We’ve now lived in our 1820 Federal-style house in western New York for 10 years, and in this blog I’ve documented some of the projects I’ve worked on. (A fence, a porch, another porch, yet another porch, some shelves.)
We have two doors out of the basement, one of which is sealed up. I’ve always hated both of them, especially the one going out by what we call the corner garden on the western side of the house. The screen door was in very bad shape and out of kilter, the threshold was worn, the door hardware was in bad shape, and water came into the basement when it rained. What’s not to love?
In the last couple of weeks I’ve been working to fix all these problems. In this entry I’m going to describe the fixes to the door frame and door itself and in the next I’ll describe how I built a new storm door by recycling an extra 100+ year old screen door I had in the basement.
First, the photos, which I’ll refer to as Photos 1, 2, and 3 from left to right:
In Photo 1 we join the job in progress. I’ve already removed and disposed of the screen door. This side of the house is due for a paint job in a year or two, but the area around the door was in particularly bad shape, so I scraped it thoroughly. You can see that the threshold needed work. What was there were two boards, one horizontal which was the threshold itself and a vertical board in front of it. Both needed to go.
In Photo 2, the siding has been caulked and primed and a new threshold is in place. The horizontal board is a 1×8 that has been cut to width and notched to be inserted from inside the house. The vertical piece is a pressure treated 1×6 that has been cut to width. I installed it closer to the door jamb molding than the previous piece to help keep water away and to make a tighter fit for the storm door I will eventually build and install. The glazing on the window needed some minor repairs.
Though you can’t see it from this external shot, I removed the two ancient deadbolts and handle on the inside and replaced them with newer and stronger models. I also painted the inside of the door with a white exterior semi-gloss enamel, covering up some of the ugliest green paint I’ve ever seen. The threshold was painted with a gloss exterior latex enamel after being first spray painted with a stain blocking non-latex primer.
In Photo 3, the siding has been painted with its final coat of satin exterior latex paint and the door has received its first coat of gloss exterior latex enamel. It will receive the final coat of green when the storm door is in place and I can leave the inner door open while the paint dries. I can’t leave it open for long now for fear that one of our cats will try to exit or a neighborhood cat, squirrel, fox, deer, skunk, raccoon, or chipmunk will try to enter.
While I was repairing the door and waiting for the caulking and paint to dry at various stages, I began work on the storm door. Projects such as this have tens if not hundreds of small to large steps, but you need to think about what parts of the overall job can be done in parallel. You also have to map out what you can do right now so that you can do something else in an hour, at lunch, after work, or over the weekend. This is especially true for tasks involving glue, wood filler, and paint.