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What’s Behind Door #2?

May 23, 2012

A whole lotta work, that’s what!

Over the course of 6 years we have slowly replaced the old 1964 hollow doors in our house with 6 panel doors and contemporary door handles.  We had only 2 left on the list and decided to finally tackle them over the past five weeks.  Yes, it took five weeks to complete this project.  The two doors happened to both be in our master bedroom:  our walk-in closet and master bath.


Ryan first removed the doors from the hinges by popping out the pin with a screwdriver and hammer.

We went the cheaper route on these doors and opted to buy the panel and not the whole door and frame.  The panel ran about $30 where as the entire door and frame is about twice that price.  In the long run Ryan strongly suggests buying the door slab and frame together…it’s not a simple task to install the slab on an existing frame (hence why this project took five weeks!).

Ryan set up his work area on our front porch as usual.  He laid the new doors across two saw horses and clamped the old door on top to mark exactly where his hinges on the new door needed to go.

Of course the door slab couldn’t be a perfect fit.  The door was a wee bit too tall so Ryan had to take a little off the bottom.  After calculating how much to take off, he clamped his level to the door and drew a cut line.

I carefully held each door steady while Ryan ran the circular saw and cut the bottom off each door.

The next and most frustrating step of installing new door slabs is chiseling out the area of the door where the hinges are secured.  This is the step that caused a five week delay.  The two slabs had no desire to take residence in their new frames.  After a few curse words, we decided to take a break and try re-hanging the doors when we had the patience.    Ryan ended up taking a few hours off work last Friday and completed  the project as a surprise.  His solution was to shave about a quarter inch off the inside of the door rather than continue to chisel.  It ended up working perfectly and the new doors fit comfortably inside the frames.

When we brought these doors homes from Lowes about six weeks ago they were completely primed.  Before we started this whole hanging process I hit them up with two coats of Sherwin Williams HGTV white trim paint.  I thought it was rather smart of me to apply paint before they were hung…you know, be one step of the game.  Well that ended up backfiring since Ryan had to shave off the inside.  Needless to say, I broke out the primer and paint….again once they were hung.

After studying the doors while I was priming and I couldn’t help but to be drawn to the ugly paint-spattered brass hinges (blaming previous owner, obviously).  I decided one  solution was just to prime and paint those brass hinges and see how it went.  I figured we could always replace them with new hinges if it didn’t work out.

Well, you know what?  It did work out!  I call myself genius.  They look fantastic.  I know it’s only been five days since I painted them but they seem to be holding up really well.  of course Michelle could stop there.  I ended up painting every other brass hinge in the house.  We have 12 doors with visible hinges times 3 hinges per door for a total of 36 brass hinges.  They all look so good I wish I primed and painted those babies 6 years ago!  Here’s what the two finished door in our bedroom look like:

And a closeup of the primed hinge:

And the hardware:

So there you have it.  It took us five weeks to hang 2 doors, but it resulted in the transformation of 36 ugly brass hinges.  And to repeat myself like a broken record, Ryan strongly suggests if you want to replace interior doors just go ahead and purchase the entire door in the frame rather than the slabs.  Yes, it may cost a few more bones, but so worth it in the long run.  Just think, Ryan may get a chance to re-hang a few more doors in the new house…we shall see!


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