All right, front door installation time. Because we’re putting two inches of poly-iso foam insulation on the outside of the house, I had to blend a number of installation methods, starting with  the Building Science instructions for both the door and the transom window. We didn’t want to remove the existing porch, and we plan to have a porch in the future, so we used the Green Building Advisor ledger attachment detail to plan around that, and of course we had the instructions from the door manufacturer.

Before any of that could happen, Sarah and I stripped off three layers of siding from around the existing front door. The top layer was vinyl, followed by old cement fiber siding, and finally wood clapboard siding. Interspersed were layers of old paper house wraps.

Next we turned to the new door. When the door was delivered, we tore open enough of the packaging to make sure it was undamaged and then left it until now. Sarah started peeling back the cardboard and foam and asked, “Why does the glass look shattered?”

Broken door glass

Broken door glass

We really don’t know how this happened. The door has been leaning against the wall in the same spot for a month and a half. The glass is actually broken on the other side —that is— the side with the wrought iron. We can only speculate as to what caused it. I contacted the manufacturer and they’re going to have a glass company come and replace it. I’m really impressed by their customer service, since they could easily argue that it happened after I accepted delivery and that it wasn’t their problem. In any case, it wasn’t enough to postpone installation, we’re just really upset about it.

The door crew

The door crew: Dean, Mike (Sarah’s dad), Matt B, and Eriq

Sunday morning the door crew arrived, comprised of regulars to our house project. Dean and I got the old door out of the way and cut out two additional studs. We propped up the wall with some temporary boards while we framed in the header, just in case the house got a case of the saggies.

Trimming the sheathing

Trimming the sheathing

I’ve gotten pretty handy with a reciprocating saw. Once we framed in a sill plate, jack posts, a 2×4 between the door and transom, and a proper header (spaced with insulation), we nailed 2x4s flat on the outside around the opening. We wrapped the edges with housewrap and then attached ½” foam on top of the 2x4s. That way the two inches of foam on the rest of the house will be the same thickness as the edge around the door. We used WeatherMate flashing tape and sill pans to flash around the edges and make everything water tight.

Then we slid the door frame into position and tipped it into place. We put in one bolt in the top corner and then pivoted it a tiny fraction of an inch to get it perfectly level before putting in the remaining lag bolts to secure it to the inside of the framing. The transom was attached from the outside with facing clips that were screwed through the foam and into the framing, just like the other windows. With some exertions from Eriq and a lot of yelling we got the door hinges aligned and the door onto the frame.

Iron door installed

Iron door installed

We realized that my existing handleset with an interior lever wouldn’t work because the lever didn’t clear the frame of the window in the door, so I picked up a replacement with a knob. The matching rubbed bronze looks better with the door than satin nickel anyway. I also put in backer rod around the edges and filled the gaps with Great Stuff foam and Sarah finished the interior with another layer of backer rod.

For the time being it looks kind of silly on our otherwise crappy-looking house, but eventually when the rest of the house catches up to the door, it’ll be amazing. As always, I have to finish my post with Sarah and my heartfelt thanks to everyone that helped: Dean, Mike, Matt B and Eriq. Thanks, guys!

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