To Door or Not to Door

That was my morning facebook update….  Well, actually it was a little more than than.. 

Facebook Update

I received several replies indicating that indeed, I SHOULD indeed “door”, and do so to The Doors
     So I did “door”, only not to The Doors.  
            I “doored” to the Ron & Fez show.

Last April the Mother of Five and I noticed that one of our local “big box” home improvement centers was having a pretty significant sales on doors.  Having wanted to upgrade the “entry level” front door on our house for quite some time, we went out and bought a customized replacement door for the front of our home.   

Over the rest of the summer we continued “hording” the rest of the materials needed to complete the entire project as they went on sale and as our funds allowed.  So we have been storing a customized new door, new door hardware, a new storm door, and new storm door hardware in storage in our basement waiting for a time when I had two consecutive days off with nothing planned, and the weather cooperated. 

Armed with the good weather, all the needed materials, a bit of Facebook motivation, and the Ron & Fez show, I decided that today was going to be that day!I

Actually, I decided the day before, and with only 12 hours notice, I called my dad and asked him if he was interested in joining me.  See, with neither of us having ever replaced an exterior door before, I figured we could either both walk away triumphantly, or bask in crushing defeat together. 

Well, to tell you the truth - the plan was that if something went horribly wrong, I could tell everyone it was his fault, and not my own.  Blame the ol’ man!!  I figured it would work like a charm!!

Since I had worked until 4am the morning before, it was a later start than I would have really liked.  By the time I got up, got dressed, had a little late breakfast / early lunch, called my dad to come over, and his drive time – we did not start the job in earnest until noon.

While waiting for my dad to arrive, I took a few photos of the existing entryway, door and storm – for the blog nostalgic purposes.

 Original entryway door    Original entryway door 

Original entryway door     Original entryway door

Then I began the demo, starting with the interior trim, and pulling the insulation out from around the door.  My dad arrived just just in time to start ripping the old door out in earnest.  The plan was to save the old door and storm door, then sell them on craigslist to recoup a few bucks towards the new door and storm. 

This thing supposedly had a full lifetime warrantee against fading... LAUGHABLE!!




Things started out ok.  I got the storm off with little or no trouble.






The old door jamb (on the other hand) must not have gotten the memo. 

By the time I had a clear door frame “rough in”, I also had a pile of debris that “used to be” my front door jamb piled up on the front lawn.  I was able to save the actual door slab itself.…. 

(What am I going to do with that thing?  Anyone need an insulated steel, windowless door slab?)

A hole in my house - from the inside   A hole in my house - view from the outside    A hole in my house - view from the outside




Former front door jamb.

Current pile of debris on my front lawn.

Future “fire bowl” or chimena fuel.





Once we had the new door prepared we caulked the rough in and around the brickmould and starting tipping the new door into it’s permanent new home. 

Throughout the process my dad STRUGGLED with keeping his fingers out of the new caulk. I found that we had to stop over, and OVER, and OVER as we waited for him to clean his hands so he would not spread caulk all over the outside of our new door. 

Then, the inevitable happened.  As I reminded my dad (again) to not get his fingers into the caulk, I stepped into the bed of caulk on the floor where the new door was going to rest….   (sigh….)

The door tipped into place pretty easily, but aligning the door (plumb and level) proved to be a daunting task. 

Tweak, and shim.  Pry and shim.  Push and shim.  Shim and unshim.   We spent the remainder of the day trying to get the door lined up, plumb and level. 

Once we finally had the door plum, level, and permanently attached, I started noticing how late it was getting.  One of my downfalls is being impatient, especially when I am pressured for time.  I start hurrying, I loose focus, I become less careful. 

I had been drinking a “tall cool one” throughout the afternoon.  (just one, and I had not finished it, so I had a half full open beer bottle lying around throughout the afternoon.  As afternoon became evening and evening became dinnertime, I really started loosing my focus. 

The kids (including a friend who was spending the night) were getting hungry, the Mother of five was not home this evening, the phone was continually ringing, my cel phone kept recieving text messges, the kids continually needed my attention for one thing or another, and it was starting to get cold out…  I needed to get to a good stopping point.  I was really feeling pressured.  That’s when it started happening…  

I bumped into (and spilled) the open, and half full beer bottle all over the entryway.  All over the new lockset.  All over the shoes in the entryway.  This happened not once, but TWO SEPERATE TIMES. 


I took the trim (that I had knocked into the beer) and THREW it (javelin style) out the open door.  This was when I knew I had to call it quits.  Once I finished the task I was working on (installing the new lockset), my dad offered to clean up our mess so I could make dinner for the kids.

This proved to be quite helpful!  I was able to walk away from my stress, shift my attention to “family matters”, feed the kids (and myself) – and not have to worry about the clean up.  (Thanks dad!)

We left the door in a “functionally unfinished” state, dad cleaned up and headed home, I fed the kids and then cleaned up the kitchen.  The Mother of Five returned home.  The kids got involved settled in for the night.

#2 of 5 over at a neighbors for the night, #3 of 5 watching “Pranked” on TV, #4 of 5 and overnight friend watching Toy Story on a laptop from the top bunk, and #5 of 5 curling up in “mom and dad’s bed”.

That’s when I was able to take a deep breath and really see the work we got done (despite the “turbulence” at the end of the day).  The job is not finished yet.  I have a bit of the “detail” work to finish – exterior caulking, insulating, replacing the trim, and final painting of the interior and exterior of the door – not to mention the instillation of the storm door, but I am happy to report that today will go down into the record books as a “success”!  

Ahhh... Peaceful & Quiet     Ahhh... Peaceful, Quiet, and Cold!   (from the outside)    Another view from the outside - with the fash on to see the details.

After taking the two photos above I sat down to start this blog post…  It was not long after getting started that I just ran out of gas.  I had nothing left to give.  I saved the work I had started, popped over to Facebook, and ended my day with one last update… 

End of the day facebook update


  1. Congratulations on a job well done... or, a job well started, anyway! I have replaced 3 entry doors over the years, and it's no small task (especially when you start in earnest around noon.)

  2. Well, actually, I just thought about it... 2 of those entry doors are currently at about the same point of install as yours is in this post. Perhaps I should finish those one of these days?

  3. David,
    I lost my "focus" on replacing my front door . . . years ago. My dear wife reminds me at least once a month . . .
    I have replace a storm door in back, which somehow has gotten moisture into the "wood" or "insulation" core. So, next spring, a new storm door in back. The front door and storm? I suppose next spring. I can hardly wait to rip off trim and see how I can further damage my plaster walls. Lucky you to have finished before the cold weather.

  4. I have heard that doors can be daunting and difficult. Good for you and Dad! Congratulations!

  5. I got our door in in an easy day a few years ago. The inside trim? Yeah, not so much.

  6. I've never doored in any manner. When and if I do, I am calling you for hints and tips. I will also practice my javelin throwing and have suitable throwing items at hand. I bet it felt at least a little good to throw the bottle. Am I right?


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