Installing the Front Door

After months of anticipation, weeks of staining and sealing, today was the day that the new front door was finally ready to go in.

The old door has been half disassembled for about a month now. I started deconstructing when I thought the original door had arrived at home depot, but when I went to pick it up, it had been built wrong.

And so the entry to our house has remained.

But today, the transformation would be complete. My parents made the trek up here from Corvallis, and with my dad’s help we started tearing out the old door.

Since I hope someone can re-use the door, we took care to keep everything in one piece, starting with the brick molding. Since the drywall and trim had already been taken off the inside, I was able to push a crowbar through and tap to loosen the molding. Then, from the front, I pried it the rest of the way off.

With the brick molding off, off came the threshold.

At this point we realized the entire door was held in by 4 nails. Seriously, 4. We cut them with the reciprocating saw, and the door tilted right out.

With the spider guts sucked up from underneath the old door, it was time to widen the threshold. Since I’ve been adding insulation to the walls in the house, furring out the walls as I go to 2×6” I decided that I’d install a 2×6” door to match. Since the old door was only 2×4” it meant a little modification.

The only place that really needed widening was the threshold. Unfortunately, the flooring I thought was vynil in the entryway was actually slate. You’d be surprised it was real stone if you saw it in person, too.

So rather than using a utility knife, I had to do a little more heavy-duty demolition. Since I didn’t have the tools I needed, I headed to home depot. With a hole in the front of our house.

Helen put the vacuum in the way so Bella wouldn’t escape (she’s terrified of it).

I got a stone/tile bit for my rotozip tool, and  then decided I’d use a masonry blade on the circular saw for the main portion of the cutting.

When we returned, we plotted out where to cut the tile, and got to work with the circular saw. It actually worked really well. I kept the blade wet by pouring water on it every so often to keep it cool.

After the main portion was cut, I did the edges with the rotozip.

A few taps with the cold chisel, and everything came right out.

At this point, we measured the door and the threshold to see how high we needed to raise it so that the top of the threshold was level with the interior floor. It looked like we needed to take a half inch off of the sub floor below the tile, so back to work we went with the saw.

With that cut down, I knew that I needed to raise the old threshold about 1 inch, so we cut a piece of ¼” plywood to size, and laid it in. We then had to chisel out some of the old cement landing to make the piece of 1x’6 fit on top of it level.

With the chiseling done, everything went into place. A little spray foam, and a few screws, and we were in business.

With the opening ready, we brought the door frame around and slid it into place. Other than having to cut ¼” out of the top piece of siding because we raised the door slightly compared to the old one, it fit perfectly.

With the frame in place, we put the door back on its hinges and checked the gap around the edges to make sure it closed snugly. A few shims on the top and bottom and it was perfect.

I threw a few finish nails into the brick molding and through the frame, countersinking them about ¼” so I can fill and stain over them and the hole in the front of our house was filled.

Before calling it a day, we had to install the door handle. I went with a Baldwin Stonegate entry set in antiqued oil rubbed bronze, to match the hinges and threshold. I love the way the shape of the handle matches the styling of the door and the beveled glass windows.

While it’s beautiful, it was a huge pain to install. I, unlike many people, am a stickler for following directions, but in this case they were terrible, so a lot of guesswork remained.   After about 3 hours, I finally had the thing together. It was worth it.

With the door installed, the handle working, I started taking the protective film off of the glass. A bit of urethane leaked around the edges, so it took some work with a razor blade, but I got most of it off and called it a day.

I absolutely love it! Now I just need to fill and stain the exterior portion of the frame, re-drywall the interior, add trim and we’ll be finished. I’m hoping to have it done by mid-August, but we’ll see.

Tomorrow, dad’s coming back over and we’re going to bottle the beer that’s in the secondary. I’m definitely looking forward to it.

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