As one of the things which has been on our to do list since we moved in 3 1/2 years ago, replacing the back door was pushed back for no other reason than I didn’t want to do it myself. I looked at what was needed and of course I could do the demolition as I have a Sawzall, but then putting everything back in was the tricky part.
Having never installed an entry door before, I wasn’t sure about what I could be possibly getting myself into. Given that this is a pretty old house, and the door had never been replaced, the original frame could be lacking (which it was) and could have to be rebuilt (which it did).

So thinking about the pitfalls of having no door for a while as I figured out what to do didn’t really appeal to us, so we went out in search of a solution. We drove out to the west end where there are a fairly large contingent of contractors and installers who have retail locations. The first one we stopped at was an Industrial Unit that looked ok from the outside but as we went in, looked somewhat in disarray. The reason for this became clear once we talked to the guy inside (who turned out to be the owner) and he was an abrasive older fellow who was looking at his cell phone in a somewhat perturbed manner. I think he was trying to figure out how to mute the thing and asked us if we could figure it out, which led to a bit of a tirade from him on cell phones, technology, the provider etc.

After this we started chatting abit about what we needed and he casually said that whatever we wanted he would be able to provide. Something about him was slightly irritating and I couldn’t figure out what it was. It became apparent when we told him the address of the house; when we gave him the closest intersection to the house he said, “You don’t live at XXY Avenue, do you?” I said, “Ummmm, actually yes that’s the house, how did you know?” He said, “I actually owned that house in the 70s, and renovated it.” My mouth nearly dropped open; this was the guy who did such a bad job renovating the place that everytime I do something, I have to fix the screw-ups and short cuts that were done before I can do anything. Did I want him coming back to the place to install a door? What would I have to fix after that?

So we said we’d be doing a bit of extra research before we confirmed and said that we’d be in touch and got out of there fast. As we were driving back, we passed by the Home Depot and decided to go in to see if they could provide a solution and to compare prices.

It seemed that the prices were pretty close and I knew that while it could be a bit of trouble to communicate with them (more on that later), they would be able to back up the job if anything went wrong. So we go them to do the install.

Seems that it would be a custom-sized door (of course) which would be more expensive and that once the installer came out for a measure, the entire frame would have to come out and be rebuilt. So I was right after all!

We ordered a half-window (because of the dog) with internal blinds and waited for the door to arrive. That was in May…

The door finally arrived sometime in late-June and after booking the install with the contractor waited for the day to finally get rid of the crappy old door we had put up with since we bought the place.

Turns out that when the installer removed the cardboard from the new door to prep for installation, there was a huge dent in the unit which prevented it from being installed. Needless to say we were annoyed, but at least the Depot ordered a new one pretty much right away so we wouldn’t have to wait that long before getting it in.

When the new door arrived, the installer made the appointment and wouldn’t you know it, it ended up being the hottest day of the year in late July. I really felt bad for him but he was in pretty good spirits and got it done in one day, including rebuilding the entire frame and caulking the exterior.

When I got home it looked pretty good from the inside (we intentionally left the trim off as we will be hopefully redoing the kitchen and will put in new trim throughout the main floor to match). When we looked at our invoice though, it appeared that they installed the whole glass window instead of the half glass, but we think it looks way better anyway, so no problem there!

The door from the inside looks good. You can raise and lower the blinds by a control on the right side of the door.

The only problem was from the outside as the sill sloped back in towards the house. Not good as water would likely eventually run back into the house, under the door.

So I proceeded to call the Depot and left many messages for the “Expediter” Mike, who I think is overworked, but doesn’t have voicemail. They rely on those little pink scraps of paper that get taken by the customer service desk and hopefully passed on to him. It took 3 weeks of calling, then him calling my voicemail before I could talk to him live and tell him what the problem was. The good part about it was that when he finally confirmed the problem, he gave the instructions to the contractor who came back (no, really!) and fixed the problem.

So now it looks great!

Looks great from the outside, much better than before (see some of the photos below for what the original door looked like.

All that’s left to do is prime and paint some of the new sections of the frame and paint the door. I wonder how long it will take me to get that done?