Wood flooring needs to be installed correctly so that it will last years into the future without suffering damage. Small mistakes when installing the floor boards can lead to major problems late in the life of the floor. The areas around frames like the metal bases of sliding doors are key sections where the floor must be installed correctly, with attention to leveling and protection.
Expansion gaps are the small spaces in wood flooring that allow the edges of the flooring to expand over time so the boards to not warp. Because the metal base of the sliding door frame will not move, you need to leave an expansion gap when installing wood flooring around it. While making room for the gap, consider setting apart the door frame with a sectional front-piece of wood flooring. This will distinguish the area of flooring around the door frame from the boards installed in the rest of the room.
If your sliding door is set high above the floor, then you should try to make the wood floor surrounding it the same level as the rest of the floor. If the base of the door is very close to the level of the floor or if it has its own surround that makes that section of the floor higher, you will need to adjust the wood planks accordingly. Reducers and shims can help you adjust angles to slowly bring up a wood floor to meet the door.
Threshold molding refers to the molding that runs across the threshold of a sliding door that is too high to meet directly with the floor. A reducer molding can help a higher door meet a lower floor and save you the difficulty of trying to subtly angle the floor upward. There are also quarter round and other types of moldings that can work with a sliding glass door. The expansion gap should be left underneath the threshold molding.
When you finish, be sure to seal the space between the door and the wood flooring. Use a caulk that will allow room for expansion but also protect the floor from moisture problems. Sliding doors can be a source of leaks in rainy seasons, and a sealant layer will help protect your flooring from any dangerous damage. The sealant should be a flexible caulk designed for wood flooring, so the flooring can still expand into the expansion gap if it needs to.
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