New Door

One of the items on our long list of home upgrades to make was to replace our front door. We wanted to do this because the existing one was outdated and because it had a big window in the front. It seems to me that having a deadbolt isn't worth much if someone can easily break the window, reach in, and unlock it. Here's the old door:

This project was rather low on the priority list, but I went to a going-out-of-business sale at a hardware store that had a number of doors available at low prices. After learning that my existing door was left-handed (the knob is on the left if you are facing the door from outside), I checked out their selection. Finding one that looked suitable, I then had to go home and measure my door to see if the measurements were similar and if the bore holes and hinges lined up. The doors were the same size, but the knob and deadbolt holes were not in the same places. But eh, I figured, I could chisel out the door frame to accept the new door, so I bought the metal six-panel door I had my eye on.

Our first task was to paint our new acquisition. There is a house not too far away from us that has a yellow door, and we liked it, so we decided to blatantly rip off their idea. We went with the "yellow mustard" shade of Valspar Duramax in exterior semi-gloss (it really does look like mustard - if I put it on your hot dog, you'd eat it). They say to use interior paint on the inside of the door, but I'm not buying two cans of paint. I figured that, since metal doors are primed, I could just go ahead and paint the door after cleaning it off. So I applied a coat of paint, and then one more and one more, to one side of the door, but it just wasn't giving me complete coverage. So I belatedly took to the internet to do some research. I discovered that a primed door is not, in fact, paint ready. Apparently the primer they apply to doors is weak sauce. So I decided to flip the door over and prime the other side.

After a coat of oil-based Kilz primer, I applied a total of four coats of paint, and it was acceptable. So I flipped the door back over, primed it, and gave it 3 coats of paint. Then I was ready to install hardware.

We went with a Kwikset handleset. Along with the high security rating and nice looks, these have a feature that allows you to easily re-key them. This makes it easy to make all of your entrance doors openable by the same key. It looks kind of like this:

Now, something to note is that the bottom part of the handle there needs to be attached to the door with a screw of its own. The screw can be visible from the outside, or it can be hidden. If it is hidden, you have to drill through the other side of the door, and then put a decorative cap over the screw. However, there are no photos on the entire internet of what this looks like. I wasn't sure I was doing it right, because I could find no evidence of the handleset having been installed this way. But that's how I did it, and here's a photo. The internet is now complete. Note the little brown circle below the door handle (click to enlarge).

After getting the door hung and the hardware installed, I had an issue with filling the gap at the bottom of the door. Any devices designed for that gap that I could find were too large, and I didn't want to go with one of those draft stoppers, so I just put a strip of the weatherstripping stuff you put between the door and the jamb on the hinge side. It was self-stick and 1 1/2" wide by 1/4" thick, and it fit just right.

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