Save money building your own ext. door!

Our first project on our to-do list was to install a new exterior door into the back of the house where a piece of plywood originally hung when we bought the place. There was only one way into the house and that was through the basement…well one normal way. Some of the windows won’t close tight and there is no lock on the front sliding glass doors! Who would put sliding glass doors in the front of their house anyways? Also, if one wanted in bad enough there is a nice sized whole in the roof now above the room I’ve chosen for my own. Rain and snow have been trickling into where I imgaine my head will one day lay.

Anyway, we screwed shut and covered tight every other way into the house and immediately began our first project as recent homeowners: installing a door. I thought this would be the most simple of all our major projects and it still likely may be, but I nevertheless grossly underestimated my options and the amount of work and sometimes money (depending on your taste) involved.

As soon as we signed the papers and received a copy of our new deed (which I am framing by the way), I had planned to make a quick stop at Lowe’s to purchase the least expensive door and locks possible and have it up in a jiffy because afterall my husband is a contractor and I know he’s done this a thousand times for many clients in half a days time. The cheapest door was ofcourse a very plain, primed steel door with no window and absolutley no character what-so-ever. I wanted to conserve money but I am female and we like pretty things! My mother-in-law always says, “Don’t you want things to be nice?” It used to drive my husband crazy, but I had to ask, “Kenney, don’t you want things in our new house to be nice?”

So he inquired of me exactly what I had in mind for our door IF money was no obsticle. We walked up and down the isles not even looking at the prices printed everywhere when my eyes finally beheld the door of my dreams…literally. I cried “That’s it!! That’s the door! and my husband cried “No, noooo, nooo!! It can’t be!”. It was made of solid, dark cherry wood with a great big oval glass and beatiful decorative carvings in the wood. The sticker read over $3,000. It must have come with golden ecthed sidelites or something I wasn’t seeing. Anyways, I knew we couldn’t afford THAT door because as Kenney kept repeating over and over again, we weren’t the Rockefellers.

Even though we couldn’t buy that door I still couldn’t bring myself to purchase the only door we could afford after envisioning what I wanted everything to look like. We left and drove around to a few other home stores and local hardware shops before learning about a World Vision Center in the next town with a large selection of inexpensive doors that you could purchase if you were willing to frame them yourself. We bought a very similure solid, dark cherry wood door I fell in love with (oval glass and all), purchased a do-it-yourself frame kit at The HomeDepot along with a  threshhold, and brick moulding for trimming out the exterior of the door, and all of the treated wood required for re-studding arounding the door, all for $25 less than the cost of buying that plain, steel door.

We had to invest a couple more days work into a project that could have been done in just a few hours for cutting the previous opening bigger, studding the walls around the door, building the frame, adding the henges to the door, hanging the door, nailing up the brick moulding, putting down the threshhold, and repairing all of the siding. Luckily we had a friend with us there part of the time to ease the workload and provide us with good company. With a little extra work and time we not only saved money but ended up with a more beautiful finished product.

To anyone else it’s just a door, but to us it is so much more. I will look at it everyday I am in my kitchen with a sense of pride of it’s beauty that we made possible together on a ridiculously low budget. My kids will run in and out of it for the next who knows how many years with a sense of security going from and coming to a home that is ours. It is all part of a dream come true…

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