We replaced our front door last weekend, the short, non-holiday weekend. We had planned on it taking two days because of the repairs to water-damaged wood around said entrance. It took three days – with a blanket stapled over the door opening for the two thankfully-good-weather nights we spent sans door.
Even after three days, we only had the door in place – not completely sealed, no trim, no latch and no window.
It also didn’t close really well. The upper corner on the latch side was rubbing hard, but try as we might – and judging by the hellacious arguing involved, we were trying very hard – we couldn’t get the door to sit squarely in our cobbled-together, uneven, exceedingly rough rough-opening. Go figure.
In the end, we decided that this door fit better than the previous door (which we also installed and which also stuck in the same corner. Whatever). I figured I could use a rasp to shave off some of the offending wood.
All troubles aside, after three days we were satisfied we had a real door that blocked the elements and the flies (with many thanks to the makers of plastic sheeting and duct tape for the temporary window, which wasn’t classy but was impervious to flying pests).
Over the week we got the exterior sealant, the door latch and and the window in, and we even did all this before the big storm hit with high winds and driving rain, so there was that saving grace, too. Or it was dumb luck – I’ll take it either way – but I’m still calling it grace.
This weekend, I intended to seal the space between the jamb and studs with spray foam insulation and put up the interior and exterior trim boards. Having a plan was probably ill-advised, the best laid plans being all blah blah blah and making the gods laugh and all.
Turns out I didn’t have white paint for the exterior trim. The holiday weekend prevented purchase of more and my damn guiding morals kept me from breaking into the store, but no big deal, I got the boards primed, and I could spend the rest of the allotted construction time getting the interior just right. Uh-huh. “Lol,” the gods said.
I got the wood shaved down until the door fit well enough, and figured I would finish it after we got done sealing the jamb etc. – on the off chance that things would shift around.
We applied the spray foam insulation, without a huge mess … until it swelled considerably more than we figured, thus making a mess on the pristine door and jamb, both of which would now need to be sanded down and re-primered. And as awesomely crappy as that sounds, it wasn’t as bad as the fact that the foam that squirted out into the open air dried first, creating a seal, but the stuff between the jamb and studs kept swelling just enough that the door got wedged shut.
Aaargh! Let’s just pretend that that is what I said.
So, before the foam completely cured, I used a knife and long screw driver to rip it out. More mess, yes.
However, this is where we get to a cool part of the story, an unprecedented stroke of good fortune. I ripped and tore at the foam only on the latch side until the jamb was free, and before tearing into the other side, I opened and closed the door only to find that it worked smoothly – like a door installed by someone who knows what they’re doing. That smooth.
It was a miracle, and the best kind of miracle: It didn’t come free and clear. There was work and anguish. There will be more work, probably more anguish. It all makes the door working properly seem that much sweeter.
And if “Miracle of the Single-wide Mansion” status doesn’t make you feel good, there’s an entry from the “could’ve been worse” department messaged to me by a friend whose husband manages a ranch south of our place:
“The last hired man (the one that went to jail) redid the door in the trailer they were living in here. He put the door in upside down and then spray-foamed it shut. … [He] had ‘carpenter’ on his resume.”
I still don’t have the trim boards up, but …
hell, yeah, I’ll accept “awesomer by comparison” status at pam[at]viewfromthenorth40.com