Thresholds – Interior

The Country News

October 2019

Written by Patrick Simpson
Executive Director, SAFERhome Society

Thresholds, Yes, those things you have to step over coming in and out of houses and other buildings. Did you ever wonder where they came from and what they are for?

Years ago, and I do mean many years ago when normal people had dirt floors in their homes. They would put down straw and thresh as a floor covering and insulation. They found out very quickly that they needed to put a block of wood under the exterior doors to keep the thresh or straw in place. Hold the thresh/threshold. This also solved the problem of always having the farm animals eating what was leaking out under the door and then getting in the way of travel.

It’san old building habit that we are slowly changing. Now when you go into a store you almost never see a threshold. All new designs are 0threshold and you pass right over them without noticing.

Universal Design has claimed that a 0Threshold business gets about 30% more customers and income than a store with the same product but has one step or more to get inside.

This has shown what we need to do to housing. The only real reason we have thresholds in housing is to keep the water out. That’s what the Building Envelop Engineers claim we need. Its an interesting discussion that can be challenged. There are easy ways to fix this but there is no one in the system stepping up. I find it funny that these engineers will help you to drive your car into the house garage but its confusing when they will not help you do the same thing at the front door for your older Mom.

Look to Universal Design for the proper solutions.