The Backdoor.

No, not a sleazy bar. The backdoor of the house was a little shabby, so The Epic Tale of the Door Replacement is the first real home improvement post. This was supposed to be posted a few months ago, but since I’m still not finished with it it’s still relevant.

I actually needed a new door for the garage apartment so I can rent it out. I now have a kind of hierarchy for things like doors, appliances, fixtures, etc. When the apartment needs something, I steal it from the house and buy new to replace it.

The old backdoor on the house was a modern steel entry door that sealed up good, but had a few dents and needed paint. This made it an ideal candidate for the garage, but it put up a bit of a fight. It had been put in with these magic screws about 8″ long that broke off when you tried to remove them, and had about 50 nails pounded through the top of the jamb. When it came time to pull out the jamb, it took a little convincing with a 3lb sledge. My son was laughing at me the whole time as I tried not to reduce the thing to splinters, since I needed to reuse it…

Post carnage. Note my friend the hammer on the right.

Once I finally got it out, I discovered why I had water leaking into the basement every time it rained… the threshold had no silicone under it. The patio slopes towards the doorway (to be fixed in the future) so water ran under the threshold and right into the basement.  

Brick walls are wider than the average standard replacement steel entry jamb… Don’t know what I’m going to do about this yet.

I started cleaning up the floor and found an old metal threshold that was still in the floor. This one had just been installed over top of it. Nice.

At this point I had waaaay more time into this project than I had planned. Sunlight waning, I was feeling a little rushed on my archaeological dig. I got everything cleaned up, but ran into another problem. I had two nice channels on either side of the doorway that water could run through (and probably had been) that had to be filled first. I briefly considered just filling them with silicone when I sealed the threshold to the ground, but thought better of it. I don’t want to be repeating this exercise anytime soon.

These bricks were previously hidden by the extra wide aluminum threshold that was in place. I kind of like the look, so I’m going to let ’em shine.

I brushed out all the loose mortar on either side and mixed up some Rockite anchoring cement. I like it because you can make it a pourable self-leveling consistency and it sets up fast.  I made a few cardboard forms where needed and proceeded to fill my would be aqueducts.

As you can see, I had the halogen out by this point.

With everything on a level plane I put two generous beads of masonry silicone caulk across the bottom and set the new jamb in place after a quick test fit. On a wood frame house you would add shims where needed and put evenly spaced screws around the jamb. In this instance I was at the mercy of a few wood blocks stuck into the brick by an unknown means. They seemed solid enough, so I just went with it. By this time it was about 10pm and I didn’t feel like drilling holes for block anchors. My enthusiasm was wearing a bit thin.

Finished! …not really.


With everything squared and fastened, I attached the door to the jamb and sealed it up with expanding foam. Normally you would leave the door installed in the jamb for the whole process, but I had removed it for painting. Note: If you plan to spray both sides of a 36″x 80″ door you need MORE than a quart. A quart was only enough to fill the line on the sprayer so the pump was cavitating after only one coat. I had to dump water in the sprayer in order to use up the remaining paint in the line. As a result the paint is rather thin and chips easily, I’ll be redoing it at a later date. I went with a simple 6 panel door that matches some of the original interior doors nicely.

Now to cover the remaining exposed interior brick I’ll use 1×6 boards for trim, with the brickmould trim I had to remove in front of that. Haven’t gotten around to it yet, with the hole in the house filled I don’t have the same urgency… I’ll add pics of this when it’s done.






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