Friday, September 7, 2012

Back Door Project Addition

Look upon it and lament; ye shall soon see it no more.
My friend Frieda* came over tonight and in short order she and I together removed the falling-off aluminum back screen/storm door and its frame.  It marked the End of an Era, an era that would have ended three or four years ago if I'd gotten around to it.

R.I.P. aluminum screen/storm door
(Moment of silence for the aluminum door.)

Now that the screen door is down and I've pried off one piece of trim from the hinge side of the door,  I've been able to make some observations about the back door and its surround, historical, structural, and other-al:
Hooray for friends wielding power tools
  • The wood trim on the outside is not original.  Bless me, I'd been thinking for years it was, and had been working out in my mind how to repair the ogee that was cut out when they installed the aluminum door.  It was Frieda who said, "I don't think that's what was on the house.  I think it's modern."  You know, she's right.  In fact, I have a couple lengths of the very material down the basement.  The POs-1 also used it for trim under the portal sill between the living room and front hall.
  • The original brickmould was probably like what still surrounds the openings from the front hall and the living room in the front room, which used to be the front porch.  I've spent some time tonight online (no, really!?) researching and I think I can get a reasonable facsimile of it from a lumber and millwork dealer down in Pittsburgh.  If they aren't to the trade only.
  • The original house trim finish was a dark brownish-black stain or dye.  No paint, no shellac.  Just stain.  This fits with what I encountered in the front room when I was stripping the openings there.
  • The door frame itself is a big ole 3x6.  It's not in the best of shape-- plenty of nicks and dings-- but it will do.  Maybe by itself until I can get some new trim.
Gap needing filled
  • There's a gap maybe ¼" to 3/8" wide between the 2X6 doorframe and the brick.  I intend to clean it out and fill it with backer bead and caulk, whether I get new brickmould in there or not.
  • Frieda and I brought the new-old screen door up from the basement and set it in the opening, just to see how it fits.  It does, basically, but there are some absurd gaps between the door and the frame here and there where the frame has gotten out of square.
Funny and inadequate screen door stop
  • The funny little blocks nailed against the stop mouldng halfway up the door height look to be the only stops the original screen door, whatever that was like, ever had.  The stop moulding I've been working so hard this week to sand clean measures ½" by 1¾", and is eased on the vertical edge towards the exterior of the house.  It comes 1¼" short of the inside face of the replacement wooden screen door.  No sign of any other stop moulding a screen would have closed against, just those little blocks.  As much as it pains me to remove any original element like the stop moulding (especially after I've worked so hard to strip it), I may well do it and replace it with ½" by 3" material that my screen door can close against.  Those gaps I saw between door and frame pain me even more.
So this is more work added to the back screen door project, which was only supposed to involve stripping and repainting a salvaged door and hanging it on its hinges.  And here I have to get up at the crack of dawn to finish stripping the wooden back door, another thing added to the fun . . .


Shasha Kidd said...

I'm sure the work will be worth it--it will be beautiful when you're done. I have a couple ugly metal screen doors I'd love to replace, but I just have too many things with a higher priority.

Norbert Floth said...

You’ve got good handy skills! It’s not everyday that you’ll see a woman adding a storm door. Though they’re usually not as heavy as entry doors, they still take equal amount of precision and accuracy to put up. With this, you’ve really earned my respect! :D

Vernie Herr said...

That’s pretty challenging work! You have a lot of issues to work on with the door, particularly the gaps that should be filled in. Those gaps should be filled in properly to fully hold the doorframe. Those can cause a lot of damage in the future if overlooked.