French Doors

I had declared that our first project when we bought the house would be to replace the awful sliding door from the dining room to the patio.  It was the cheapest aluminum door available, old, barely functional, leaking air like crazy, and ugly as sin.  Of course, by the time we moved it was winter, no time to replace a door.  We looked longingly at them, but besides the weather, they were expensive.

In May, I decided that we should just replace the screen and we went off to get one – and discovered  15-light French doors on sale for half of what we were expecting to pay.  So we ordered one.  We decided that we could install it ourselves.  We had replaced the one in our first house in Texas ourselves, and there was only a small problem that required borrowing house jacks from the neighbor (who had every tool known to man) when we underestimated the expansive qualities of foam-in insulation. We wouldn’t make that mistake again.

On the trips to Home Depot project complexity scale, this was a 5, and the door itself was delivered.

The doors seemed to be heavier than the last time we did this.  My theory is those were all wood and these are steel on the exterior – it couldn’t have anything to do with our being 20+ years older, right? The weight rapidly became important. Instead of a trial fitting and then permanent installment, we discovered that the limestone sill was badly out of level, requiring us to remove the door, pour concrete to level the sill, and refit.  We had foolishly lifted the door down 6 inches outside onto the patio, so it wasn’t just a matter of sliding it out. And it extended the project overnight, during which, of course, it rained.

Robert did a wonderful job of adjusting the framing. Eventually, over the course of a week,  the doors were leveled, squared, shimmed, flashed, caulked, and screwed.  I only lost my temper a few times. The doors actually open and close. All that is left is the trim (interior and exterior), which will have to wait, because it is 54 and raining, and we haven’t gotten the interior trim yet.

For comic relief when we couldn’t stand the door anymore, we (well, mostly Robert) reassembled the bookshelves and unpacked the books (mostly me).  So that’s all done and we can be retired now (except for the roof and insulation, redoing the upstairs bath and bedrooms, refinishing the dining table, recovering all the upholstered furniture, cleaning up the lower half of the lot, expanding the perennial beds, etc.