Durable finish for floor thresholds needed, Seeking advice.

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Forum topic by Frankie Talarico Jr. posted 11-29-2009 05:36 PM 7461 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Frankie Talarico Jr.

353 posts in 3506 days

11-29-2009 05:36 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question maple finishing threshold durable finish

Hello everyone, I picked up this job recently, replacing a bunch of thresholds around a home. All of these pieces are interior, but are subject to very high traffic. They had a “Home Cheapo” floor installed three years ago. The real touch series by dupont. Finding material isn’t a problem, the problem is it’s in very short lengths (48”) for a very high price ($15.98/ea). That would be fine and all but it’s MDF covered with vinyl pattern. IMO its garbage, it chips and peels very easy.

The issue is this, They have an open layout in the home and the kitchen and livingroom are one big room(30’x45’). Now the kitchen is ceramic tile, and the living room is wood. When installed, they actually did a good job and the floors are identical height(good for me). But the MDF thresholds did’nt hold up to the high traffic. this is a 30’ run across the room, and there are 9 doorways throughout the home that need replacing also.

Now that you know where I’m at, I am replacing the junk with solid maple threshold I designed. The wood will hold up in the long run, but I want the finish to hold up for years, with an occasional re-coat every few years. What would be the best product to use in this situation? Will it hold up to foot traffic? How easy is it to apply?

Secondly, the home is heated 100% radiant heat, No nials or screws down. I will reuse the 1/2” x 1/4” channel thats already in place. I designed the threshold with that in mind.

Thank for the help.
Frankie Sketchup drawing of t molding.

-- Live by what you believe, not what they want you to believe.

8 replies so far

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3630 days

#1 posted 11-29-2009 06:17 PM

I would use poly. I have maple hardwood flloors in my home, and I used poly on the thresholds between rooms and at the door entrances. I did put down quite a few coats though. I used about 5 coats and its holding up well.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View Frankie Talarico Jr.'s profile

Frankie Talarico Jr.

353 posts in 3506 days

#2 posted 11-29-2009 06:36 PM

you talking like a wipe on or brush on poly? something by minwax or similar? In the past i used spar varnish, I remember it was a very thick product, Is that something that would work? I’m going to look into the poly. How long of a wait before I sand between coats?
I’m used to working with laquer in a cabinet shop but I don’t think it’ll hold up, thats why I’m inquiring about other systems.

-- Live by what you believe, not what they want you to believe.

View davidpettinger's profile


661 posts in 3350 days

#3 posted 11-29-2009 06:47 PM

I have maple floors also and have used Baird Brothers Fine Hardwoods for all my floor mouldings. I ordered them prefinished(catalyzed gloss varnish) and for the cost, I have never second guessed my decision. Here is the link.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3630 days

#4 posted 11-29-2009 07:07 PM

I used Minwax fast drying poly. I applied it with a brush. You can sand about 2 to 3 hours after the application. But you should let it dry for 24 hours before light use. I let it dry for a week before heavy use.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3971 days

#5 posted 11-29-2009 09:05 PM

Spar varnish will work as well. Like Wayne commented poly works just fine too. I put down about 2000 feet of hardwood in my home several years ago and made all of the thresholds from leftover flooring so that they would match. I bought the flooring as a prefinished product but put poly on all the thresholds and stair risers/treads. They still look as good today as they did when they were originally put down.

To answer your finishing questions you need to wait until the poly or spar urethane has cured. (See GaryK's post). Usually this is an overnight process but it is dependent upon the temperature in your shop. Once it is cured I generally sand with 600 grit to remove any dust nibs or brush strokes (if the finish is brushed on). If the sandpaper gums up or the finish is tacky wait until it is cured before sanding. Remove the dust and apply another coat. Subsequent coats will dry faster than the first coat. For high traffic areas I would apply 4 coats of poly.

You could use a wiping poly just as easily but since it is a thinned product you would necessarily have to add more coats to get the same build as a straight poly application.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Frankie Talarico Jr.'s profile

Frankie Talarico Jr.

353 posts in 3506 days

#6 posted 11-30-2009 05:07 AM

Thanks everyone, I am going to use the poly. I guess I can put three coats on in a day if climate permits. I appreciate all the help and keep on coming. This website is by far the best community out there!!!!
I’ll post details as I get along this job in the next week or so.

-- Live by what you believe, not what they want you to believe.

View a1Jim's profile


117243 posts in 3726 days

#7 posted 11-30-2009 05:14 AM

Third vote for spar varnish.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Dunelm's profile


32 posts in 2637 days

#8 posted 08-20-2011 07:39 PM

I was about to start a new post on this issue then I discovered this thread. I’ll be putting in a maple threshold for an exterior door. I’ve bought Minwax Fast Drying Poly (clear semi-gloss) and am relieved to see that Wayne has had success with it for exterior thresholds.
I’m relatively new to Lumberjocks and am finding it a wonderful resource.

-- Bruce -- Canada

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