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Front Door - Costs and installation?
Old 12-18-2006, 08:36 PM   #1
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Front Door - Costs and installation?

It's around that time of the year for gift giving. I'm not too much for all that commercialism and getting gifts that are useless or out of style in the next year... My brother just bought a house that's a little worn. He needs a new front door as it's as cold inside as outside. You can feel wind coming in the bottom.

How much does a decent door cost? I'm looking at Lowes and it goes from $150-$400. Is there a specific type of door to get? Do all types of doors work with storm doors? Hah, I wonder if it will be easy to install, or should we let a pro do it since without a door it'll be mighty cold inside... Do they even install doors in the winter? Does the wood frame shrink and change size bc its so cold?

While i'm at it, maybe i;ll get him a storm door too. He deserves it...

Any advice here?
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Re: Front Door - Costs and installation?
Old 12-18-2006, 08:38 PM   #2
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Re: Front Door - Costs and installation?

Only advice I can give is to pay for the pros to do the install at this time of year. Oh yeah, you can adopt me as a sister!
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Re: Front Door - Costs and installation?
Old 12-18-2006, 11:16 PM   #3
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Re: Front Door - Costs and installation?

When I did it, I got a pre-hung steel door (which is insulated). Pre-hung makes it easier to yank the old door out and level up the outside frame with shims. I had help from the wife's friend's dad, who is a carpenter. I had him on "retainer" in case things got ugly after old door removal.

Spent 16 hours hanging four doors at a leasurely pace, breaks for coffee, lunch, etc. Everything went relatively smoothly in Nov.

For two storm doors (slightly spendier models with "internal screens") and two pre-hung steel doors, I spent right around $1k at Lowe's. Don't know what they charge for installation, but maybe $50-100 would be worth it, to me, for the steel door and the storm door. Doubt it's that cheap, though.

Door installation is pretty easy if the opening is relatively level, and plumb, correctly sized, etc. You can just pop off the inside trim and saw off the old nails provided you have a 10" reciprocating saw (Sawz-all, etc.). Put the new door in, shim it (level/plumb), and nail it in.

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Re: Front Door - Costs and installation?
Old 12-19-2006, 12:08 AM   #4
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Re: Front Door - Costs and installation?

Don't just shop at Home Depot, if there are window and door stores in your community look there too.

There is a style issue here, as well as serviceability. Were I you I would give him a check payable to the vendor of your choice in an amount you can spend for a new door. If he finds something at another place tell him to give you the check back and you will re-write it.

You can spend as much money as you want on a door , but it should be strong and well insulated at a minimum. Don't overlook the hardware (which should be pre-drilled by the door provider if possible).
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Re: Front Door - Costs and installation?
Old 12-19-2006, 07:50 AM   #5
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Re: Front Door - Costs and installation?

The only time I've had an exterior door replaced was in Florida and South Carolina. Down there wood rots quickly so that was out. The steel doors are good except when you run over a rock and chip the finish and don't realize it. The sides of many of the doors are wood and I defer to my earlier comment about wood. So I went with an entirely fiberglass door in Florida and a all metal one in South Carolina. It was a little more expensive, but I didn't have to worry about it rotting out. I liked the metal ones because they had the magnetic weather stripping. As soon as I had the metal ones installed, I installed screen doors or they were next to a deck so they wouldn't be hit by anything while I was mowing.

I always pay for someone to install my exterior doors and windows. The way I figure it is if they leak I can go yell at someone and demand the problem and water damage is fixed. The most I've paid to have a door installed was $250.
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Re: Front Door - Costs and installation?
Old 12-19-2006, 09:53 PM   #6
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Re: Front Door - Costs and installation?

Thanks for the advice...

Haha Connie. You can be my sister... My brother has been very good to me growing up. I wish I could help him with his lifestyle though. He does spend alot of money and I wish he spent it on "better" things.

I do see steel and wood doors. I assume steel is better since they cost more. I think we will definitely go with a pro installation. We'll have to get the door installed while no one is home since its wintertime... Or should we wait till the sun is shining to install it? It's not too cold yet.

Depending on the bill, maybe we can get a replacement storm door... Or if I could only afford one, which one would be best to replace? I think next are the windows, but I don't make that much of a income. In fact I don't make much at all. Just thinking about comfort.
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Re: Front Door - Costs and installation?
Old 12-19-2006, 11:20 PM   #7
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Re: Front Door - Costs and installation?

I am glad your brother was good to you over the years. That is important. New door is great for him for a holiday gift. Windows can be very pricey to redo. You might want to look at a Saturday caulking party instead. That cost is mainly for the time and not expensive per say. Sometimes doing too much for others encourages them to not plan for the future. Tread carefully on the spending of money but liberal on the spending of time. That way yopu both learn a bit more of the home mtc stuff which saves $ over time.

Your Sister Crazy Connie

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Re: Front Door - Costs and installation?
Old 12-20-2006, 12:40 AM   #8
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Re: Front Door - Costs and installation?

get an INSULATED metal door, professionally installld. i advise against HD or lowes installation...look in a phone book u nder 'doors' and call away. you will likely get the best deal on materials at the box stores, but save 50% or more by seeking your own pro

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Re: Front Door - Costs and installation?
Old 12-20-2006, 04:40 AM   #9
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Re: Front Door - Costs and installation?

Make sure you prime and paint the metal door with primer and paint made specifically for metal. (Once rust starts there's a problem).

I go with the professional installation. It's not too hard to install and square out the door, but they are heavy and bulky and most carpenters I work with will bring a helper and get the job done pretty quickly.
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Re: Front Door - Costs and installation?
Old 12-20-2006, 10:35 AM   #10
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Re: Front Door - Costs and installation?

Windows.... after the roof windows are the next major source of leakage.  Proper flashing is critical.  Sheryl, do you have a good link for window flashing?  Too many installers take shortcuts. 

A pin size hole in caulking can cause a leak, and caulking lasts only a few years.

(typo fixed)
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Re: Front Door - Costs and installation?
Old 12-20-2006, 10:55 AM   #11
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Re: Front Door - Costs and installation?

Are you sure the current door can't be fixed? If you can feel the wind coming in the bottom, perhaps all you need is a new threshold or a proper skirt and weather stripping. If the door itself is in good shape and closes well, you could find it much more rewarding to fix it than replace it.

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Re: Front Door - Costs and installation?
Old 12-22-2006, 05:09 PM   #12
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Re: Front Door - Costs and installation?

Hmmm... never thought about that maybe it doesnt need a new door, but just some "fixing." That would save LOTS of money. Probably fix the problem that would be there anyway like insulation of the frame.

I'm going to look into this threshold /skirt / weather stripping thing. Any advice?

Haha, how would that look though? Like if I was going to buy you a new tv,, but here's a soldering iron and some pcb boards... fix away!
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Re: Front Door - Costs and installation?
Old 12-22-2006, 06:39 PM   #13
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Re: Front Door - Costs and installation?

I would appreciate that unless it was a weak bandaid to worn out item. What you save today is there for tomorrow. And since you have some money left over that you were going to spend on me anyway... Why not a modest treat? Bottle of wine, modest dinner out... All is good if it costs me nothing and improves my situation.
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Re: Front Door - Costs and installation?
Old 12-22-2006, 09:11 PM   #14
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Re: Front Door - Costs and installation?

I didn't even think about fixing it until Al brought it up, but we had the same problem with the wind and bugs coming in under the door in Florida. We put a new weatherstripping on under the door as a stop gap measure until we could replace the door. The weather strip lasted I think two years before it started to rip, but it was still effective until we replaced the door.
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Re: Front Door - Costs and installation?
Old 12-23-2006, 04:38 PM   #15
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Re: Front Door - Costs and installation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thefed
i advise against HD or lowes installation...
Home Depot's subcontractors replaced two of our doors and the work was rather marginal. We had to re-do some of the trim and install some wood under the door's threshold to shore it up and keep it from flexing. If you decide to replace the doors, pay the extra bucks and get some real professionals, instead of the "two guys with a truck" from the big box stores.
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Re: Front Door - Costs and installation?
Old 12-24-2006, 06:09 PM   #16
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Re: Front Door - Costs and installation?

If there's a big gap under the door, or if you have carpeting that a skirt would rub against, you can buy a special skirt that moves down when you close the door. That is, a little lever moves it down like a guillotine when you close the door all the way.
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