carpentry question: replacing a front door

Miotch

Most Honored Senior Member
Jun 28, 2011
5,310
ok
The weakest point on those is the lock; a handy Scouser can get one open in under a minute.

I'm thinking the weakest point is the lights. Never seen glass that is hammer proof with a little time and effort. But I've also never seen a wood-framed door I haven't been able to kick open with effort and a few attempts. Of course I've only had to do that four or five times, but it was always easy enough I figure I'll split some wood with enough kicks.
 

archetype

Senior Stratmaster
Silver Member
Nov 26, 2016
4,253
Western NY, USA
When I hung the current front door on my home, I discovered termites and ended up jacking up the second floor and tearing out 12-feet of wall, installing all new studs, plates and, or course, the door. This actually made installing the new door a bit easier, because I could frame it perfectly for the door. I basically framed that section of the house around the new door. Another one of those "OMG" moments in a homeowners life.

Right. The $200 job becomes a $2,000 job and the $2,000 job becomes a $20,000 job. It's happened to me so many times, as the houses I've lived in were built between 1840 and 1935: nothing newer.
 
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archetype

Senior Stratmaster
Silver Member
Nov 26, 2016
4,253
Western NY, USA
Find a competent carpenter recommended by others and have him/her do it. It's half science and half art to install and fine tune doors that work properly and stay that way. There are many nuances and techniques that are known only through experience.

Have the carpenter show up at your house to measure and spec the door, then he/she will order it as part of the total cost you'll pay the carpenter. That way, correct specs (direction of opening swing, latch side vs. hinge side, dimensions, etc.) are the carpenter's responsibility and not yours. It's far too easy to get one of those specs rong and end up owning a useless new door you'll have to essentially give away on Craig's List or Freecycle.

Only semi-related: A 1928 Greek Revival brick house ago, my late wife and I had been trying to salvage a badly-weathered, solid, front door for a long time and finally gave up on it. It was 2" thick and very tall, so finding a correct old door to fit was a challenge. At an architectural salvage I got one of correct width and thickness, but too short. A mill shop cut, edged, and planed a piece of poplar for me and I glued and doweled this additional 5" to the bottom of the door after the door finish was stripped. After finishing and reglazing, I contracted an old guy, supposedly with lots of door experience. He significantly underestimated the time and 2-person labor it would take to properly cut new mortises for hinges and strike plate and hang/fit a giant, probably 125 pound door. I think I kicked in some additional money, but he still lost his ass on the bad cost estimate.
 


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