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Day 387 – New front door

July 11, 2011

July 11, 2011 –

This past Saturday and Sunday, we christened our home with a lovely new front door. Yes, it looks nearly identical to the porch door we recently installed (same lockset too) but that’s kind of the point. And although there are still some finishing touches yet to do, it sure is nice to have new front door.

Our old door with trim removed.

Not that we didn’t love the old door, it just that it was very, very loved. I can’t say for sure the original door was truly “original” to the house, but judging by what I saw taking it out, it likely was. We had known for a long time about some of its issues: the mortise lock was loose; it leaked air in the winter, the screws for the hinges could never get tight and just hadn’t aged well. Never mind that the mortise lock used a skeleton key, and so effectively was little more than a handle.

Taking it out, I discovered many fixes and improvements had been made to the door over the years, with cuts made to accommodate a new deadbolt and several attempts at strengthening the hinge screws. After removing the strike plates (which were held in by a significant amount of screws) I discovered there wasn’t much else holding it in. I had removed the trim previously, so after a courtesy pass with the saw, out it came.

Old trim

We knew we couldn’t match the size of our old door exactly, as it was a funky half size, and it likely had been worn down some over the years. We ordered a door that we thought would be just slightly bigger than our current rough opening. When we got the old door out, it fit in the old opening like a glove, except for a quarter of an in inch that needed to be shaved off the top of the door. That’s cut number one.

Rough opening

And a door ideally is supposed to be plum and square. There is some flexibility in this rule for older homes, but when installing a new door in an existing opening, you’ve got to do it right. Even though I said the new door fit like a glove, our opening wasn’t square at all. So I shaved an inch off the top right hand side of the frame, then a half inch off the left bottom side of the frame to allow the door to sit square. That’s cuts number two and three.

With the door in and level, I turned my attention to the threshold. For whatever reason, the door manufacturer included a generous amount of weather-stripping on the bottom side of the door which made it very difficult to close. To enable us to use the door, we removed the bottom of the threshold and will in the very near future revisit the weather-stripping. Sunk the nails used to hold the door in place, applied the protecto wrap and nearly done.


With help from family, the lockset got installed without major incident. The one minor incident was that the jig for the boring of the lockets wasn’t seated correctly on the first book, so it was off a bit. We accommodated for this on the later drills so it looks normal, and actually helped us in some sense because the lock cylinder fit without additional work with the 1 ½ paddle drill bit.

Next step – trim, siding, and fixing interior plaster blemishes.


From → Door

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