subtitle: Why I missed church on Sunday.
We moved into a new home last month and there are a couple of things with the house that needed some repair. One of those things was the front door.
It’s hard to tell from this angle, but behind the grill, is a large white stain on the glass. It was caused by a broken seal between the panes of glass.
Mostly, the problem was the threshold. It was broken and air and bugs were coming in under the door. Also, water was slowly causing some damage.
It’d been previously sealed up and repaired with some Great Stuff, but one of my concerns in this house is the electrical baseboard heaters. I’m trying to winterize the home to cut down on some of our expected heating costs.
We found this door on the property. It was beat up, but I thought we could use it.
We figured with a free door and some purchased sidelights from the Columbus Re-Store, we could make it work. *Cue dark, foreboding music now.*
If you’ve ever tackled a project like replacing your front door, you KNOW it is never that easy. Houses are crazy. You think you have a plan, but as soon as you have a giant, gaping hole in your home is about the same time your plans get shot to hell and back.
By the time we got to this point,
we knew we’d need another plan. The first problem we encountered was a severely water damaged threshold base.
All the wood was so damaged, you could flake it off with your fingernail. Hubs had most of it out before I grabbed the camera.
You can see that the space on the left where the crack was, the wood is all rotted away. Hubs was a little concerned at first about there being enough foundation left to fix this.
He cut out the damaged space on the floor joists to accommodate the new threshold. He also cut away the wood on the right to make room for the fix.
We found some treated lumber on the property and used that to fill the gap. We also found some vinyl that we wrapped around the foundation wood to act as a moisture barrier.
Once the new threshold was in and we could measure the rough opening, we knew that the free door was not going to work. Apparently, this had been a custom-made door. Our opening was only 80 inches high and pre-built doors are 82 inches tall. We needed another two inches.
The other problem was that the free door was 6” deep and our rough opening was only 4” (I’m rounding here. Rarely will you measurements to ever be exact to the inch). I didn’t want the door sticking out that far from the house, and Hubs thought the free door was just too sketchy.
Off we went to Menards to buy a new door we’d seen advertised in their flyer. Once we had a working door, it was time to frame out the opening for the sidelights and door.
Some of the wood we used in this project, we found on the property. This helped cut down on some of the costs. The sidelights are shorter than the door, so Hubs is installing a base for them.
I don’t have a picture of it, because it was a dirty mess, but Hubs had to cut down some of the header (the wood that runs across the top of the doorway opening) to accommodate a new door. Headers on a load-bearing wall have to be a specific depth to handle the weight of the wall.
Our header was taller than the recommended height, plus, we supported the header with two 2x4’s on the sides of the opening. This allowed us to enlarge the opening without compromising the structural integrity.
Before we got the framing complete, I had the boys bring in the sofa you see there. We couldn’t get it through the old door. It will go through the new 36” door, but I figured it was easier to get in the house while we had a giant hole there. The boys are convinced we just sealed the couch in the house forever!
Pre-built doors often come with the brick mold around the door. Because we were making our whole doorway larger than the door, I had to remove the brick mold from the new door.
With the brick mold off and the framing in, It was time to put in the new door.
Before we put in the door, we sealed up the gaps with some Great Stuffspray foam. That stuff really is great.We made sure all the spaces between the concrete and the threshold were sealed tightly with the foam.
Make sure to caulk the heck out of the bottom of the door and the bottom of the door frame before putting it in place. This is just another step to seal things up.
With the door in the opening, shims are your friend. We used the shims to adjust the door to make it level.
Once it was level in every direction, we screwed it into the frame.
Next, we put in the sidelights and trimmed them out. The trim around the sidelight opening holds the sidelights in place. Again, notice the shims to make sure the sidelight sits tightly in the frame.
We used quarter-round trim in the front around the sidelights. On the inside of the door, we ripped down some furring to use as trim on the inside of the frame. Furring is much cheaper than quarter-round.
With everything in place, the eleventy-bajillion cuts can be made to trim out the sidelights and doors. It was tedious. At some point in this project, one of us suggested that the other one should just let him work in peace.
I was okay with that. Sometimes, escape is the better part of valor. Giving my man room to work was not an issue for me.
This was a family project. The boys hauled things for us, ran and got tools out of the barn. Buddy took off the old door knob for me. Before I was kicked off the project, I measured, cut, nailed and cleaned. Hubs eventually called me back to help out.
Katie helped scrape stickers off of windows, inspected the work and even shot in a few nails into the trim.
She was very interested in the whole process, although she had to wear ear muffs to eat her lunch because the noise annoyed her.
It took us the whole day to get the project done-ish. Well, at least to the point where we had a working door and critters wouldn’t be able to come in at will.
For the outer brick mold, we didn’t have a nail gun with long enough nails to hold it on, so Hubs had to go old school. He pre-drilled the holes for the nails and hammered in finishing nails.
It’s been raining all week, so I can’t get out here to paint the door. Ditto for cutting the trim for the inside. I’m hoping we can finish it up this weekend.
I need to match the paint from the house, too. I’ve been debating the color for the new door, but the shutters are forest green and the old door was burgundy. We’ll void the warranty on the door if we paint it a dark color right now, so I’m thinking it’s just going to be white.
I have 30 days from the date of installation to get it painted to keep the warranty intact. I sure hope it stops raining so I can do that.
- Door – $119
- Sidelights – $50
- Wood for Framing & Brick Mold – $88.40
- Shims, long Nails & Screws – $15.67
- Great Stuff, treated lumber, vinyl – On hand
Total Project Cost – $273.07
It’s going to cost more once we add in the paint and inside trim, but that’s a post for another day. Preferably, a sunny day.