Can I install new front door myself?

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Old 09-28-17, 09:00 AM
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Can I install new front door myself?

Ok so finding someone to install a new front door to my house has been quite a journey. First got estimates from 3 local installers with good reps. Each one came back at $6,800- $7,800 for a mid range fiberglass wood grain look door!! I just cant see myself spending that for a door. So I went to Lowes knowing full well the issue with their installers. Lower price in my rang but, of course, my interaction with the installer was enough for me to never consider using them. Finally today met with a local handyman highly recommended. No estimate yet but he wasnt very comfortable with the job (I have stucco).

So my question is: dare I try this myself? I'm an ok DIY'er and willing and excited to try anything new. Problem is every project I've ever done turns out to be way more complex that I originally thought. And this isnt something I can take my time finishing, making mistakes and figuring out as I go.

I know this may not be an easy question and answer but really could use some insight.

Here's one estimate and picture of my front entry with a mock of the door one of the installers prepare for me:

$6810.00

Provia Entry Door
 1 each 6 panel door with lite sidelites
 Stained (color TBD) mahogany grain fiberglass exterior
 Painted (color TBD) mahogany fiberglass interior
 Snow Mist White Aluminum clad capped jamb
 Dual paned low emissivity insulated glass on sidelites
 Oil rubbed Bronze Pitcher style handleset
 Oil rubbed bronze ball bearing hinges
 4 9/16 jamb depth
 Right Hand Door
 New interior trim with rosettes
 Exterior clad casing
 All labor and materials for installation
 Removal and disposal of existing unit and jobsite debris
 
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Old 09-28-17, 09:41 AM
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How much of your cost is for the door assembly? The labor portion of the bill will give you an idea as to how much work it will be.

Installing a door isn't rocket science. You just have to be ready for the difficulties. First of which is the size and weight of the door assembly. You'll probably need at least one helper. You'll also have to deal with transport and disposal of the old door. Installing a door is covered online in numerous places but you'll have to be prepared for some issues to crop up. You have to be ready for an issue with the rough opening size versus your door size. You may need to shim or install framing or even trim down the framing to make the new door fit. Yes, if everything is done right it should fit but sometimes there is an error somewhere and you're better off making it work instead of returning the door and waiting weeks for the replacement. The the most fussy part of the job is installing the trim and finishing it all off so it matches the existing without looking glaringly new and different.
 
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Old 09-28-17, 10:46 AM
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Does the job require cutting the structure or does the door fit the current opening? That alone would add significantly to the cost.
 
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Old 09-28-17, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Pilot Dane View Post
How much of your cost is for the door assembly? The labor portion of the bill will give you an idea as to how much work it will be.

Installing a door isn't rocket science. You just have to be ready for the difficulties. First of which is the size and weight of the door assembly. You'll probably need at least one helper. You'll also have to deal with transport and disposal of the old door. Installing a door is covered online in numerous places but you'll have to be prepared for some issues to crop up. You have to be ready for an issue with the rough opening size versus your door size. You may need to shim or install framing or even trim down the framing to make the new door fit. Yes, if everything is done right it should fit but sometimes there is an error somewhere and you're better off making it work instead of returning the door and waiting weeks for the replacement. The the most fussy part of the job is installing the trim and finishing it all off so it matches the existing without looking glaringly new and different.
@ Pilot Dane - thanks great feedback. Yep thought about delivery and getting help. I would have it delivered as I understand it comes in all one piece, frame, sidelights, etc. Then will have to have someone there to help me lift it of course. Didnt think about it not fitting. My home is a large developer cookie cutter type home so hoping its a standard size cut out in my wall. Ok will have to make sure to confirm that.

@Stickshift - good question. same as above I'm assuming no but guess I really have to make sure to measure properly.


Also yep was thinking theres gotta be lots of videos online. (I took apart my old ipad completely and replaced the screen, power, volume and wireless antenna last week for $35 and online videos)

Other than big boxes (they use Provia and Thermatru). Where a good place to buy doors online that will ship directly?

Worst case I figure if I cant get it done in a day I temporarily block up the door overnight. Wife would LOVE that.
 
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Old 09-28-17, 12:47 PM
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Don't assume anything! Remove the interior trim molding around your existing door and measure to the framing of your house before ordering the new door.

Big box home centers can order door assemblies but I prefer to use local lumber yards or building/contractor suppliers. Even if you aren't a contractor they will still sell to you and often provide better service and pricing.

If you decide to do it yourself make sure all doors and windows in the house stay closed, especially if it's windy, until the door is securely fastened to the framing. Opening a window or door can cause the air pressure to blow out the door assembly. If you do need to go outside before the door is secured make sure there is something or someone on the outside to catch it and prevent it from falling over.
 
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Old 09-28-17, 01:06 PM
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excellent tips. Im not worried too much about trim inside the house b/c I can take my time and do it right. Its making sure the door fits the first time. so thats a great tip to remove the trim inside. that should allow me to perfectly measure the opening.

To your point about the assemblies, what is that exactly? Is that the whole door, frame and sidelights. Do they sell them not all together? and are you saying I can get that from a local lumber yard (which I have) and put that in first, then the door and sidelights rather then one big pack? If so i like the sound of that.
 

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Old 09-28-17, 01:13 PM
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EDIT:
Ok I'm looking online and they sell them "pre hung" and not. I'm thinking it will be alot more work and uncertainty if I 'make my own" frame versus having it all hung. including the sidelights. What are the benefits of doing the frame yourself?
 
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Old 09-28-17, 02:05 PM
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You don't want to build your own frame. You'd only buy the door blank if you only intend to replace the door - using existing jamb.
 
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Old 09-28-17, 02:41 PM
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Before you do anything, measure the width, of the frame on the existing door. Then measure the width of the frame on the replacement door. Chances are it's an inch less. 5" to 4". When that is the case, you need to remove the brick face molding & align the door with the inside wall. Then rip some wood to compensate for the inch difference. You can install without removing the molding & just align the front but it's much more work to repair inside. I hope that makes sense.
 
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Old 09-28-17, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Donato_ View Post
Before you do anything, measure the width, of the frame on the existing door. Then measure the width of the frame on the replacement door. Chances are it's an inch less. 5" to 4". When that is the case, you need to remove the brick face molding & align the door with the inside wall. Then rip some wood to compensate for the inch difference. You can install without removing the molding & just align the front but it's much more work to repair inside. I hope that makes sense.
Hi Donato thanks but not following totally. See my picture above. My plan is to get a door and sidelights. Are you saying the door and sidelights hung may not be the same width as the opening in my doorway?
 
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Old 09-28-17, 03:08 PM
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Sorry, maybe I should have used the word depth instead of width. Open the door & measure the piece of wood that holds the striker plate. They were usually 5". Of course, in an effort to save money, they have been reduced to 4", more or less.
 
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Old 09-29-17, 12:38 AM
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Standard door frame depth is 4 9/16". That's designed for a common 2x4 frame construction with 1/2" sheetrock interior and 1/2" sheathing or 4 1/2" wall thickness. Doesn't matter what the siding will be since it butts against the brickmold.

Most stucco exterior homes have 5 1/4" jambs, but it can vary greatly depending on what type and thickness stucco is applied. Is it over foam or lath? Is there sheathing or just the foam. Is it panels or site applied? Will there be brickmold on top of the stucco or will the stucco butt to the frame or sides of the brickmold? etc etc etc. You have to look at what you have and measure it and decide if you want to keep that look.

Most 2x6 framed homes with regular sheathing, siding, and sheetrock are 6 9/16" frames (naturally...2" bigger than 2x4).
 
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