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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Time For a New Basement Door

The small home that we're renovating has a full unfinished basement with a concrete floor. This has made our under-the-house repairs much easier. However, there's also an exterior door down there. It had completely rotted and been boarded up. Time for a new one.

First, let me mention that many of these older homes are built with downstairs door just like this. The huge problem with this is that water will pool at the bottom of the stairs and eventually damage the door and possibly get into the basement. The very best solution is usually to build some sort of roof covering over the stairs so that it stays dry. For our project, I would just be replacing the door, but using materials that might last a little longer.

I started by ripping out the old door, which was pretty easy considering its condition. The homeowner bought a salvaged 32" exterior door at Hailey's Salvage. My plan was to first build the door frame out of pressure treated 2x8 and then install the unit and trim around the edges to close the gaps as well as possible.

Knowing that water would pool at the bottom of these stairs, I wanted to prevent the door from sitting in the water as much as possible. For this reason, I actually made a threshold out of a treated 2x8 and then put door stop trim all the way around the inside of the jamb, including across the bottom. Not only will this close the air gaps, but hopefully also be another roadblock to any water entry and get the door up off of the floor.

To attach the frame to the masonry walls I first attached some plywood nailers on either side using some long Tapcon screws. I actually had some treated plywood scraps around that worked great because they are less likely to split than using other lumber. This held quite well and once they were installed it was just a matter of installing the door frame, leveling it up and nailing it in like any other door installation.

The entire door frame is made out of pressure treated lumber, ready to battle those elements...


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