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Hanging New Exterior Door

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by mrjohneel, Nov 27, 2013.

  1. mrjohneel

    mrjohneel Burning Hunk

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    I got blown in insulation this year and replaced storm windows to improve my 1928 house's efficiency, and now after that good work I want to replace my old, drafty, wooden front door and storm door. I've hung doors before and can do it, but since I have the funds I put it out to bid. Aside from the fact that two recommended carpenters did not show up at all (after they said they would) and two others said they are so busy they couldn't get to it until Spring 2014, the other bids have, I thought, been kind of outrageous. The frame does have to be rebuilt from its current odd size (38 x 83) to the standard 36 X 80. I will do the interior work -- that is, removing the existing moulding, patching the walls and replacing it. I told the contractors I'd buy and install the lockset. Even given that, the two bids I've received have been for $2800 and $3800. I'm looking at an Andersen or Pella or Larson full view stormdoor (approx $320 in Lowes) and a standard fiberglass exterior door. The bids seem high, no?

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  2. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    Reducing an opening isn't much work at all. Most of it comes from residing or drywalling the smaller opening but often this can be avoided by clever trim. You've only got two inches to fill so not a big problem. It should cost about a grand to pull the old door, re-rough the opening install the new one weathertight and sipose of the old door. (That's a ballpark). Add to that the cost of the door, screens and anything extra.


    Fiberglass doors are not cheap but they are pretty.
  3. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    That's ridiculous. Do it yourself.
    mithesaint likes this.
  4. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

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    Job is probably too small for them? So they just bid high enough that they don't get it or they do & make good money.
  5. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I need the back door replaced but more than $500 for labor ain't gonna happen.
  6. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    Exterior door, screen door, fix the siding patch and paint the drywall I don't think its too crazy to expect +/- a grand in labor, especially after you pull up the threshold to find the old door was hanging in space. Its a ballpark. If the installer is a real carpenter he could make his own molding to fill the gap and save some hours.

    What is the cost of the door?
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2013
  7. mrjohneel

    mrjohneel Burning Hunk

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    As I said, I'd do the interior work -- plaster and moulding. Screen (320), door (500-800, depending on what I choose).
  8. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    Seems high, but without seeing the job? Your firewood up there is over priced too.
  9. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    Does the quote include the lockset you will be installing?

    Not knowing your skill set I'd say if you're able to do the interior work you're capable of hanging the door yourself. Figure $1300-1500 for material and a grand for the total job, minus the cost of your work I'd say $2800 is a little on the high side. Getting the door home can be hardest part.
  10. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    That does sound high. We had both exterior doors done a few years ago for about $2.5k total (1200 doors, 500 locksets and other materials, rest labor), but the contractor I used was a close friend and gave me a break on labor... And I helped him install and did all the painting.

    Both doors where wood Simsons, back door a 9 lite prehung ( replacing an old outswing :( ) , front door a solid wood 6 panel. Hanging the front door alone took almost a day since it took a lot of work to get it to fit an unsquare 19th century opening, and we had to cut out and replace the rotten oak threshold..

    Since you have to rebuild the surround anyway, are you getting a prehung?
  11. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    Temporarily weatherize it best you can, and do it yourself come spring or summer.
    This ain't the time of year to have a door off for an extended period of time.

    Does the frame need to be rebuilt due to the odd size, or because its shot?
    If the framing is good, another option is to have a custom sized door made to fit the current opening. Then it is merely a matter of routing the hinges in and hanging it.
    BrotherBart likes this.
  12. Dave A.

    Dave A. Minister of Fire

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    Hate to be the party pooper here. But I'd reconsider reducing the front door size. It's part of the charm of that older house, those few inches in height and width set off the door. Granted a custom made door is going to be more expensive and it might not be feasible to fix the present door, but future owners will appreciate the effort. Not telling you not to do it, but at least think about it and maybe get some other opinions before you do it.

    Edit: plus those extra few inches can come in handy when moving things in and out.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2013
  13. Mr A

    Mr A Minister of Fire

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    Your framing sounds about right, I assume slight error in measurement? Most exterior entrance doors are 36"X80", finished opening. Are you confusing the inside of the jambs as framing? Don't forget the width of the door jambs and shim space, that is why your framing is not the same size as the door, it needs to be a few inches larger. Price seems high for a $320 door. Is it a pre-hung door?
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2013
  14. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    I had to new front door this summer. What normally is a time killer is the rework fo the sill that is requried frequently when the door is removed. I had to remove some interior flooring and replace a section of underlayment and a length of sill that was rotted due to long term leaks under the old door. If there are any signs of the that type of damage, then the quoted price is right on. It used to be that carpenters would bid low and then hit the homw owner up with a extra once the door was pulled and the damage was evident
  15. mrjohneel

    mrjohneel Burning Hunk

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    Just got back to this. The current door size is 38.5 x 83 so, yes, the rough opening is larger than that. To put in a new door, I would reduce that rough opening size to put in a standard size 36 x 80 door. Dave A., I understand your concerns or support for a non-standard door, but I think the full-view storm plus a new door will look ok on my house. Hogwildz, that's just what I did this wekend -- re-weatherstripped it and added a door sweep thing on the bottom that sealed it up well. I have hung doors in the past -- both external and internal -- and yes, that's my plan for the spring. Peakbagger, I replaced the threshold on my current door about 5 or 6 years ago. The framing I saw was in good shape. The current door HAS to go; it's panels are cracking. One other note: a Pella storm door costs $320 and they (Pella) advertise it as the easiest-to-install door in the industry; they say you can install it in 60 minutes. That's their estimate. (I've always found it takes longer.) Within the $3800 price they quoted me, was $800 to purchase and install the storm. So $800 minus the $320 door = $480 for labor, which Pella says should take one hour. Bottom line: I'm doing it next spring. Thanks for all the advice.
  16. mrjohneel

    mrjohneel Burning Hunk

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    OK, one other thing. Just talked to another contractor (who I like and have known) and he quoted me another high price but said, "Don't do it. Save your beautiful door." So, Dave A., you were right: it's worth keeping. I'm going to linseed oil it, etc., and see if I can save it. Thanks again.

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