well-executed repair. I remember touring castles and mansions in Europe where things were carefully maintained or repaired instead of replaced; to me, it just contributed to the antique feel of the building, but in a cozy, not decrepit, way.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 6:05PM
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I don't see anything wrong with the sill but I'd paint it instead of trying to stain it. Chances are there will always be bits of old paint showing through any stain that you do.

The threshhold is a toss up but I'd probably keep it. My exterior ones were worn so thin my husband trashed them when he initially installed a temporary door for security but my interior ones looked very similar to yours prior to floor finishing. Now they're beautiful but still worn in keeping with the house.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 11:06PM
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