My buddy brought his truck, so after work we headed to Lowes to pick up the new door. It took a while for them to bring the door out and when I looked at it, I said it wouldn’t work. The pre-hung door swung the wrong way. According to a website I had found I needed a ‘right hand’ door. That’s what the guy brought. But apparently I needed a ‘left hand’ door. Right hand-left hand. Maybe the definitions change from company to comany, but the way Lowes does it, is if you standing OUTSIDE the door (the door opens away from you), which side are the hinges on…so if the hinges are on the left side, it is a left hand door, and if the hinges are on the right side, then it is a right hand door.
So the guy took the RH door back, and brought back a LH door. We loaded the door into my buddy’s Suburban (a tight fit), and took it home.
I took off the old door which took about half an hour. I got out my shop vac, and vacuumed up all of the door that was under th threshold. I found an old quarter. It was a 1981 quarter, and the house was built in 1977. So maybe it wasn’t the original door, or maybe the quarter slid under there somehow.
The flooring under the door wasn’t level, so with some scrap pieces of hardboard I leveled it. I had a small level, and a 4 foot level. So I headed to the Home Depot, and bought a 2 foot level. The floor seemed pretty close to level. I went do the caulk, and found the caulk gun had a landscaping caulk in it, and the ram part was glued in place. I struggled with it trying to get it loose, but only got it loose when the thing broke apart. I sent my wife to the Home Depot to buy a new one since she is the the one who left the othe cartridge on it. With new caulk gun in hand, I put down some caulk, and put the door up into place.
The first think I noticed was that the framing around the door was not straight, and there was no room to move the door to either side. From the inside, the top left side of the door frame was against the stud. The bottom right side of the frame was against a stud. The was a little gap on the bottom left side, and a large gap of almost an inch on the upper right.
I start shimming around the frame, but as I would shim here, the door would tighten against the frame there, so I would loosen the shim. There were countless trips from my garage, outside, and through the front door. When I thought I had the door fairly well shimmed, I carefully opened the door, and got ready screw through the shims via the empty screw hole in the hinges. I then noticed the vacant holes are the ones at the top of the hinges, and not one of the ones in the middle like the drawing in the instructions suggest. I had lined the shims up with the middle of the hinges. Grrrrr. I closed the door, pulled the shims and re-shimmed the hinge side. I seemed to have a relatively uniform gap around the door. I opened the door, and set the screws through the hinges. I then noticed my gap between the door and lock side of the fram disappeared, and I couldn’t close the door smoothly. grrr. I screwed in a couple screws on the side of the frame thinking it it would puul the frame over, but no such luck. I noticed also the gap on top of the door was tight. I messed with it a while, and gave up. I pulled the screws, and pulled the door, and decided to start over.
I rechecked the the sill, and added another piece of hardboard hoping the bring that side of the door up to fix the tight gap on the top of the door. I rechecked with level, and it looked good. Re-caulked, and put door into place. I began to shim the door. I didn’t want to shim to door too tightly, and leave the door too tight in the frame. When I thought I had the door shimmed properly, I opened the door, and was began to drive screws through the shims, only to have the shims start spinning out of place. I closed the door, reset the shims, and had my wife hold them as I made ready to drive the screws. Now I noticed that because the shims were kinda of lose, the door frame had come away from the wall. Now began a fight of keeping the door frame against the wall when I opened the door. I finally won this fight by really wedging in the shims that are at the base of the door on either side. I reshimmed the door, and carefull opened the door, and manages to get the screws in. After each screw was in, I would close the door and check the gap. Finally I had the door in place and continued to screw the frame to the studs.
Now I noticed that there is gap between the drywall and the top of the door. Apparently the new door was slightly shorter than the old one. I have drywall work to do near the door anyway, so I am going to pull off a piece of drywall above the door, and put in a new piece that fits down behind the door frame. Not a big deal, but we currently have a small draft coming through there.
I installed the locksets. The door had spots notch out for the plates that go along the edge of the door, but the corners were rounded. I got my chisel out and squared them off so the my plates would fit. The strike plate was a little bent up, so I straightened it out with a hammer and a 2×4. I stilll have to chisel the notch for the dead bolt plates. The notch that was there was not nearly large enough. I also have to trim the shims, and shove insulation into the gaps. I then need to replace the trim around the inside of the door.
Tonight my plan is to work on the drywall and get it done. Then I can caulk around the door frame, and the drywall.
What a major pain in the butt! But if I look at the $300 I saved doing it myself, the half dozen hours doesn’t seem that bad.