Replace an Old Entry Door
Preinstall the trim and get the flashing details right to create a long-lasting, welcoming entrance to your home.
Synopsis: The entry door on your house welcomes guests and faces the world. When installed properly, it should last a long time. Builder Emanuel Silva describes his technique for installing an entry door so that it will last a long time and be able to avoid rot. Silva begins by building the door’s trim on the worktable, which gives him more control over the trim assembly. Next, he flashes the rough opening, a line of defense against water infiltration and decay. After preparing the door for installation, he hangs it, making sure to finish by adding a bit of spray-foam insulation between the door frame and the rough opening.
I’ve replaced dozens of rotten entry doors in my time as a carpenter. Unfortunately, most of those rotten doors never had a chance in the first place. In my opinion, the single largest cause of failing doors is improper installation and flashing.
Installing a door so that it’s airtight and sheds water is imperative. Over the years, I’ve adopted a system that makes door installation easier, more accurate, and extremely weathertight. On this particular project, rot was less of an issue than aesthetics. The homeowners simply wanted a better-looking door. However, it’s important to replace any material that shows even the slightest bit of rot before starting any of the sequences shown here. A solid substrate yields a flawless finished product.
Trim out the new door the easy way
Perhaps the greatest advantage to this approach is that you can trim the new door before you remove the old door. I find it easier and faster to attach trim — especially intricate dentil-molding details — when the door is flat on a worktable. I use PVC when trimming out exterior doors. PVC won’t split, crack, or…