I was very excited on Thursday when I got a text message from Lowes home improvment store that our new front door was ready to be picked up. I ordered it a couple of weeks ago when there was a sale on at Home Depot (they do a price matching deal.) I like to do my home improvment shopping at Lowes because it is in Liberty , whereas Home Depot is in Kansas City (as an adult I like to see my tax revenue support my town when I can help it!)
Here I will document the process of demolition of the old door (and I DO mean demolition) and the instalation of the new door. It turned out to be a two day + process that actually leads into another home improvment project.
1. The first step was to remove the trim around the old door on this inside to see just how much room I had to work with. Standard entry doors require a certain amount of space for a rough opening. Our opening was by no means “standard” as the door we removed was at least 30 years old and looks like it had been adapted several times (once by me after we moved in) to accomodate settling of the foundation of the foyer space. The old door had been cut, sanded, padded out at the hinges, jam repairs, door knob moved and hole patched. It was a very well used door which has earned it’s well deserved its retirement. I may repurpose part of it in another project (stay tuned!) This picture illustrates the door without it’s trim. Look at the wall gaps around the door! Ugh. This was only the beginning!
2. Julianne set up a plastic barrier to keep the dust out of the rest of the house. She is my Safety Officer, also responsible for reminding me to wear masks, goggles and gloves. I was good most of the time. Thanks Julianne for keeping me safe and healthy.
3. When I discovered that the left side of the rough opening wasn’t going to be tall enough I knew I would need to break out some of the floor tile. This turned out to be the catalyst for the next part of the project: to finish off the whole foyer. I have a plan which involves a set of built-in book cases and columns and a bench with basket storage underneath. But first, i had to break the tile with a hammer and then break it away with either a shovel or tile chisel. HARD WORK! We knew this wasnt the tile we wanted anyway, so it was really fun to break it out!
4. After the tile was removed, I commenced on the door removal. It felt really good to pull the hinge pins and carry the heavy warped door to the porch. I carefully removed the hinges (i’m not sure why) and then with pry bar in hand, pulled the broken frame of the door out.
5. After the frame was out, I pulled the new door unit over to the opening and realized I needed to pull out all of the wood from the rough opening. This involved removing some really old/heavy-duty nuts from bolts that are embedded in the concrete wall blocks. This must be the method for securing a door into the rough opening. I discovered the same bolts on the back door I replaced last summer. I had to use a circular saw to cut the old 2×6 lumber and get it out of the opening.
6. with a bare bones rough opening I began to calculate what it would take to put the door back in. To my surprise and dissapointment, I discovered I could have left the 2×6 in its place afterall and just removed the plank across the top. This was frustrating, but it managed to work out. I went back to Lowe’s and bought new treated 2x6s to reinstall. I had to drill holes in the wood so that the bolts could go through and secure them to the house.
7. Finally the opening was set, but I had to close shop for the day, so I screwed a piece of plywood over the opening for the night and saved the rest for the next day. I had plans to watch Doctor Who with my friend Stephen that night.
8. When I got back to work the next day, I realized I had to buy a masonry blade for the circular saw so I could cut the header made of concrete. So another trip to Lowe’s. I just needed to shave off 1/4″ on the left side so the door would fit in. I know this isnt the traditional method of door instalation, but what could I do? I learned a new skill… Masonry cutting which was practice for when i remove the wall between the kitchen and the living room (also made of concrete!)
9. After cutting grooves into the header, I used the chisel to break them away. It reminded me of sculpture class in college using hammer and chisel to carve a fish out of soapstone! It was fun! I kept hitting my knuckles with the hammer though… it hurt for weeks after!
10. I moved the new door unit over and slipped it in place and began the process of leveling it into the awkward opening. It took several tries and longer than it should have because there was just me. I should have called in a favor from a friend. (Julianne was visiting her parents for the weekend).
11. I finally got it all leveled and secured and the door opened and closed with an even gap all around. I finished securing it with screws and put the old hardware back on.
12. With the old door knob and deadbolt on, i was able to test the locking mechanisms and test it for latching. IT WORKS! NO more seasonal locking. Before, with the old door, we could lock the deadbolt in the summer and the door knob in the winter. It’s just the way the wood door and jam swelled or shrunk in the temperature change. There was no way to repair this since both the door jam and the door were rotten.
13. The final step in this stage of the process was spraying in the expandable foam insulation. This is “Great Stuff” (that’s the name of the product too) specially formulated for door and window application. If you use the regular stuff it could move the wood and cause the door to stick or even worse, not close! I cleaned up the debris (and there was a ton of it) and hauled the old door to the barn…it might look nice on the barn. :)
So, that was a step-by-step account of our new door installation. I hope I never have to do that again! Though, I know we need to replace the outside door in Julianne’s studio…it’s a wood framed part of the house, so it won’t be quite as difficult!
Stay tuned for part two: The Foyer coming up soon!