The Door Finale — Stormy Stuff

Oh, my gosh, you guys! I didn’t post a door finale?!? Woopsie.

I did, indeed, finish the door. Yay!

All adorned in autumn glory.
All adorned in autumn glory.

Seriously, it isn’t that orange. It’s a dark brick color, I promise. But, isn’t she lovely? The second coat, and the touch-ups, were just right. There were some issues getting the lockset back in just so, but it works now.

And can we discuss the storm door?

For the past six years or so, I have been quietly and not so quietly lamenting my storm door. Installed in 1992, it didn’t close quite right. There are closers on both top and bottom. And it wasn’t sitting plumb, which is not surprising in this house. Square, yes, plumb, no. It’s dark brown, which I choose to call bronze these days, so when the hot summer sun hits it, a hand can get burnt, for real. And there were little holes at the original glass weatherstrip corners, which let in both hot and cold air. And, sometimes the most important thing to me, it wouldn’t stay locked. We had to yank real hard to get it to even latch.

I yearned to paint the storm door a cream color to match the house trim, so that it would not absorb heat in the summer. That never happened. I adjusted the closers, the handle and lock. I priced out storm doors dozens of times so that the sales guys would walk away when I entered the department. I knew that a nice one, installed, would be more than my frugal self wanted to pay.

What to do, what to do? I finally just tackled one thing at a time. Because it really couldn’t get much worse, right?

A little clear caulk goes a looong way.
A little clear caulk goes a looong way.

The weatherstrip corners were filled with clear exterior caulk. I had some in my hand while installing the exterior lights, and it finally hit me. Done! And what a difference it made immediately! You can’t see it really well, because clear, but trust me, it’s there and functioning very well, thankyouverymuch.

Next, to get it to close properly. I accidentally deleted a pic of the old weatherstripping, which was rubber D-type, adhered to the door itself. It kept coming loose after the first year. I thought this kind of weatherstripping would smoosh where needed and stay full where needed, but it didn’t really work that way. I removed it and cleaned off the gross adhesive. The door still wasn’t plumb, and the door still wasn’t meeting the trim, ergo, a gap to let in Nebraska winds. Because I had some unused product still sitting around, I decided to try putting rubber weatherstripping between the wood door frame and the door trim, at the gap toward the bottom, so that the trim would meet the door. Look at how that turned out. Well, okay, maybe you can’t see it all that well, and that’s a good thing. (wink)

Out of plumb enough to cause frustration. Pay no mind to our little moth friend.
Out of plumb enough to be frustrating. Pay no mind to our little moth friend.

The fuzzy weatherstripping was also so smashed it didn’t do a thing; I had searched for a replacement product in previous years, but was told only the original manufacturer would even have it, and probably wouldn’t sell it. Guess what? It’s a thing now. I purchased the fuzzy stuff for less than $10. It was a chore, certainly. I took off the closure side and the top of the frame trim for this, one at a time, which involved taking out 7 screws for each. I had to use needle-nose pliers to pull the old stuff out of the channel, and it was mostly deteriorating, so that took some doing. Then I really had to work to slide the new weatherstripping in the channels. When I put the trim back on the closure side, I inserted that rubber weatherstripping to bump it out. The screws allowed for just the right spacing for the door and the trim to meet. Finally a closed door!

Fuzzy weatherstrip, working lock plate.

I didn’t take off the hinge side of the trim to replace that weatherstripping. There weren’t gaps there. The fuzzy stuff there wasn’t very smashed at all, and the trim is actually part of the hinge system. No way I was messing with that.

So, with the trim moved out just enough, and new fuzzy stuff, the door actually closes! Just a little adjustment to the lock plate (considerable effort to bend it, using the vise and a couple of other “methods”), and the handle now locks securely, too! I also adjusted the closers, keeping both of them. Did you know there are instructions?  I did, but could never get them to work well enough because of the whole not-closing thing. Now it’s a smooth close, no pulling required.

"When all else fails, follow directions."
“When all else fails, follow instructions.”

So the front door has a new partner in the refurbished storm door. It isn’t as pretty as a brand new one, and may need a little ArmorAll or something before the winter. But it is absolutely functioning. And it goes with the new light fixture.

Safe, secure, and a perfect fit.
Safe, secure, and a perfect fit.

Less than $10 for the storm door. A new one, installed, would have been about $800. I think someone owes me a steak dinner.



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