Monday, April 6, 2015
This is our front entry door and as you can see, it has suffered with time and heat. All the decorative moldings on the front have warped with heat and time. Functionally, the door still worked and served it's purpose but after spending so much time and money on siding, soffit, garage door and landscaping, the door just didn't fit in anymore. I thought about pulling off the moldings and redoing them somehow but there was one more reason that tipped me over the edge to just getting a new door.
This is the same door from the other side and as you can see, it is at the end of a hallway which always seems to be dark and uninviting, not something you want. The hallway is narrow and the darkness makes if feel even more so. Long term, we would like to create a small bump out on the front to expand the kitchen which shares the wall on the right and as part of that, we would remove the wall, widen the hallway and move the door location. But after everything we've done in the past three years, we decided that financially it just isn't in the cards in the near term. So we decided that if we replaced the old door with a new door with a window, it might do a couple things for us. It would lighten up the hallway making it more inviting and perhaps make it feel bigger than it does. In the future, should we redo the kitchen, we can move the existing door and add sidelights which my wife really wants or just get a new door. In the financial scale of redoing a kitchen, another door is a very minor part.
When we redid the siding, we removed a faux beam that divided up the large overhang of our front stoop into two narrow slivers. It gave a cleaner look and let a lot more light into the house through the south facing windows in the kitchen. Because there is about six feet of overhang at our door, a storm door really seemed unnecessary assuming we had a well insulated door. It was just one more thing to open to escape the house and it was forever getting locked by others who didn't realize that with it locked, our only way into the house was through the garage. (The two sliding doors and master bedroom door don't have keys to gain access if they are locked.) This wasn't a problem unless the power was out and then you were SOL until it came back on.
I have done a lot of things in my life and with most home improvement tasks but replacing a door is not one of them. However I have watched a lot of home improvement shows over the years and replacing a door seemed pretty straight forward so I gave it a go. The one caveat was that we had just done the siding last fall and I wanted to keep the new door trim on if possible to save a lot of caulking, flashing and time. Fortunately I was able to remove the door from the inside and after removing the brick molding on the new door pop it into place. I got out a new level that I hadn't used before and soon had it trued up, shimmed, screwed off and foamed. It was only then that I realized that something was wrong. The door didn't line up with the trim on the outside and when I opened it, it gained speed by itself until it hit the door stop. It didn't seem like it was level despite my level saying it was within 0.1 degrees of level. So I got my old trusty bubble level that has been beat to heck a time or two and according to it, it was way out of level. So I dug out all the foam with a screwdriver, unscrewed it, and did everything over a second time. This time it ended up great though the jam still must not be completely level. You can see this in the above picture by looking at the gap between the top of the door and the surround. I didn't want to do everything a third time and since it isn't enough to affect anything other than aesthetics, I said it was good enough.
Although the window does let in a lot more light and it does make the hallway seem bigger, my poor picture really doesn't give you a sense of that. You will have to trust me. Above is a picture from the outside showing the new door in place. I still have to fill in all the holes left in the trim from the storm door and do some painting but the hard part is done. This door doesn't have any trim attached to the outside to warp in the sun like the other one did. Instead it is a steel door and the 'trim' is actually just a stamped in design. My wife picked out the paint which seemed pretty bright when I was applying it in the garage but now here in the shadows of the overhang, it seems pleasing to my eye. We went conservative on our siding color so this is our accent to make the front pop a little. Overall my first door replacement went well and I wouldn't hesitate to do it again. Now it is back to other scheduled projects.