Tuesday, December 22, 2009

We've Got Back Door Issues...

That sounds kinda naughty doesn't it? Or maybe I just have a dirty mind.

The back door to the house that enters through the kitchen is in bad shape. An incorrectly installed door sweep had turned the bottom part of the door into mush. The paint was wholesale failing over most of the door also. That's not too hard to believe as this door faces south and gets full sun and all the wind driven rain.

We got lucky and had a week of unusually warm weather-like in the 80's. This was fortunate as it allowed the door to dry out as much as possible before I had to paint it. Actually, by the end of the week the door had shrunk so much that it was easy to open and close against the new bottom threshold where initially it required a bit of work.

Here's the back door after I cleaned, scraped and sanded all the loose paint off that I could.

Here's a shot of the bottom part of the door. Why in the world would you make an exterior door out of this press board stuff? It soaks up water like a sponge and turns to mush!. With the door as dry as it was ever going to be I decided to paint it and hopefully it would soak up enough primer that this area would be protected-ish.

Here's an exciting picture of me rolling on the primer with a super cool mini roller. I used this thing to roll the primer on everything and it worked great and was way faster than doing it all with a brush. Like I thought, the bottom part of the door soaked up paint like a sponge. I think I put 3 heavy coats in that area...hopefully it will all dry before I have to close the door for the night, to keep the cats in and the cold air out.

I waited a week for the primer to dry and then went to work installing weather stripping on the door. As you can see from this shot even though the bottom was sealed up well there was still a substantial gap along the latch side that was allowing a fair amount of air in. Look at all that sunlight!

So, back to Pagano's I went for some weather stripping (man I'm glad that place is literally 3 blocks from our house.) This weather stripping has a flexible bulb on the end. You hold it against the door so that the bulb is evenly compressed and screw it to the door stop.

And here's a shot of all three sides of the door done. Doing this dramatically cut down on the breeze coming from this area. Before doing this make sure your door latch-striker plate are aligned and in good shape. I will need to reset-fix mine up to get the full benefit of the weather stripping. Now the stripping pushes back on the door enough that there is still a slight gap on the handle side of the door. Ah well, live and learn.

With these improvements and the insulation in the floor this area is now quite toasty and the babies room is definitely warmer. We've been using an electric space heater in there as a booster to the radiant but now we don't need it unless its SUPER cold outside.


Gene said...

Looking much better. My guess is that it wasn't originally an exterior door. As you've noted, there are good reasons not to make an exterior door out of pressboard, the main one being that they are sponges.

Over at Habitat we had some interior doors which were pressboard, and they got damp enough stored in an incompleted house that the outsides separated from the internal ribs and got all warped. I can only imagine what an exterior door made of the stuff would do when exposed fully to the elements.

The MadScientist said...

Hi Gene,
Ya I wouldnt of guessed that this was an exterior door but take a look at that window. For what reason would an interior door have a window like that?
I think its just a cheap-crappy exterior door.
The bottom of the door is starting to separate so we'll see how long it lasts...

Gene said...

Saw + glass + frame = window in your door :-) In any event, as you've noted it'll have to be replaced at some point. Hopefully it'll last a while with the TLC you've given it.

Jessamyn said...

It could have been a commercial interior door. You know, like the door to the office in a mechanic's or industrial setting. They often have a window for light and visibility.

The MadScientist said...

Hi Jessamyn,
I guess that could be true.
Actually all the exterior doors on the house that were not original were of similar construction...Maybe the old owner got em on sale or something.