This DIY project has been a long time coming. We ordered this patio door for our basement (along with the lumber for our mini shed and new basement windows) back in April. It was one of our “bored and in quarantine” impulse buys. Some people buy clothes and gadgets- we buy doors! I should also mention that we’ve never hung a door, nor are we professionals, but we thought, “Heck, let’s just do it!” And it definitely needed replacement… You’ll see why.
A few things about this basement door. As far as we can tell, the sliding door shown above is original to this 1979 build. It’s also shattered on one side (hard to see in this photo, but I’ll show it later…). We noticed the outside pane was broken last year and thought maybe a deer or a wandering neighbor broke it (I was really trying not to think about the latter). Naturally, we left it this way for some months until (enter COVID-19) we decided it was time to finally replace the windows and doors in the basement!
Pretty broken, huh? Oh, and it also didn’t open. Not a great door or window.
Upon further inspection, we developed some suspicion about the structure of the basement door frame. It appeared that the “beam” over the doorway wasn’t supported by anything and was essentially resting on the door itself. That was sort of our “aha” moment- we thought maybe the doorway had finally sagged enough weight onto the door, preventing it from opening and eventually causing the glass pane to fracture.
So came DEMO DAY! And yeah, I’m 8 month pregnant, but I wasn’t about to miss out on this excitement! If you head over to our Instagram, you can watch the “Door Demo” highlight bubble and watch our day as it happened. It was a glass shattering good time! Long story short- we tried to contain the broken door in tarp and duct tape while removing it and…
Yeah, well, it didn’t work great. But we did eventually get the door out and confirmed our structural suspicions. The “beam” above was a bunch of hodge-podge 2×4’s toenailed into the sides of the doorway. And, as a bonus, the sides of the door way were all chewed up from old termite damage. Cuuuute! We built a temporary supporting wall with a pair of bottle jacks and ripped out all of the sketchy door framing.
The next steps involved a lot of measuring, remeasuring, and measuring again to decide how to best fit the new door dimensions. We used a pressure treated 1×6 on the bottom of the frame and two on either side, all anchored by Tapcons into the foundation. After building a new beam, we lifted it into place on top of the side framing.
We sealed up the gaps with Prosoco R-Guard Joint and Seam Filler in our favorite sausage caulking gun (their name, not mine). In lieu of a sill pan, we attached a small trim board to the top of the bottom of the frame and covered the whole thing in Prosoco R-Guard Fast Flash to create a water resistant barrier. This will *hopefully* prevent leaks under the door!
Hanging the door was definitely the most tedious part of this project! It took a lot of patience to get the door level. To make matters more complicated, one of the door hinges came with stripped screws which caused the door to sag and pull away from the frame. Fortunately we were able to get a repair recommendation from the manufacturer (Mastercraft). We drilled out the holes to fit small wooden dowels, glued them in, and cut them flush with the door. After allowing them to dry, we were able to re-drill holes for the hinge. Not ideal to have to repair a brand new door, but it’s a whole lot easier than removing and returning the entire thing. Yiiikes.
Aside from a few unexpected twists and turns, we have pretty much finished the door install! All it needs now is some insulating, trim work, and paint. The most exciting part is the fact that we have an operable basement door that will make bringing in lumber and drywall so much easier!
Thanks for stopping by! We love sharing our DIY diaries with you guys! This was Step #3 to our basement finishing. Check out the sump pump install and our DIY window replacement to get all caught up! We’ll see you next time!