Disclaimer: we aren't professionals

Thanks for reading our silly little blog! As the disclaimer says, we aren't professionals in either blogging or house stuff, but we try. This is mostly to let our friends and family know what we've destroyed so far in the house. We post irregularly and usually forget to take pictures, so thanks for your patience, and please feel free to comment with your thoughts and suggestions!

Monday, January 17, 2011

New Patio Door!

After almost a year of contemplating on the replacement of the patio door, we finally decided to make the investment. I am still look for a good shot of the old patio door. We were in such a time crunch that I did not take any pictures until after it was removed. I will post this off angle shot for now and will include a better one when I go through my external HDD.

This picture won't show the flaws (or hardly any of the door for that matter), but I'll list them just to elaborate on the decision.
  • Difficult to shut and still did not create an adequate seal (we used more rubber sealing trim and it didn't make a large difference)
  • There was a hole in the left door at the top where renters, at some point in the past, drilled for a cable pass through (lazy !@%#@%s) Could have been solved with a plug and wood putty...
  • The door sill was rotting through and the interior threshold plate was going to be interesting to tile up to
  • The biggest reason for replacing the door was to get rid of the hinged design of swinging into the already small breakfast area with a sliding door with the opening side on the left when looking out to the back deck.
  • The old door wasn't the most beautiful door, although we found out the doors themselves were built well (heavy)
Okay, so we started by tearing out the old door. Basically, you remove interior trim and then the brick molding. Remove the pins from the hinged door, remove the doors and tear out the casing without tearing up the framing studs (you'll need those later, and with brick you want to make sure you don't need to remove any of it).

Next, we had to clean out the area under the old door sill. Vinyl doors don't have the traditional casing. They are enclosed by a vinyl frame (another major difference is that this is a sliding door, so it has tracks vs hinges). We were left with the ends of the joists and the band to nail to. There was a slight gap between the band and the brick that would allow for the nailing flange. Here is a shot of me putting some 3/4" decking down on the joists and band. This is what the base of the door will sit on.

You can see the brick and the small gap between that and the edge of the decking. The decking was fastened to the joists and the band with 8d coated sinkers and construction adhesive. Next we measured from the new base up to the 2x4 running across the header to determine how much we needed to shim down to frame the door vertically. We ended up using short sections of 1/4" furring strips, some 1/2 plywood and a 2x4. I sent the table saw back to my dad's house over Christmas, so we couldn't rip a pair of 2x4s to get the perfect thickness. We still game up a bit shorter than we wanted, but still got a good seal to the flange.

We shimmed 1x4s on either side to get the appropriate width. We ended up being bowed in at the centers on the 1x4s and had to do some additional shimming when we got the door in. That was a major pain in the butt...

Here is the door before it went in. I'm guessing somewhere between 250 and 325 pounds.

We got it outside, caulked the framing that the flange would butt up against and then removed the flange protectors on the door. We set the base flange into the gap between the brick and band while keeping the top of door tilted out. We then removed the plastic carrying handles from the side flanges and tilted the door in. This is where we found out our framing was bowed out in the center sections. We were able to get all of the framing shimmed out appropriately, but if we did it again, we would make sure we had a full day rather than 2 hours of daylight and 2 hours of dark to do this door. That way we would have taken more time to get the shimming correct the first time.
I left out some of the smaller steps, but that was the primary flow of how we replaced the patio door. I ended up paying about ~$800 for the door. I'll assume I'll spend another $75 on trim and caulk. Almost $900 for the door with self installation. It definitely improves the look of the kitchen and it will make a breakfast eating area possible. I am not sure if I will recover 100% of that investment when I go to sale a few years from now, but I would even take a 20% hit for the convenience that the door will provide.


  1. Nice! I’m pretty sure you haven’t had any regrets with the patio door investment you’ve made. :D Aside from the structural enhancement it gives the house, it improves the atmosphere of that room. It brings the outdoors inside! And I think that alone is very satisfying, especially since you’ve worked the replacement yourself. Great job! :D

    Nancy Ferdinand

  2. It sure is a lot of work, but if it’s a high-quality door, then the hard work will pay off. Seeing as you already installed the patio door, the last thing you need to do is nail the trim into the jamb and wall. This will help reinforce the jamb. I hope you didn’t forget to apply leak proof flashing before installing the sill pan.

    Marla Hinds

  3. I agree with Nancy! A patio door is a good investment, and it’ll surely increase the value of your house. After seeing the result, you’ll see that it was all worth the effort! I honestly admire you for a job well done! Congrats!

    -Leah Clay