Light Townhouse Rehab - Project #6, Week #15, Part 2

Besides the upstairs bathroom, the basement has been getting attention this week as well. If you have read the Week #2 entry of this Blog, you might remember what the back door looked like. If not, here's another picture that shows the rotted frame:

Here's how I went about replacing the door. The first step was to measure the door and the swing direction. Swing direction tells you which side of the door has the doorknob, and which has the hinges. I am installing a 32" wide, right hand, in-swing door. So this means that the hinges are on the right side, and the knob is on the left as seen from the exterior point of view.

I purchased a pre-hung steel door from Home Depot, and wheeled it around behind the house. It was a nice day with no rain predicted to fall, so all systems were "GO" for the installation. Next up was removal of the door itself. Take out the screws that hold the door hinges to the frame. Don't shortcut it and just pop the pins out of the hinge. If you want, you can make that a prior step, but you must remove the hinges from the frame. The reason I stress this is that it is likely that some of the screws that go through the hinges are extra-long and help hold the frame into the house. Additionally, remove the door strikers from the latch side of the door. They may also have long screws that penetrate all the way into the wall studs, as seen below:

Next, the caulking between the aluminum siding and the exterior casing of the door is cut with a utility knife. This allows the removal of the exterior casing without causing damage to the aluminum siding. If you bend the siding, it will never look right again!

A similar process is repeated on the inside trim. The inside trim is then gently and carefully pried off and saved for re-use. A crowbar is then used to remove the exterior casing:

With the exterior and interior casing off, it is easy to use the crowbar to remove the door jambs and the sill plate.

With all the old door framing removed and the dirt vacuumed away, I could inspect the rough opening in the framing. I was happy to find that the rotten wood was only in the door frame and not the house framing!

Next up was the test fitting of the new door. This is done "dry", meaning without any caulk or sealant. You can't expect the door to just slide in there without issues! In my case, two things needed some tweaking. First, the bottom of the door casing had a plastic shim. The purpose of the plastic shim is to slightly elevate the wood frame off the floor, so that moisture cannot "wick" up into the wood and cause rot. I kept the plastic shim, but needed to trim off the diagonal piece shown below to slide the assembly into the opening.

I also found that the new door's exterior casing was a tad bit taller than the old door, so I trimmed the siding above the rouch opening to fit.

With the two modifications, I was ready for the "real" install. The old door had a strip of flashing made from a section of aluminum siding. The purpose of the flasing is to prevent water from getting behind the door frame. The upper edge slips underneath the siding, and the lower edge goes over the exterior casing. Since I was working alone, masking tape acted as my second set of hands to hold the flashing in place and out of the way while the door was being placed into position.

With everything prepped and ready, the liberal amount of caulk was applied, both to the floor and around the perimeter of the opening. Extra heavy beads of caulk are used in the corner where the floor and walls met. You may be chuckling at the picture below...but just remember, caulk is cheap and leaks are not!!

With the door in the rough opening, I leaned the old door against it from the outside and ran around to the front of the house to get back inside. Here's what I was looking at from the inside.

The reason that I had to come in from the front door is that these pre-hung doors are meant to be installed with the door in the closed position. Notice the black clip that holds the door in the closed position during the install. If you open or remove the door before installation, the jambs become all wobbly and go out of square easily. With the door in place, shims are inserted in the gaps between the rough opening and the door frame. Some adjustments to the shims will be needed to get the door level and square. Once the frame is shimmed, the friction from the shims will hold it in place. Holes are drilled and long screws are used to secure the door frame to the wall studs.

Please notice two important details in the picture above. First, the pilot hole is drilled in a spot so that the securing screw goes right through the center of the shims. This will prevent the shims from ever moving out of place and letting the door frame come out of alignment. Second, the pilot hole is drilled in a spot that will be concealed by the weatherstripping. This is done purely for "style points" and providing a clean installation.

From the outside, here's a picture of the installed door and the flashing. Notice how the flashing comes out past the top of the exterior casing. Once I removed the tape, I lifted the flashing and ran a bead of caulk underneath so that water could not work behind it.

This last picture shows the bead of caulk that is run between the siding and the exterior casing. All that is left to do is to paint the exterior casing to match!

That's it for this week! Next week, the place gets new carpet and the many final touches to get the house ready for the market. Come back soon to see how it looks!

Do you have an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM)?

With the recent and expected future rises in the market interest rates, NOW
is the time to lock in a fixed rate that can't go up every year!

Maureen Carrington
to get a mortgage that won't keep you awake at night worrying about payment increases!

Click for an
Online Quote

or contact Maureen at
(301) 651-3257
Where you get to take a vacation from your mortgage payments!

Have you heard of ? is the mortgage branch of Antler Properties, headed by Maureen Carrington.

A seasoned loan officer, Maureen will get you a loan with the very best rates and the lowest possible closing costs.

When you need financing - purchase, refinance or home equity - please keep in mind!

Click for an
Online Quote

or contact Maureen at
(301) 651-3257
Where you get to take a vacation from your mortgage payments!

Take a vacation from your mortgage payments!

When you refinance or get a purchase mortgage with
you can skip up to 3 mortgage payments!

Imagine what you could do with the extra cash you will save: Pay off other bills, take a weekend getaway or improve your home!

Click for an
Online Quote

or contact Month-Off at
(301) 651-3257
Dedicated to keeping money in your pocket when you need it most!

Note: The above are national averages, and we should be able to get you even lower rates!

For the most accurate rate information, please visit our Get a Quote for a personalized rate quote.

Your exact rate may be higher or lower depending on factors including credit score, payment history and loan to value ratio.

If you would like to contact Antler Properties, please feel free to call, e-mail or write to us at:

Antler Properties, LLC
10400 Eastwood Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20901
(301) 651-3157

Attention Readers!

Are you buying a home or need to finance your own rehab project? Want to convert from an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) to a fixed rate? Would you like to pull equity out of your personal residence or investment property? If so, then you need an experienced loan officer with extensive industry contacts!

We have relationships with DOZENS of lenders, and will find you the most favorable and competitive rates and terms on the market!

or call (301) 651-3257

for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation and find out what we can do for you!