Siding Replaced and Painted


Our primary entry/exit of choice is the patio door from the living room out to the south porch. It is the closest one to the garage and most of our outside activities. It is also the door to the dog's yard.

One of the things that made it to the "pro" side of our decision making list (as in "pros" and "cons") was that the patio door was a "french door". French doors are great because you can keep half stationary until you need the entire opening (which in our case isn't very often).

The picture at right shows that door as it was when we bought the house: steel french doors painted a green color with mustard yellow plastic lite dividers and sliding screen door.

It did not take us long to figure out that a sliding screen door is not helpful when you have large dogs going in and out multiple times a day. Did we consider adding a "dog door"? Sure, we considered it but didn't want muddy dogs going directly into the living room without being inspected by us first. We also had a cat that liked to pluck at screen wire to let us know she wanted to come in... creating holes. All resulting, for many years, that we just left the sliding screen door in the open position you see in the photo.

When we needed to open the stationary side, we had to remove the screen doors entirely and after doing that a couple of times (mainly to add or remove big pieces of furniture), I took them in to the hardware store for repair and then we stored them in the basement.

This is what the door looked like after the screens were removed.

Do you see the white post between the green doors? That is called an astragal. It is the thing that keeps the stationary door in place and to what the locks and door knob are secured.

If it gets damaged, it loses it's ability to secure the operational door and the stationary door is vulnerable as well.

A sturdy astragal is imperative.

At left is a photo of what happens when the astragal is made of wood and the door gets slammed one too many times. The wood splinters and comes off next to the bolt that extends down past the door threshold.

This not only endangers the security of the door, it creates an opening for air and critters.

Below left is what the damaged lower bolt looks like with the operational door open. Below right is the upper bolt and in this case, it turns out that the bolt itself was broken, too.

I didn't really want to replace the entire door system, just the broken astragal. Unfortunately, that was not possible because the door was not designed with the intention of be repairable.

It was the weak wooden chain to a cheap steel door.

Thus, we set our minds (and savings) to the purchase and installation of a new patio door. After many hours on the computer reviewing different brands, steel vs. wood, french vs sliding doors, etc., we ventured to a home improvement store and got pricing for a french door system and some names of installers in our area. $$$$ The cost to install a replacement was equal to the cost of the door itself! And that sent me back to the computer to find a compromise of a less expensive and still energy efficient door that we could install ourselves (with the help of a third person/handyman).

I was surprised to find that Jeld Wen has improved the quality of their doors and some of them are Energy Star(R) rated.

I ordered an inswing french door without any dividers in or on the glass (since that is what the front door is -- consistency is nice) online and it was delivered to the south porch right next to the door we were replacing.

Here is the Energy Star(R) information for the door.

At left is the Low-E Glass information. This new door is dramatically more energy efficient than the one it replaces.

The door also benefits from an astragal that is NOT made of wood, but a very sturdy vinyl.

I contacted the handyman who has done some other work for us and he was set to come out and assist in the installation. Unfortunately, the pandemic intervened and (surprisingly) his work load skyrocketed leaving us without assistance.

We watched videos about installation and decided we could do it ourselves if we could get help moving it into position.

Luckily, we had the roofing guys here for some repairs and they lent a hand shifting the new door into position.

Here is the door all set to be trimmed out.

Sorry, I didn't get pictures of the old door being removed or the new door being levelled/shimmed into place.

Thankfully, I measured correctly because this was a snug fit.

The old door was removed in sections and was pretty straight forward and while heavy, the parts were managable by the hubby and I.

The new door having to be positioned as a unit was VERY HEAVY. Once again, we are grateful to the roofing guys for their strength and assistance.

Here is the exterior of the new door to compare with the astragal photo provided earlier.

It has not been trimmed at this point.

We ordered the door without handle or lock since the hubby could just move our current handle and lock into it.

The only thing I didn't pay attention to was the color of the hinges -- not sure that was even something offered as an option to change. Personally, I prefer a silver/white metal to gold anyway. And there is a great deal of mixing of metals in the house, so it doesn't look as odd as it might seem.

The entire unit in place from the outside. It came with the door jamb, threshold and all.

You can see the old doors waiting to be hauled off to Habitat for Humanity's ReStore.

We saved the screen door track from the old door jamb and the new threshold is designed to accomodate a sliding screen door. That means we can put the screens and all back onto this door when we decide to do that.

We ended up spending under $700 for the door unit and saving the $1,800 installation charge by doing it ourselves. It certainly did help to coordinate installing it while the roofing guys where here making repairs. The few minutes of their time to help were covered in the repair costs.

The new door takes NO effort to close. No need to slam it and we are taking EXTRA care to avoid that.

The exterior of the finished door after the painters were done (click here to see the paint project in 2020).

I did notice an increase of bird strikes on these doors. You see how very reflective they are and without the divisions, it looks like big open space.

Since I added the BugOff Screen curtains, there have been no further bird strikes. (Fingers crossed that remains true.)

The interior of the finished door with trim. They came primed so all I had to do was a finish coat. I chose to keep them white to match the trim of the room (and the front door is white also).

The room is much brighter with the white color and the single full glass panels.

It is so nice to have a secure door again.

I did add temporary BugOff Screen curtains to both this door and the front door. Click here to go there.

During this process, I realized that hanging things from the top of the door was a bad idea; well, that and watching "This Old House". The problem is two-fold: 1) the hanger messes with the insulation strip around the door at the top, and 2) the weight of the hanger, and especially what you hang on it, causes stress on the hinges and that results in the hinges bending a bit creating noisy, creaky doors. No more weighted decorations on the doors for us.


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