Author Topic: Looking for advice on door project  (Read 6989 times)

FrugalZony

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Looking for advice on door project
« on: July 17, 2014, 06:41:03 PM »
I have 3 sets of French doors in my house that are in BAD shape and most likely in need of replacement.
They are wooden doors, single glazing and pretty beaten up
I initially sanded them and applied some clear protection, when I first bought the house, to buy me a bit of time,
but I have not done much over the last couple years, as I was planning to replace them.
I have not pulled the trigger on the options yet.

My INITIAL three options were:

Handyman:
Get cheap replacements at HomeDepot, reuse what's reusable etc.
Wood doors, with single glazing, reuse all hardware
$4000

Lower range door company
Replace all doors and trim, with energy efficient doors, double glazing, no coating
$6000
does not include staining, which I would do myself
will need new hardware as well


Higher end doors

Replace all doors and trim with energy efficient doors (to my specification, these are high end doors)
double glazing has a high end energy efficient coating, that will make a huge difference
$ 11 000
includes new hardware

Very high end doors
$19 000+
forget it not gonna happen, are those gold plated or what??

I had originally considered going with the 11k offer, when I still thought I'd stay in the house for a long time and reap the benefits myself,
as these were exactly the doors I would want. I know this company really well and they make a great product and treat their employees well.


Now, in the meantime my personal situation has changed a lot and chances are I may move within a year or two, maybe even sooner.
I want to do the bare minimum so I can put the house on the market in an acceptable fashion without breaking the bank.

NEW option

I went looking at HD and they sell a fiberglass clad metal door with double glazing. This is about $1100 including installation and taxes.
It's just primed, I could paint it myself, but don't dare to do installation, hence purchase needs to be including installation.

I am contemplating just replacing the downstairs doors, which are the most visible, when you visit the place. Those are the ones that lead to the patio, which prospective buyers are most likely to open and notice.

The upstairs ones lead to a balcony from the Master and to another Balcony from the office. Those are never ever used, except to air out the upstairs,  in the spring/fall, in order to delay/reduce the use of airconditioning.

The Master bedroom ones get the most sun and are the most beaten up. I am considering to recucle the ones taken out from downstairs in the Masterbedroom, to improve that a little bit and be done.

What would you do? Especially in view of a potential sale.

Should I scimp and do bare minimum, or use part of the stash to just replace them all?
This is an upscale neighborhood and all the houses on the market are super duper updated!!
I got this house as a fixer in hopes of fixing it up over time to add value and staying in it a long time
Some updating has happened, but major eyesores are still these doors and the Master bath (whole different story, I may post pictures of that at a later time, fake pink marble anyone?)


Any advice would be appreciated!!
Thanks for reading!
« Last Edit: July 17, 2014, 06:48:05 PM by FrugalZony »

jawisco

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Re: Looking for advice on door project
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2014, 06:56:01 PM »
If you are going to leave in a year or two, I don't think you should do anything costly - you will never get your money back - you will be lucky if you get 25% of your money back.

Do they work?  If so, try to make them look a little nicer if small investment of time/money and if that is not possible, then don't spend any more time on them.  I think you could also consider asking a handyman if there was anything fast and cheap he could do to make them look better.  I think if you got an improvement for 1K, it would be worth it...

They aren't bad looking and unless you think it is worth 3-7K just to look at nicer doors for 1-2 years, don't spend the money.

Primm

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Re: Looking for advice on door project
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2014, 06:59:00 PM »
Option 4: recycled. This is the place we use (obviously you're in a different country, but are there yards like this?) http://www.thebigredshed.com.au

We're in the same boat except not moving out, and recycled matching french doors run at somewhere around the $100 per pair mark. The really fancy ones can be $200. Solid hardwood, and old. Perfect for what you want.

And installing doors into an existing opening isn't that hard. Try it, you  may actually enjoy it!

Another Reader

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Re: Looking for advice on door project
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2014, 08:47:24 PM »
How old is the neighborhood?  What is the price range of similar houses in your neighborhood?  What is the premium for remodeled over original houses?  What else is going on in the neighborhood - is there lots of remodeling and upgrading?  What else in the house is older and what has been replaced/remodeled? 

I can tell you that in Tempe, doors alone make very little difference in the value of a house.  New high end doors, a new kitchen and baths, new light fixtures, and new flooring make a huge difference.  However, there is a limit, and unless you can get a deal on the remodel you don't recover anything more than cost, often less.

I had my handyman install a couple sets of the Home Depot metal French doors in rentals and I think they look cheap.  In each case, they replaced completely worn out sliding glass doors which barely operated and no longer locked, so it was a big improvement.  In a more upscale area, I probably would have gone with the Anderson wood sliders.  Since you already have French doors, that's probably not an option.

Goldielocks

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Re: Looking for advice on door project
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2014, 09:37:36 PM »
Doors look fine to me. 

I would just touch them up, and shiny new locks / handles can go a long way if the ones in the photo are worn or dated (hard to tell in photo, they could be fantastic already).

You won't get a resale payback for replacing them, 2 years is not enough time for most areas to get energy savings payback...New  fibreglass might not suit your home or look cheap in comparison to these that just look "aged". 

If you are worried about energy, you can put a storm door on temporarily.

If you will like there a long time, go with what you really like, that  you can afford and enjoy them.


FrugalZony

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Re: Looking for advice on door project
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2014, 10:01:15 PM »
Thanks all.

The Handyman pretty much said, they were too far gone to do anything to salvage them, because he was going to try that first.
So it's interesting you all say that that peeling and weathered wood is ok. Maybe I should try to sand and stain a pair to see if that makes some difference
plus update with new locks.

I have looked at recycling places and on Craigslist with not much luck.
I am pretty much on my own with these, so I my diy options are limited

Neighborhood is a 80ties neighborhood. House across the street is on market with insane upgrades (but has been on market for months now)
Looking at recent sales numbers are good, but all those places had really high end finishes.

Work that has been done
I have redone the tiles in the entire house, carpet in bedrooms and dark hardwood on stairs. The old carpet and tiles were just ugly (mismatched pink fake marble 80ties remnants)
I have upgraded the kitchen appliances from the original 80ties appliances to SS high end kitchenaid appliances (bought on Craigslist)
Stained kitchen cabinets dark and painted pink (!) countertop tile in a neutral bisque.
I did not want to invest money in granite, as I wanted to reconfigure the kitchen before any major permanent changes.
Also changed lawn to Zeroscape and planted a nicer palm tree.
Also did some painting of wood and fixed fascia, that were in really bad shape
Had both balconies resurfaced, as a the surface was bubbling and peeling off

Not a whole lot, but I also did not have the support, I had been promised when taking on a major fixer upper.
All in all house is in much better shape compared to when I bought, but still definitely not on par with the hood.

Hope I answered all the questions.

I am surprised you all say the doors look fine, they look pretty beaten up in the pics to me ;)
But that's good!! I posted to get some other perspectives.


gooki

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Re: Looking for advice on door project
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2014, 04:49:17 AM »
If the timber is still hard it should be easily salvageable.

If you have soft spots, the yeah it's rotten.

If it you are into the DIY I'd give it another go. Search on the net how to restore, be prepared to put most of the effort into the prep work.

If it was me I'd get a orbital sander to do the bulk of the work. Start with 80 grit sandpaper, then 120 grit, then 160 grit. Stop at 160 grit. I wouldn't reapply varnish. Instead I'd be looking for an outdoor oil based treatment that penetrates into the timber. Something like this.

http://www.amazon.com/Cabot-Australian-Timber-Natural-Finish/dp/B004YKHMA8/ref=sr_1_6?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1405680363&sr=1-6&keywords=cabot+australian+timber+oil

Or this if you want to darken the timber

http://www.amazon.com/Cabot-140-3460-07-Australian-Timber-OIL/product-reviews/B002KQMS52

The hardest part will be sanding the inside sections where the glass is mounted. Oh and don't forget to apply the oil finish to the top/bottom of the doors.

PS you may get away with stopping at 120 grit with the sanding, as a slightly rough finish will help the timber absorb more oil. Check the instructions on the back of the can.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2014, 04:59:14 AM by gooki »

FrugalZony

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Re: Looking for advice on door project
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2014, 09:09:40 AM »
If the timber is still hard it should be easily salvageable.

If you have soft spots, the yeah it's rotten.

If it you are into the DIY I'd give it another go. Search on the net how to restore, be prepared to put most of the effort into the prep work.

If it was me I'd get a orbital sander to do the bulk of the work. Start with 80 grit sandpaper, then 120 grit, then 160 grit. Stop at 160 grit. I wouldn't reapply varnish. Instead I'd be looking for an outdoor oil based treatment that penetrates into the timber. Something like this.

http://www.amazon.com/Cabot-Australian-Timber-Natural-Finish/dp/B004YKHMA8/ref=sr_1_6?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1405680363&sr=1-6&keywords=cabot+australian+timber+oil

Or this if you want to darken the timber

http://www.amazon.com/Cabot-140-3460-07-Australian-Timber-OIL/product-reviews/B002KQMS52

The hardest part will be sanding the inside sections where the glass is mounted. Oh and don't forget to apply the oil finish to the top/bottom of the doors.

PS you may get away with stopping at 120 grit with the sanding, as a slightly rough finish will help the timber absorb more oil. Check the instructions on the back of the can.
Thanks Gooki!

So that Cabot Timer Oil is stain and sealer, I don't need to seal it afterwards?
Will I have to tape off the glass before staining or can I just wipe this off?
I had contemplated a dark stain, but when I heard they were too far gone, I gave up.
Also I knew, that would not do much in terms of energy efficiency, so I had decided against it.
Now I have a different perspective, I just want to update the look without spending too much, so energy efficiency is not so important anymore.
Definitely willing to give diy a try on one pair and see how it turns out.


Here are a few more questions for you guys:
One door has a wood panel with a little gap in it, do I just fill that with wood filler?

Also how do I sand the grids without ruining the glass? They are not flat, they are curvy, so it's hard to get in the nooks.
The inside facing part still has the clear protection on it. If I stain the outside dark, I should probably also sand the inside and stain it, to match.
Or should I just leave it. Inside looks ok, but all the rest of my wood is dark wood, so it would probably look better to do both.

Also, the inside has little bits and pieces of Scotchtape all over it, that I tried to remove at some point and just gave up eventually. LOL!
Can I just sand over that, in case I decide to do it?


Thanks all!!! Love to crowdsource solutions with my fellow MMM forum addicts ;)
« Last Edit: July 18, 2014, 09:11:32 AM by FrugalZony »

jasonw223

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Re: Looking for advice on door project
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2014, 10:54:59 AM »
+1 to gooki and everyone saying refinish rather than replace.

Those doors look great to me - sand them down, fill gaps with wood filler, sand more, then add your desired coatings.  You can use a stain, a clear coat, primer and paint, or whatever you'd like.  I'd probably lean towards this: http://www.amazon.com/Sikkens-CETOL-WINDOW-SATIN-Quart/dp/B001PIEQWE/ref=sr_1_20?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1405701800&sr=1-20&keywords=sikkens

You could tape the glass beside the grids to help with sanding and coating.  I'd probably just do the best I could without doing that though.  If you don't sand every last speck down it won't be the end of the world.

Now would be a good time to do the inside as well - I'd say go for it.

To remove old tape, you can either just sand it off, or buy a little bottle of 'Goof Off' to use first: http://www.amazon.com/Goof-Off-FG651-Professional-4-5-Ounce/dp/B0016JW6HY/ref=sr_1_3?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1405702230&sr=1-3&keywords=goof+off

That stuff is particularly handy to take tape off of things, glass especially.  Be careful on paint, soft plastic or other finishes - it's fairly strong.  'Goo Gone' is the less potent but similar product.

jawisco

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Re: Looking for advice on door project
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2014, 11:12:38 AM »
You can try to DIY and there are a lot of good ideas here.  Another route might be to find someone else to take a look at them - sounds like you just asked one handy man and he said they were too far gone.  Maybe he just isn't the creative type or maybe there is higher margin for his time in new install.  Maybe he just likes shiny things...

I would try to find a different handyman or diy guy to take a look and give suggestions to you - there is a lot of good advice on internet, but there is nothing like seeing something in person to know the best route...

You have the right attitude though and it sounds like you have done a lot of work at your place - always better to have the roughest looking place on any block than have a place that is the most updated - those folks will never get back what they put into the updates...

usmarine1975

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Re: Looking for advice on door project
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2014, 11:15:31 AM »
15 years as a carpenter and I would try to refinish them.  The wood look's solid.  It just looks like the finish initially applied didn't protect the wood as well as it should have.  The only other option I would offer is look for a good painter and get his perspective.  A handyman is not going to want to tackle sanding and refinishing those doors. ( I would have recommended it) but most that I know would sell you some new doors.  In my opinion the new doors out there suck, they do not last like the old ones.  I can't tell you how many 100 year old doors I convinced the owners to keep.  Google everything you can and refinish those.

gooki

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Re: Looking for advice on door project
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2014, 04:17:47 PM »
Thanks Gooki!

So that Cabot Timer Oil is stain and sealer, I don't need to seal it afterwards?
Will I have to tape off the glass before staining or can I just wipe this off?
...
Here are a few more questions for you guys:
One door has a wood panel with a little gap in it, do I just fill that with wood filler?

Also how do I sand the grids without ruining the glass? They are not flat, they are curvy, so it's hard to get in the nooks.
The inside facing part still has the clear protection on it. If I stain the outside dark, I should probably also sand the inside and stain it, to match.
Or should I just leave it. Inside looks ok, but all the rest of my wood is dark wood, so it would probably look better to do both.

Also, the inside has little bits and pieces of Scotchtape all over it, that I tried to remove at some point and just gave up eventually. LOL!
Can I just sand over that, in case I decide to do it?

Thanks all!!! Love to crowdsource solutions with my fellow MMM forum addicts ;)

Yip, one thickish coat stains and seals.

I would apply masking tape around the outside edge of the glass where it meets the timber, I wouldn't worry about covering all the glass.

Sand the grids by hand. Get good quality sand paper for those sections. Again start with a low grit (80) and the move up to 120 grit. I'd spend most of the physical effort on the 80 grit part.

I'd do the inside as well if you are dark staining. Yes it's more effort, but think of it like a good physical workout. And much easier than trying to do it at a later stage.

Just sand over the tape. Get a quite few sheets of sandpaper for the orbital sander, so you can bin them as soon as the get clogged/worn out.

FrugalZony

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Re: Looking for advice on door project
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2014, 08:11:10 PM »
Hey guys, I wanted to just update you on this!

I have consulted with my realtor, who knows the area quite well.
He's not the realtor I bought this house with, but I happened to meet him, while we were under contract.
He and a client of his were onto several deals, I was looking at back in the time so we bumped into each other on occasion.

I also checked with a real estate investor, who knows Phoenix very well and got her opinion and some more awesome input ;)

The realtor recommended a carpenter, who does a lot of door installs.
The guy came, looked at the doors and said he would not switch them out for brand new ones.
That said, they are too far gone for staining in his opinion.

He did however recommend to still finish them, in order to make them less of an eyesore, instead of replacing them.

His take was, , whereas too far gone for staining, we could still get away with sanding them, applying wood filler, primer and then painting them the same colour as the outside trim and painting the inside white.
He also recommended new hinges and hardware to complete the updated look.

His price is reasonable, but as I had already purchased stuff to refinish them, before I started reasearching replacements,
I have decided to try and refinish just one door and see if its' doable with a little help. (there's 3 sets of double doors and 1 single door, so I can screw up the single one, which is in the worst shape and then decide if I want to tackle the rest of them, or pay the carpenter to do them)
I may have some help on this coming weekend, if not, it'll have to wait until after my vacation.

I will keep you guys posted in any case!!

Thanks for all your input!!

FrugalZony

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Re: Looking for advice on door project
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2014, 10:06:26 PM »
I got up super early today to beat the heat and get started with the trial door project! Luckily most of the day was overcast anyways!
I am very glad I had some help, because I could not lift and adjust this door all by myself.

I am tired and beat, all from a bit of sanding and painting, but pretty happy! ;)

We did one door to see if we can handle it: new satin nickel hardware including hinges, wood filler (lots of that, this door had cracks etc.)
tons of sanding, priming and painting.
We ended up going with the carpenter recommendation (use outside paint that I still had from the Fascia for the outside) and white latex for the inside.

Here's some before and after pics!

Actually the pics look a bit better than the real result, as the glass was scratched before hand, I'll see if I can buff out some of the scratches, too.
All in all, whereas not perfect, this makes a world of a difference in appearance now!!

Thank you all for helping to brainstorm!

Right now, I just want to sleep, LOL! So I am thinking that the carpenter's offer for the remaining doors, is actually quite reasonable, most likely because I am really beat right now!
But my helper offered to help me again, with at least one other set of double doors, so I'll see how I feel, once the tiredness is gone and the pride of having accomplished something kicks in ;)

I spent about $70 in supplies and still have some paint for another door.
This one was in much worse shape than the French doors, so the next project should be easier, especially if you factor in some learning curve.


Another Reader

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Re: Looking for advice on door project
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2014, 10:21:16 PM »
Your carpenter "nailed" it!  You did a great job.  You can paint my house anytime!

usmarine1975

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Re: Looking for advice on door project
« Reply #15 on: August 03, 2014, 06:07:50 AM »
Good people do still exist. Looks awesome now I gotta facepunch myself my doors need done and my sons toddler bed.

FrugalZony

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Re: Looking for advice on door project
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2014, 11:50:24 AM »
Thank you both!
Each morning, when I walk into the kitchen, I am still amazed that this makes such a huge difference!!

I think we probably won't be able to do all the three remaining doors by ourselves, but right now I am thinking
we'll probably get one double door done and I'll have the carpenter do the other two if I run out of time and goodwill from my helper.


gooki

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Re: Looking for advice on door project
« Reply #17 on: August 08, 2014, 03:59:37 AM »
Great job. They look like they're in better condition than the surrounding frames :)

deedeezee

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Re: Looking for advice on door project
« Reply #18 on: August 08, 2014, 05:08:07 AM »
That looks great!  Nice job.