Exterior Door Replacement

Questions and answers relating to houses built in the 1800s and before.

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Daryle27
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 8:32 pm

Exterior Door Replacement

Post by Daryle27 »

Hello all. New to the forum but it looks helpful. I have a home built in 1889 in Colorado. I would like to replace an entry door with a more secure and more weather tight door. The challenge is the current door slab measures 74" x 34" I have had 3 contractors basically tell me it can not be replaced. That they do not make doors that size. I get the feeling I am just asking the wrong people. So right now I am just looking for ideas on where to get help.Winter is approaching and I thought this would be simple.

Thanks in advance.

Tom
Posts: 371
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2003 1:10 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Post by Tom »

Yea, sounds like you have asked folks with little or no experience with old homes. Old homes do have unusual sizes - they are typically bigger. My front door is something like that, too. 36" wide, some 70 something high.

There are number of manufacturers for older homes. http://www.craftsmandoors.com comes to mind. Check the emporium section of this web site.

If that does not work, you may need to get custom made door.

Keep in mind it typically needs little work to weatherize your old door, also.
Tom

al_roethlisberger
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Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2006 6:33 pm
Location: Sanford, NC
Contact:

Post by al_roethlisberger »

I agree, you are just talking to the "wrong people" :wink:

It is true that you likely can't get that sized door off the shelf at your local big-box-home-improvement store, but even they probably have a vendor that will make just about anything, for a price :?

But, I know that if you do some Googling, or just call around to folks that build doors, cabinetry, etc... there is someone that can and does build doors from scratch.

I know, as I finally found someone in my locale that will recreate my 4 carriage house doors from scratch.

Good luck!

Al

P.S.

I also agree that unless the door just isn't structurally repairable, you can likely make your current door weather-tight, and as secure, as any modern door... while preserving the heritage of the original door. You might just look into what it would take to repair what you've got. I know it would be much cheaper to repair than replace. I wish I could have repaired my rotted carriage house doors. (i.e. each of my carriage house doors, which are just a little bigger, are going to cost about $1300 each, and they aren't anything fancy)
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James
Posts: 1640
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2005 8:36 pm
Location: Rural Eastern North Carolina

Door

Post by James »

Yea, custom made is what you will likely need. Tho you might be able to find something a bit larger than u need and cut it down. But I also agree, are you sure you need to replace and can't repair. I started out thinking I had to replace two wooden storm doors. Cost was 700-750 a piece. Ended up taking my old doors, screwing in oak 1 x 3's on the inside(doesn't look too bad) to hold the old tempered glass inserts permanently in place. Trim on the outside to hide that fact that the glass was originally an insert, and new double cylinder deadbolt locks. Had to modify the keepers to get them to work on a inward swinging door, but all that required was a hacksaw and a bit of time on my part. Cost for two doors, which now lock with double cylinder locks, about $100. Are they as secure as new doors would be. Close but probably not. Would even the new doors stop a determined burgler, not likely. For a savings of about 1400 I still at least have storm doors I can lock when I leave the house now.
Sounds like the folks you've been talking too aren't particularly knowledgable or else they would be offering to custom make doors, or suggesting someone they know who DOES do that. If thier not doing that sounds like they either don't WANT to deal with you or are not knowledgeable enough to know who does custom make doors. Ethier way, you don't want to deal with them.
Locust Quarter, circa 1770 Georgian Gambrel roofed cottage.

Don M
Posts: 6965
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2003 11:35 am
Location: Boiling Springs, PA

Post by Don M »

As others suggested, if the door is salvagable try that first. Another alternative is a salvage warehouse; I think there are several in Denver & Colorado Springs. Perhaps you can find an antique door salvaged from a razed local home that you can install if yours is shot. That would be even better and probably less expensive than a new custom door. Good Luck, Don
1840 Limestone Farmhouse
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The Gingerbread Man
Posts: 175
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 11:15 am
Location: Placerville, CA, USA
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Post by The Gingerbread Man »

This is where the CUSTOM beast raises its ugly head.
We have customers come in that want a specific "woodever" thing to fit their application. We give them a price and they get a shocked look ""I can get one at "bigbox" for 99.99 why do you want 1100.00""
Ours will fit and function.

Tom
Posts: 371
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2003 1:10 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Post by Tom »

You did not mention the condition of your current door, but if it is original to the house, then you have old growth wood. Old wood is much more dense than current wood. It will take much more beating than modern wood.
Tom

Don M
Posts: 6965
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2003 11:35 am
Location: Boiling Springs, PA

Post by Don M »

Boy, old vs new wood is so true. I have the original shutters, probably 150 years old, on my house and still in mostly good condition. I also have a few sets of "new" shutters 40 years old which are totally rotting away! Don
1840 Limestone Farmhouse
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Daryle27
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 8:32 pm

Post by Daryle27 »

Thanks everyone for your replies, it is helpful. I do not believe the door is the original. This house has had some additions over the years and I think the original entry door is now a bathroom door.

The door in question is half glass. So it would be easy to break and open the door. It is in pretty sad shape. I am open to custom door but have yet to find someone local. I even checked a local millwork shop and they do not do custom. Said I could buy a bigger door and cut it down. An option I am ok with but would rather have someone with more experience do. I am ok with paying for a quality custom job as long as I know the end result is what I am looking for.

This home is defiantly one of the older homes in our town and it was a homesteader's house so it is pretty basic and was most likely built really fast so they would have shelter while they built a better home. It was basically a rectangle with a stove in the middle. And since there are not many I think that makes it a challenge to find contactors that want to deal with the challenges a home this age brings.

Thanks again everyone. I am glad I found this site. Most people think we are crazy for buying such an old home in a new and growing town like ours, so it is good to find a community of old home owners.

BobG
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Location: Shelbyville (Mayberry) , KY
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Post by BobG »

It's times like this that I wish I had taken some "before" pictures of our front door. It looked like no one had loved it for 50 yrs, was in rough shape, had extra holes drilled in it for deadbolt locks, and had lots of extra screw holes from the hasps that had been installed over the years. Here are some pics of what it became with a little work and repair:

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We went from a SOLID douglas fir 8 panel door that was very secure to one that was pretty much old pine and was half glass. is it as secure? NO. but .. We have sidelights on both sides of the door that are 30" wide, and could easily be broken. Am I worried about someone breaking in? no. Perhaps I'm a bit naive in that area ... Or perhaps I have other venues of security...

Is your neighborhood such that people would break into the house? If so, then I guess you'll need to get to your local salvage yard and see what you can find. remember that if it's SLIGHTLY larger, you can cut it down. if it's MUCH larger, you MAY be able to cut it down. (our old door may be able to be cut down to a 74" tall door, as it is 90 x 36.
Square, Plumb, or Level ... Pick two.
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