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Old 11-28-2008, 05:40 PM
 
Location: Knoxville
4,654 posts, read 23,606,304 times
Reputation: 5861

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Harry
I can look at your post two ways..
1. You are comfortable around tools and know how to use them, have common sense and a certain level of mechanical dexterity, and have worked on houses and their parts before..........or,

2. You think that it's normal to have to put your shoulder to the door to close it, it's normal that they door swings open and/or closed by itself, and it's not all that important that it latches.

I'm guessing it's #1. But, not everyone has that skill level.
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Old 11-28-2008, 07:01 PM
 
3,020 posts, read 24,896,033 times
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Default Well it can be heaven and it can be Hell......

The trick is to know the difference up front.

Couple of things to look for.

First open the present door half way, does it stay in position or does it drift open / closed? Many doors in problem houses will not be plumb, they will not stay in position without wanting to drift. Happens in houses poorly built, ones that have settled, those installation where you will have problems. Does the floor appear to be level in the area??? Is the gap around the old door even all the way on both sides, between it and the frame???

Does the present door work correctly or does it bind, stick or operate abnormal? Again, it a tip off, this house is a problem puppy. If there is a storm door installed does its hardware for door handles, line up and appear to be at the same height as the front door. In some houses, this interference between storm door and front door hardware can be a problem. In the extreme cases, it can be very bad. You might want to order the door custom bored for lock height to avoid the interference.

Look at the exterior casing on the door. Can it be easily removed? In some cases what will have happened is the house will have been resided, the siding trim is brought right up to the edge of the door casing, in some cases maybe even covering the storm door flange. Big problem child, you are going to have a bear getting the old frame out, every course of action will have consequences. Usually you have to plan on not distrubing the siding installation, maybe the storm door can't be removed easy, the old exterior casing will have to be somehow reused. Can get to be a real joy.

The other chuckle factor is try to determine is the depth of the door frame pretty much a standard depth. If not, that can also get interesting. Those doors are probably not going in without more materials than normally supplied. Plus it is break out the tablesaw, planner, maybe even pant leg *** for cutting some interesting long pie shaped pieces. Lord, knows what other tools might get a workout. It can involve other trim wood planking type pieces, hunks of 2 x 4 for blocking, on and on. Can really make your day.

Is a bit like what DesertSun sezs. If you suspect it up front, you actually pull the interior casing to check what the rough opening is and get a better set of measurements, plus scope out how difficult this critter might become, long before actually getting the new door. Some old door frames will fall into your waiting arms, others need a small nuclear weapon to remove. Like most things you never know the horror at hand until you get it opened up. Those cases where the exterior casing removal is impossible with leave you humble.

The worse case scenario is where a contractor assumes the replacement is a standard cut and dried type job, only to find out it is one mean critter that will suck up many more manhours than budgeted. Lots of luck, some really bad surgery may take place.

My present house, three entry doors got replaced. All of them I knew where going to be problem child's going into the project. I came well prepared. None of them disappointed me. Even with the maximum preparation and care, they still managed to smack me good. The basement door actually ate up the better part of four days to install, bushwacked me good once it was fully opened up. Front door house framing was off in all directions, X, Y & Z, plus the exterior casing had to stay in place. Thank God, the good olde boys didn't even brother to nail it to the old frame. When it goes bad, usually it really goes brown. Today, I doubt anybody can tell there were a problem, no inspector would have any gripe, few peeps can even understand what was involved even if you point it out to them first hand. Do not assume all doors will go in without a struggle.

In the main, most door replacements are an easy day at the office. A high percentage go as planned without much fuss. It is that percentage that are abnormal that will really mess with your head. About like some of those in East Boston in them old row houses that were laid over during the hurricane of 36'. Don't go bidding any of those low.

To say the hardest part was the painting means a fellow has been lucky so far. It may not remain that way. Always check for the warning signs. If your head is saying this looks bad, run, do not walk. For a contractor it can be a very bad day, why even mess with it, too many other jobs to make a day's pay far more easy.

We still have no clue what the situation for the OP is. The good bet is, probably not a problem child, but look out if you are wrong.
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Old 11-28-2008, 08:04 PM
 
Location: Denver
3,250 posts, read 8,234,091 times
Reputation: 3208
I have had so much information presented here ! Thank you

The house was built in 1973. I still can't believe the entry door is hollow. But I guess it is what it is.

I haven't actually moved into the house. I close on the 3RD. So, I haven't had the chance to really check out the door installation as it stands now. And do some real measurements of everything.

I think I can figure this out....if I can rebuild and engine...I should be able to do a door

I will get some more info when I have it .
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Old 11-28-2008, 08:09 PM
 
Location: Denver
3,250 posts, read 8,234,091 times
Reputation: 3208
Default Pictures

Well, I have a few pictures from the walk throughs.



Attached Thumbnails
Installing a front door...-door.jpg   Installing a front door...-door2.jpg  
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Old 11-28-2008, 08:37 PM
 
Location: Floribama
18,383 posts, read 37,948,259 times
Reputation: 17806
Can you show a close up pic where the siding(vinyl?) meets the door frame? Hopefully you won't have to mess with that.

Most modern doors are hollow core, but they are strong and filled with foam insulation. My advice is to get a fiberglass one, they're very strong and they won't dent like the steel ones. Most of the time it's easier to go ahead and replace the whole unit, just make sure the holes for the knob and deadbolt are on the correct side. Another word of advice, get some long four inch screws for the hinges and striker plate, don't waste your time with the wimpy things that come with the unit and knob set.
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Old 11-28-2008, 09:01 PM
 
Location: central Maine
3,342 posts, read 2,581,789 times
Reputation: 26491
Save yourself the time buy a new one. Probably easier to install. Seems your in colder climate you'll not have to worry about drafts. Your time is worth something also.
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Old 11-28-2008, 09:23 PM
 
3,020 posts, read 24,896,033 times
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Default Yep, you got the problem

The type of installations you get to hate.

There may or may not be an external casing. But that J-Channel is probably nailed directly into the door frame. Puppy is up real close and personal.

You can solve it by popping the siding back for couple of feet, pulling the J-Channel. Allows you to remove the storm door, then the old frame. Just takes some time and you do have to use some care. Siding can break, especially if it has some age. As a contractor you hate it.

If you use some care and can put the siding back exact, must be careful not to mark it. Many times they never look quite right after. Enough for me to turn down those type jobs, if I had something better to do.

Other than that, looks like a normal replacement. Might use some care in removal of the interior casing, try to reuse it. Lil paint up, all set.

There is another option but in this case might not be available. You can also split out the old frame. I have an old bowed one piece steel hatchet that I use, pounding it a bit with a hammer. Then levering pieces out. Then you clip off nails but in this case, I would try siding removal. Never that pleasant a project, never feel you got paid enough. The downside is the siding never sits down like it did before, in theory it should, in practice sometimes it has a mind of its own.

Last edited by Cosmic; 11-28-2008 at 09:34 PM..
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Old 11-29-2008, 11:08 AM
 
Location: Houston, Texas
10,439 posts, read 47,501,275 times
Reputation: 10539
Quote:
Originally Posted by wankel7 View Post
I have had so much information presented here ! Thank you

The house was built in 1973. I still can't believe the entry door is hollow. But I guess it is what it is.

I haven't actually moved into the house. I close on the 3RD. So, I haven't had the chance to really check out the door installation as it stands now. And do some real measurements of everything.

I think I can figure this out....if I can rebuild and engine...I should be able to do a door

I will get some more info when I have it .
Im glad you showed us the pictures so we can see what your talking about.

You have a flush lauan door. The fact that it is hollow suggests it is an interior door since a hollow core exterior door meets no local or state building codes anywhere in America. The door jambs appear in ok condition in the pic. So if your trying to save a few pennies just buy a solid core door blank (not prehung). 1973 might not be old enough to be some strange size. If it is then you can just shave it with a planer. If you shave it dont forget there is a bevel on one edge that must be maintined.

Any door you buy will have a hinge side and a lockset side. To the naked eye you cant tell. But if you turn the door to look at the top or bottom side you will see a black stamp that says BEVEL. That will be the lockset side. The short point will be on the door stop side (outside in your case) and the longpoint will be on the same side as the hinges which is inside the house. So yes a door has an outside and an inside. A door must have the short point of the bevel on the door stop molding side or it will rub and not close properly.

When you are buying a new door blank you can avoid several of the problems we all mentioned here already. One being lining up the hinge holes and 2 lining up the lockset bore. If you have 3" hinges then buy 4' hinges as this will cover any damage of the smaller hinges. Attach them to the door jambs first. Oh yea for your solid door you MUST have 3 hinges, not 2. Then place the door inside the opening and prop it up till the gap is an eigth inch at the top. Now pencil the back of the door where the hindges are touching it. Also pencil the back of the hinge soyou know where to inset them on the door edge.

Next is look through the gap on the lockset side. Find your stricker plate on the door jamb. Guess your dead center of it and place a pencil mark on the door face. When you open the box of the lockset it will have a template which has a center line that you will line up with this pencil mark.

Chisel out the hindge groove and use half the hinge as a guide while your chiseling for your depth. you will attach half the hinge to the jamb and the other haf on the door. So if you do it right then when you place the door in the opening it should fit and just stick the hinge pins in.

For the lockset, it comes with good instructions. You will need a 2 1/8" hole saw and a 1" paddle bit for the stricker hole. You will need a very sharp quality 1" chisel and a hammer. No Chinese made Walmart tools work here, they never do.

Rather then a boring ol flush door may I recomend a 6 panel colonial pine? Steel doors are energy efficient and popular but also boring and the steel door gives you no flexability if you need to shave it. Maybe a nice pine door with an oval glass or 3 lite with alternate sets. The glass in doors are called lites. Even if it is just one glass with a grill it will be called by the number of lites.

I just thought of someting else. If you do indeed have a hollow core door then your door stop molding might have to be replaced too. A hollow core door is 1 3/8" thick and a solid core door is 1 3/4" thick. No big deal but you will have to replace the door stop molding. Im guessing your old molding cant be moved without destroying it.

Hope this dont confuse you more but rather helps you out.
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Old 12-02-2008, 12:04 PM
 
Location: Visitation between Wal-Mart & Home Depot
8,307 posts, read 37,115,148 times
Reputation: 7146
Quote:
Originally Posted by wankel7 View Post
Well, moving into my first house in a few days

The front door is a hollow core one. So, I would like to replace that.

Is it possible to just find a door on craigslist that matches the dimensions and put it in there?

Am I missing something because that seem way to simple.

Thanks!
Unless you are exceptionally unlucky, your front entry door will be either 3-0 or 2-8 (which is to say 3 feet, zero inches or 2 feet, eight inches). If this is the case, there should be no reason why you could not swap out the door slab with another of similar dimensions. Be absolutely certain that you get a door of the same thickness. Again, unless you are exceptionally unlucky your door should be 1 3/8" or 1 3/4" thick. Exterior doors are usually 1 3/4", but if you have a hollow core it may be 1 3/8". They are not very interchangeable, so make sure you get that right the first time.

The test of your carpentry skills will be mortising the hinges for the new door to get it to operate properly. Be ready for some bitter frustration if you haven't done this before. You can do it, but it will be a learning experience.

EDIT: If you decide to buy a pre-hung unit for installation, be aware that hanging a doorframe square and plumb in an older house can be easier than mortising hinges on a new doorslab, but it can also be a real nightmare. Older houses often settle into a configuration that, while still structurally sound, is not exactly an ideal learning environment for the budding DIY carpenter. The big box stores will sometimes have classes on tiling, carpentry, etc. etc., you may want to attend one of these covering door installation. While Home Depot or Lowe's employees generally know less about the procedures than you do, the people teaching these classes are usually pretty knowledgeable. It helps immensely to see someone do it before you try it yourself.

Last edited by jimboburnsy; 12-02-2008 at 12:14 PM..
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Old 12-02-2008, 10:21 PM
 
3,020 posts, read 24,896,033 times
Reputation: 2786
Default Yeah, but........

You got one of them situations with no good choices.

Yeah, you can get a new solid door and attempt to rehang it in the old frame. But I doubt it will be that easy. That threshold also looks a bit thin, ain't all the best looking. Plus you normally don't just mess around with the hinge placements, there is also some work with a block plane to get it to all fit reasonably well. Hopefully it is a tad oversized, got a bit of material to work with. Fit is never really that good on an external door. Mess around with shim inserts on the jams, naw...... never that good a fit.

I did a lot of them as interior doors. Was common in old New England shacks on major remodels to try to replace some interior doors if they were in bad shape. We had tons of old doors, was good money in replacing with period used doors but again you got into the joys of rehanging it in the existing frame. That could work and you got a workable fit, didn't have to seal, sloppy fit was ok. Wasn't too bad if they got painted and covered up all the sins.

The alternative of replacing with a prehung door could be an all day job. Just the work to get the old frame out. I might pull the interior casing and see what that can tell you. Does it look like there is an exterior casing under that siding? If so, that gives something for the storm door and siding to hang on too temporary while the old frames gets pulled. That is a ton of work to mess around with the siding, pull the storm door and do it the normal way. Might try to split out the old frame first, it can be done, leave the storm door in place. Slip the new prehung frame in the best possible. Seeing what the rough opening and how that old frame is in there would be nice to know before even buying a new door. I would avoid messing with that siding if at all possible. Being pulled up over that storm door flange is the worse scenario you can get.

Anywho that would be my approach. You never love those jobs. Sure do not want to do them for money. Same with my present basement door, knew it was going to be a bear going into it. Yeah, it sure was, four days later it was installed all ship shape and Bristol. You never enjoy the experience. Pack a lunch, bring the full tool bag.
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