Front Door


When I first toured the house that I ended up buying, one of the first odd things I noticed was the front door.  Rather than a solid door, it had a full glass lite; that is to say, most of the door was glass.  I wasn’t keen on this from either a security or privacy standpoint, so my first major project for the house was replacing the front door.

So today I enlisted the help of my friends Nate and Dorsha.  Dorsha has been a carpenter for years, so I figured if anyone could help me put a new door in, he could.  We drove to the house to measure the door, to make sure it was a standard residental entry door, which would be 3′-0″ wide by 6′-8″ tall.  Under Dorsha’s guidance, we carefully measured the door, and deciding that we would have to order a custom door to fit the unusual dimensions.  Great, I was hoping to get this done today.

We headed to Home Depot, and once there, to the door department.  As Dorsha began rattling off dimensions and specifications for the custom door, I watched the Home Depot guy’s head asplode.  I know more about doors than that guy did.  Eventually, we pulled out a standard slab (that’s construction lingo for the door itself, not including the frame, hinges, locks, handles, etc.) and measured it.

This is when we realized that we’d outsmarted ourselves.  Turns out a 3′-0″ x 6′-8″ door is actually 6′-7″ tall, and a little under 3 feet wide too.  I love how nothing in construction materials is the size it claims to be.  In this case though, I believe the opening in the jamb is the “real” size, but the door is smaller to account for weatherstripping and threshold.

I felt a little dumb after realizing our mistake, but the Home Depot guy was still so clueless, I didn’t feel too bad.  At any rate, I bought a standard prehung metal door, four panels and a half-round window at the top.  We strapped it onto the rack on Nate’s car, and drove back to the house.

We unscrewed the new door from the hinges, and set the jamb aside, we wouldn’t be needing that.  Then we unscrewed the hinges from the existing glass door.

Next we took the door hardware (the deadbolt and the main latch) off of the old door, and put them on the new door.  It’s actually pretty nice hardware, especially considering how cheap everything else in the remodel appears to be.  As Dorsha commented “That’s the most expensive part of the whole house”.

After we had the hardware on the new door, we moved it into position and screwed it onto the hinges.  Voila, new front door.  I had envisioned pulling off the trim and replacing the jamb and everything, but fortunately it was much simpler than that.