I’d love to say we never make mistakes… What I can say is we’re committed to making things right when we do. I recently went to a customer’s home where we made a boo boo when building their door. While there, it occurred to me that replacing a door is a much more complicated process than most people realize. I guess since we do it every day its grown familiar to us.
So I thought I’d throw a few things out that one should know when thinking of replacing a door. Here is my top 5 list gathered over 30 years in the business. Others may have a different list but this is what I’ve seen.
1. Handing – Oh me. We draw pictures, we show, we explain, we’d use smoke signals if it would help. Still, on occasion, we’ll deliver someone’s door and they’ll say “it swings the wrong way”. Now this is a real bummer, and I’m not blaming the customer really. When you don’t live it, it’s an honest mistake. Simply put, here’s how doors are “handed”.
Click on the following for a more complete chart Door Handing Chart-HR
2. Size – I wish I had a nickel for every time I’ve asked someone what size their door is and they’ve said, “Oh, it’s just a standard size door”. The thing is, there’s no such thing. A 3′ wide door has changed over the years in actual width and changes from manufacturer to manufacturer. Same with height. Now don’t fret, because we can handle just about any size you can throw at us, sometimes it just takes a little more time.
For the record, our sizes in stock now are nominal. That is, a 3′ wide by 6’8″ tall door slab will actually be 35-3/4″ wide and 79-1/4″ tall.
3. What’s not included – The great majority of anyone’s doors do not come finished (painted or stained). The biggest reason is shipping. It’s too easy to scratch or scuff it. This is actually a good thing. Once you’ve installed the door and are ready to finish it, you’ll know you’ve got the color you want. If it’s purchased already finished, too late.
Hardware (door knob) is also not included. Two reasons. First, there are so many different kinds it’s easiest simply to make sure we know what kind you’re getting, and then make sure the door will accept it. Second, shipping a door with the hardware on it is a bad idea. You’ll be too tempted to use the knob to pick the door up, and knobs were not made for that. I guess there’s one more reason, that is that you might not need it at all. In many cases, people simply remove the hardware from the old door and install it on the new door.
4. Inswing/Outswing – Now it’s true that we don’t sell all that many outswing doors (the door swings open to the outside instead of to the inside) except in commercial applications. But this has tripped some people up before. This may seem like a softball, but if you grew up in a house that happened to have an outswing door, you might think that everyone has them. But it’s not very common and if you get an inswing, you’re not happy.
A couple of things to consider here. In my experience, you probably should not get an outswing if you don’t have much overhang above it. On the other hand, if you need a little extra space in the room it leads in to, it might be a great option.
5. Paint or Stain? – Yes, I did say that painting and staining is not included. But we have to know which one you’re doing. Why? Because if you’re staining, you’ll need clear jambs and we’ll need to know what species. If painting, you’re better off with paint-grade primed jambs. And of course we have the best. Our framesaver jambs come standard on any units we build. The bottom few inches of the jamb are a composite that wont rot, rust or warp, definitely worth it.
Well, I should be quick to say that what I mean here generally is exterior doors that are wood, fiberglass, metal, etc. But some of the above does NOT apply for others. Sliding doors from most manufacturers do include hardware. Some wood and fiberglass doors will come pre-finished. And on and on the exceptions go.
It’s best you just come by and see us, but you can also visit us on the web or give us a call at 256-852-7411.