When last we discussed the front door, it was last October and we were deciding on a shade of purple for the front and side garage doors, and getting the new doors underway. We decided on a door color and hardware style, ordered, painted, and installed the side door, and after debating the relative merits of steel vs. fiberglass, and various styles, we also ordered the front door.
We expected the new front door to come in November, and we were hoping to paint and install it before the freezing winter months came. I was hoping for that partly because it irritated me to see one purple door and one red door when I came home, and partly because the red front door was really pretty terrible, by which I mean thermally inefficient and also unsightly, what with its yellowed plastic window frame, etc.
Since it was something I was hoping to get done on some kind of schedule, you can guess how that actually went down. Like a lead balloon.
The door we picked out was a Jeld-Wen steel six-light craftsman style door. I like the craftsman style, and I thought this was about as far in that direction as we could get away with putting on our 1980s fauxlonial. We ordered it from Curtis Lumber in Delmar, and at 8+ months out now, I don’t even remember the whole saga, just that it was awful. First it was delayed, then when it came it was wrong, then the replacement was also delayed, then when it arrived it also wasn’t as-ordered. You get my drift. By that time it was late December, the door was a month+ late, it was still wrong, and even if we were inclined to install a new door that wasn’t what we ordered, temperatures had fallen to only sometimes being above 10*F. We declined delivery and decided to shelve the whole project until spring. Annoying.
In any event, spring eventually came, even though there were weeks when I thought it might not. We ordered a new door, this time a fiberglass Therma Tru version of the same style:
from GNH Lumber in Greene County. They were much more helpful, and as it turned out, they had us order a different size (depth) door frame than Curtis had. (Now that the door is installed, I can confirm that GNH’s size was the correct one.)
The door spent a few weeks on saw horses in the living room being drilled and painted.
The door came pre-drilled for the door knob and deadbolt, but we needed to drill the third, 3/8″ hole for the bottom end of the handle set we picked out. Not a big deal on a fiberglass door. We chose Schlage handle sets and knobs in oil rubbed bronze for the entry doors, to match the exterior light fixtures.
We already knew we were going with SW Dewberry paint to match the side door, so that part was easy. The painting itself took some time; primer then 3 coats per side, plus a week or so of drying time between sides before flipping it over. Originally I had planned to paint the outside purple and the inside white like the current door. But then I thought about how bland our entry space is, with all its neutrals, and how really bland it would be when we finally get rid of the green carpet on the stairs. So we decided to go wild and paint both sides Dewberry. I am eventually going to order a print (or a stretched canvas? or something?) for the foyer wall of this photo from our trip to Italy a few years ago:
to match the door. But I digress.
So, finally!, the door was purple’d and ready to install. We took the old door and frame out, no problem.
But when we went to install the new one, we discovered the hard way that although the measurements of the door frame was the same “size” as the old door frame, the frame was 1/4″ (or less) wider than the old door frame. When installed, the brick facade on the house was squeezing the door frame so that, with great force, we could get the pre-hung door frame in place, but the door wouldn’t open and close once it was there. Now what?
So began a tense week or two, since door issues meant we couldn’t readily lock and secure the house. We got the door in place temporarily, locked it, and just used the garage until we could figure it out. After some trial & error, we bought a grinder and a masonry blade to grind down the bricks along the sides of the doorway. About 1/8″ to 1/4″ needed to come off each one on average, some more, some less. There were several days of brick grinding and dust-generating. It was awful. We had red brick dust everywhere. When we were done I washed walls, I vacuumed it up from the 2nd floor, I washed it from the living room couch slip cover, I brushed it off the dogs, the light fixtures, the bannisters, the dining room table… I mean it was everywhere. In any event, we eventually got the bricks ground, the door in, and it kind of, sort of, worked.
The bricks were no longer the problem, but the upper vertical edge of the door was still rubbing and sticking badly. You can see near the top where the purple paint was already being rubbed off (which hurt my heart, after all the weeks of careful painting!) A level confirmed that the door and frame were perfectly square, and the door was rubbing in exactly the same place the old red door used to rub. Go figure.
Since we were able to lock the door and secure the house, we gave up on making it work ourselves and called in the big guns. My parents came to visit for the weekend, and the boys went to work. I honestly don’t know what magic they worked on the wood framing of the wall, but my door opens and closes with ease now. All I know is that it involved adjusting the wood framing, and it was done very precisely, just like everything else my dad does. The same fix would’ve helped the old door, had we done it sooner.
So yay! Now we have our purple front door, and it opens and closes smoothly. It was actually finished in about April, but better late than never on the blog post.
The purple is tough to take a good picture of, under the porch roof. This photo, from a bike-bath day, shows the color a little better in the sun:
I still need to paint the step below the door, probably purple (since white would show everything), but that’s the story on the front door! It makes it really easy to give directions to our house – golden retriever on the mailbox and a purple door, you can’t miss it! We also painted the interior trim white and re-affixed it, but we’ll get to the inside of the foyer soon (I promise!).