I needed a new workbench. After spending days on Youtube watching video after video on the “Perfect” “Ultimate” Workbench, I was more lost than ever on what I needed for my shop. After several failed design attempts to create my own “ultimate” workbench, I decided to go in the complete opposite direction.
What was the simplest, easiest workbench that I could make that would meet the following criteria?
Large enough to use as an all-purpose table saw outfeed table, assembly table, and work area
Strong enough to be used and abused in a production shop every day
Relatively easy to move around
Provide flexible storage that I could customize as my needs develop
Built for less than $100
Easy for new woodworkers and DIYers to build themselves with limited tools
I did it. I created a basic, common, cheap, no bells, no whistles, boring workbench…and I LOVE it. Thus the name, “The Perfectly Boring Workbench.”
Build Your Own
I decided to publish a set of easy-to-follow plans along with this video. They should be easy enough for a new woodworker or DIYer to follow. You’re local Home Depot or Lowes may even be able to cut everything to size for you in the store.
One tool or rather set of tools you may want is the Kreg Accu-Cut System. This is an attachment to your circular saw that will aid you in getting straight accurate cuts.
Two 4’x8′ Sheets of 3/4 Plywood (Other Materials like MDF are fine I just prefer plywood)
Two 4″x4″ Posts 8ft long (Or Four 2x4s doubled up for the legs)
Get the Step by Step Plans
The Perfectly Boring Workbench is easy to make. It’s even easier with our step-by-step plans. The plans include a full material list, cut list, and assembly instructions. Purchasing our woodworking plans helps us put out more and better blogs and videos.
It’s a Laundry Room, a Mud Room, Pantry, Catch All. Most houses have them. That room that’s by the garage door or, if you’re in the South, the door that everyone you know comes through because front doors are just for show.
We took this empty room and transformed it into the perfect landing zone for a busy family. As you walk in from the garage you’re greeted by a hall tree to hang backpacks, and put shoes. We made a fully adjustable shelving unit so it can change as their needs change.
Entry Bench/Hall Tree
Next, we built a large three-door closet. This closet has one bank of adjustable shelving for those things you use, but not every day, but still want access too. Those things. The next is set up for the vacuum, cleaning supplies, and has a clothes rod for hanging clothes out of the dryer if needed.
When we arrived the dryer was sitting on this ugly wood box. The homeowner mentioned she loved the height it made the dryer but very ugly. We made a beautiful dryer stand with a full extension drawer for additional storage (can you ever have enough?)
Above the washer and dryer, we built matching upper cabinets.
Window Nook Desk
One unique addition to this laundry room is this little window nook desk. It was one of those “can we do this?” additions and I’m proud of how it turned out.
Draw-Bridge Doggie Door
Do you even love your dog if you have not provided them with a draw-bridge doggie door?! I’ll admit that I did this for free because I thought it would look cool. There was a door here that the previous owner sealed up. We removed the old leaky door and framed in this opening with a high-quality Low-E window.
This is the only original cabinet we left in this room. Refacing a cabinet box can save a lot of money so we refaced this old ugly cabinet to make it look just as good as the new cabinets. This method saved the customer about $1000 over fully removing and rebuilding a similar cabinet. Don’t Replace – Reface!
A Fun Project – A Useful Transformation
Our client loved our finished result. Not only is it beautiful, but every change we made serves a purpose. Custom cabinetry designed to make your life easier and less stressful.
Here’s what the Home Owner thought of our work:
Her review was delicious.
We specialize in coming up with unique cabinetry solutions designed for your space and designed for your life. Contact Us to start your next home improvement project.
I’ve been accused of being hard to shop for. I think most Carpenters, Handymen, and other skilled tradespeople are. The reason is that most of us like tools, a lot.
Umm…That should make it easy right?
Buying Tools is the Whole Point
An HVAC friend, who really helped me out when I got started, said, “If buying new tools all the time isn’t part of the job, then what’s the point?!” He’s right. We’re a bunch of big kids who now have a legitimate “business reason” to buy all the toys tools we need. Shh… don’t tell our wives.
Seriously though, If I need a tool for a job, I buy it. If I have a good month and a new tool will make my work a little easier, I buy it. If it’s in the right spot at the Lumber Yard, I buy it. Having the tools to do a job safely, do it well, and do it fast ultimately makes or breaks our businesses.
Therefore, here are 10 gift ideas for some less common tools, under $100, that we may not have… yet.
Why don’t I own one of these? A laser measure can quickly and accurately measure a room with a push of a button. It will speed up estimates, measuring for base and crown, and generally just save time on the job site. If I don’t get this for Christmas I’m buying one. I should have already.
While the multitool doesn’t excel at any one job, having a small tool that can do many jobs readily available is handy when you find yourself in a surprise situation where you did need that flathead, wire cutter, etc. I had a multitool really liked but have no clue where it is.
Reading books regularly correlates highly with being a successful person. “Readers are Leaders” or something along those lines. My problem, I’m busy. I’m always working toward the next project deadline, or catching up on family time. I rarely sit down to read. By the time I’ve given up hope on finishing my to-do list, I can’t focus on words on a screen or page anymore. But I do spend a lot of time driving, working in my shop, sanding, and painting. There’s plenty of time to listen to a book and learn new things. Audible is something I’d like to try, but never do myself
Good, quality headphones tie in with the Audible Gift. I’ve tried a few different $20-ish dollar Bluetooth earbuds, but they don’t block enough noise to really be useful around loud equipment. These headphones from ISOtunes, are also earplugs. Blocking the loud noise from saws, sanders, and planers is a safety issue that I have been lax in addressing. These are also Bluetooth so there’s no wire to create an additional safety hazard or be in the way.
These are the best, most versatile clamps I’ve ever owned. Yes, I already have 8, I could use 8 more. The concept is simple: route a dovetail groove and use it as a track for this clamp. I’ll have a video on these soon because they are amazing. I use them for; Auxilary Fences, Face Frame Assembly, Jigs, Stop blocks, and they also fit in dog holes and can be used basically anywhere. These clamps are high quality and worth every penny.
I am leery of recommending a specific tool box, tool bag, or toolbox system because everyone has their unique needs and preferences. I work out of a trailer so I don’t need an interlocking rolling toolbox system, like the DeWalt Tough System. However, I do need a good bag that I can put all my cabinet door installation tools into, or my crown molding tools into and take into a customer’s house.
I’ve had this tool since I started my business 3 years ago. I have used it in countless ways and has been one of the best purchases I’ve made under $100. It folds flat for easy compact storage and both the cart and dolly positions have plenty of uses. I don’t use it all the time but it has a designated spot in my trailer so I can get it when I don’t feel like hauling something heavy
There you have it 10 gift ideas that you can give the handyman in your life this Christmas season.
I love building custom furniture, it’s what got me into woodworking in the first place. I loved every minute of designing and building this Oak Bedroom Suite for a family in the Brazos Valley.
We Want Something Custom…
Every custom cabinet maker and woodworker loves hearing those words. True custom work is where skills and creativity are stretched and grown. Kayla wanted a one of a kind bedroom suite for her home. She provided me with some dimensions and some pictures from Pinterest for some “pinspriation.”
Sketch up is one of my most powerful tools. I was able to take the dimensions and specifications given to me and come up with a 3D concept drawing to “See” the project. Sketch Up allowed us to talk about what worked and would not and solve design problems before we ever cut a board.
Oak is the ideal choice for furniture. Oak is Strong. Oak is Durable. Oak is Beautiful. Can you tell I really love working with Oak? Another advantage of oak is that it takes stain and finishes amazingly well.
Building the Entertainment Center and Dresser
Good materials make good furniture. I spent a long time at the lumber yard finding just the right pieces. The picture to the left is a beautiful piece of figured red oak. In the finished entertainment center you will see that I kept the grain orientation the same across all three drawers. It’s a little detail that many my not notice but one I’m proud of.
Building the cabinet boxes for both the entertainment center and the dresser was a straight forward process. We used Purebond Oak Plywood for the body of the cabinets, and solid 3/4 Oak for the face frames. (You can learn more about why we exclusively use Purebond Plywood by clicking here).
The bodies of the Oak Bedroom Suite cabinets
Unique Drawer and Door Faces
I’d never made a cabinet door in a Chevron Pattern before this project. It took some trial and error to get right but the doors turned out nicely.
Achieving the Perfect Color Stain
We mixed our “Classic Gray” and “Dark Walnut” stains in various proportions to get the color just right. The final stain chosen was 2/3 Classic Gray and 1/3 Dark Walnut.
Once we got the color right we applied several coats of high quality lacquer for a durable finish
Special Delivery…almost anywhere
Thanks to the growth of our second business, Texas Custom Kennels, we now have the ability to ship our custom furniture across the United States. We even shipped one table to Seattle Washington. Since this project was relatively close we delivered and set up the furniture for them.
Wrapped in clear plastic for protection
Moving Blankets and Cardboard protect on the road
The King Size Oak Platform Bed
I didn’t get great pictures building this bed. We used 3/4 oak plywood, edge-banded it, and build some 3×3 feet out of solid oak.
All the Pretty Pictures of Our Custom Oak Bedroom Suite
Your Next Project Starts Here
If you can think it, find a picture of it, or just describe it, we can refine it and bring it into reality. Contact Us to have your dreams built into something amazing.
There was once a sad, neglected shed in the back corner of a lot in the Carter Creek area in Bryan TX. The previous owner neglected this shed and now the existing doors were unusable. We pulled out the rotting double door (that was an interior door) and replaced it with a single 36″ wide steel door.
Identifying the Problem
Ok…That’s a little tongue-in-cheek in this situation. The new owner of this house has been slowly fixing things and upgrading things to suit her taste since she bought a nice older home in Bryan. Great house, nice neighborhood but like any older home it’s time for some renovation and maintenance to make it last another 60 years.
This shed, although an eye-sore, wasn’t a huge priority. Therefore, we focused on some interior improvements to the main house first. But when the owner could no longer access her garden shed because of this door, the priority level was bumped up.
We decided to replace the door with an inexpensive steel door and replace the siding on only one side of the barn. . Replacing all the siding will come at a later date.
Sometimes budget dictates the scope of work that you can afford to do. We get that. By breaking this project down we could do the door and one side now, then at a later date go back and replace the rest of the siding. We also offer six-month zero interest payment plans through PayPal Credit. Get those essential home repairs done without cleaning out the emergency fund.
New Door, New Siding, Fresh Paint
A new door, new siding, and a fresh coat of high quality paint. This job only took about 3 days from start to finish. The home owner did decide to splurge in one area; installing a Kwikset Key Pad Lock. Key pad locks allow you to use a code to unlock the door with out a key. No more walks of shame back inside to get your keys! I love them and the added convenience is worth the upgrade.
What’s the Home Improvement Project You’ve been Putting Off?
Fall is a great time for smaller home improvement projects. Let Dailey Woodworks help you get it done right. CLICK HERE to go to our contact page and tell us about your project for a free estimate.
It has been a while since we posted anything about our barn doors! We build custom wood barn doors and offer installation services for Bryan, College Station, Caldwell, Brenham, and the rest of the Brazos Valley. Here’s some of our recent barn door projects.
Baby Boy’s Nursery in Bryan
This is the first full bypass barn door system we’ve done. With the limited space of this bedroom there simply wasn’t room for a traditional out-swing closet door, so barn doors to the rescue. We installed a full length header to support the weight of the doors. Our standard practice is to stain this to match the doors.
These doors are a 42″ K-Brace stained in Weathered Wood. To order yours click here.
Kitchen Pantry Barn Door in College Station
While I’d love to take credit for this Kitchen Remodel, that credit goes to my friend Buck the Builder. He contacted me to build a coordinating barn door for a pantry in a hallway. A regular door would have blocked access to the hall when it was open. With a barn door you wont impede traffic getting your Pop-Tart while everyone rushes out the door on their way to school and work.
This is a 30″ mid-bar design on our standard 6.6ft track. The header was left a contrasting color to tie into the kitchen. Getting the right color for this door was a little bit of a challenge. We mixed and matched a few different colors to get the effect that our customer wanted. To order yours click here.
A Desperately Needed Shop Door Facelift
The garage door on my shop was literally disintegrating. One day, half of it fell off the track, and almost ruined one of our custom projects. It was scary but my chiropractor appreciated the extra visit. An over head door is really just in the way in a small shop so barn doors it is. Technically in this application they are double carriage doors. My wife picked out the X-brace design and we took out the eye sore of a garage door, framed out a jamb and installed these. Still need to get it all painted…
We bought this property a little over a year ago. I forgot how bad this place looked when we bought it. There’s still an overwhelming amount to do, but we’re making progress. You however don’t have to suffer through a long, live-in-flip. You can hire Dailey Woodworks to renovate your home in a quick painless manner :-).
These doors are 42″ X-Brace Doors, mounted with common gate hardware. Be sure to follow us on Facebook so you can see the finished product.
Getting Barn Doors for Your Home is Easy
On our barn door order page we have upfront pricing on our standard sizes, colors, and installation service. We can custom build almost any size from barn-door-baby-gates, to massive over-size barn doors in a variety of styles. We’ll build your barn doors and have them installed in just a week or two from your order date.
Barn Doors also make for great farmhouse style headboards. To order yours click here.
Everyone wants their money’s worth. It doesn’t matter if its lunch or a new kitchen; we want good quality at a good value. Here at Dailey Woodworks, we are the same way. We want the best materials possible at the best price possible to provide our customers the best value overall. That’s why we’re now spending $15 more per sheet of plywood.
For the last few years I’ve been buying one type of plywood for my custom dog kennels, one type of plywood for my shop projects, another for cabinetry, and another for stain grade work. Here’s the thing; this leaves me with a small mountain of off cuts and scraps that I can’t really use. Waste. I tried various ways to organize and use it; however, mixing BC, Birch, Oak, and Radiata offcuts together for a finished product isn’t a good option. You’re paying Dailey Woodworks for a high-quality end product, not for a hodgepodge of scrap lumber. So every couple of weeks, I’d load up my small mound of offcuts and take it to the dump. I probably throw away $300-$500 of good material every month, if not more, because I just don’t have the room to store it.
Discovering Purebond Hardwood Plywood
For my interior cabinet work, I have been using Common Birch from my local lumber yard. It’s a decent paint grade material that provides a good value. But I really don’t like working with it. The dust generated really irritates my allergies, even with my dust collection system.
Recently, I started a laundry room renovation in Bryan, TX. We started with storage/water heater cabinet refacing. (Refacing is keeping the cabinet box, painting or replacing the face frame, and installing new doors. This is about 1/2 the cost of new cabinets (See our Budget Kitchen Transformation Article to learn more).) My client decided to add a couple of pull out drawers for better access. Our standard drawer boxes are clear coated 1/2 birch plywood with captive 1/4 birch bottom. They are strong, look great, and are inexpensive.
Since my normal lumber yard was 20 minutes away, I decided to go to the nearest lumber yard and pick up what I thought was the same but more expensive product. It was advertised as “Purebond.” I’ve heard a few of my favorite Youtube Woodworkers talk about it and liking it. The cynic in me just assumed they were getting sponsored to say that. I’ll be darned! (keeping it kid friendly here) It’s good stuff!
The first thing I noticed was that the faces were thicker and looked better than what I normally used. The biggest difference was in milling it to size. NO ALLERGY IRRITATION! It smelled a lot better, too. Looks better, smells better, less irritation… that’s all great but is it really $10-15 a sheet better? I finished up my pull outs with a few coats of lacquer and installed them. We were waiting on my cabinet doors to come in so I loaded up and headed home.
I had about a half sheet left so I put it on my scrap cart that was already overflowing with the various other products I use thinking, “Wow! This “Purebond” stuff really looks better and mills very well, maybe I should look into this?”
Making the Switch
Using my magic rectangle that contains all of the knowledge known to man, I quickly discovered why I should start using Purebond exclusively. The main birch I had been using is imported from China, contains formaldehyde, and is made under questionable manufacturing practices. Purebond Birch Plywood (I can order it with basically in any wood), is made in the USA, uses Soy-Based Adhesives, and poplar wood cores. Basically, both you and I can find out everything we want to know about Purebond plywood because Columbia Forest Products is proud of it, unlike the old product I was using. I could only get an “I don’t know, we just order it from our supplier” when I asked about where my old lumber yard got their “cabinet grade material.”
Here’s the facts: Purebond is made in North America, from American sourced raw materials, It uses a Soy-Based formaldehyde-free adhesive during the manufacturing process, is both LEED and CARB compliant, and is a winner of the EPA’s Greener Synthetic Pathways Challenge. Which would you rather have in your home? Which would you rather use to store your food? Which would I rather work with almost every day? Exactly.
Standardizing to Increase Value for My Customers
While all the benefits of switching to Purebond are obvious, there was still the extra price to swallow or pass on to my customers. But what if there was a better way?
I’m all into learning and applying Lean Manufacturing Philosophy to my life and business. You can see some of the improvements I make in my “Lean Improvements” blog category. The overarching principle of Lean is to eliminate waste. Remember that $300-500 of material I throw away every month because I don’t have room to store it? The solution is to apply one of the core tenants of Lean: Standardize. Standardize applies to the way I get dressed, to the way I build dog kennel, and to the materials I use.
Instead of stocking four types of plywood, what if I just used one? I had been using various plywoods because I thought that it was better to sometimes use a $30 plywood for one type of product and other times use a $55 plywood for another product. Then I ran some numbers. By standardizing across the full scope of my business, I can utilize offcuts and leftover materials exponentially better. If I have 1/4 sheet left over from a project, I can use it on the next project, no matter what it is, because I’ll be using the same product on the next project. In fact, not only do you get a better finished product but I end up saving money in materials overall.
You may be wondering; “yeah but what if I want walnut cabinets?” Well, the answer to that is “yes, please, I love walnut.” Instead of spending a large fortune on walnut plywood for the entire project, we can strategically use our standard Purebond Birch Plywood with Purebond Walnut Veneer Plywood on the end panels and visible sections. Value, Looks, and Quality. Boom! Mic Dropped!
Ready to Start Your Next Home Improvement Project?
We’re always improving everything we do to provide a greater value and experience to our customers. By carefully selecting the materials we use from woods, to paints, to hardware, we’re committing to providing exceptional quality and value to all of our work. Tell us about your next project and lets get started.
Share Your Questions and Thoughts. Leave a Comment.
We just finished up this Murphy Bed for a client in College Station. Right now in Aggieland, we are all about College Football. Every few weekends, Bryan and College Station are overrun with people coming into town for college game day. With a seating capacity of over 102,000, Kyle Field at Texas A&M is the biggest football stadium in Texas (including pro football stadiums). That’s a lot of extra friends and family coming to town. Wallbeds are great for adding additional beds for gameday guests.
Guest rooms are great for people who have friends and family stay with them regularly. But, at the same time, an extra queen size bed takes up a lot of floor space in a room that mostly sits empty. That’s the same issue that Stacy was facing. She needed a place for guest, but also wanted her craft-room. So she got both. We built and installed this awesome queen size Murphy bed in an average size room. When folded up the bed only takes up 17″ of floor space. We also flanked the bed with two 2 foot wide book cases with fully adjustable shelving.
Starting with the Best Materials and Hardware
We’ve recently switched to Purebond Plywood for all of our cabinetry builds. It’s a fantastic, environmentally friendly product that I loved using on this build. Learn more about it here.
The hardware we use is simply the best. I’ve actually been criticized by fellow online woodworkers for spending $299 on a hardware kit, because they “can make the kit themselves for $50.” No. No, you cant. I can spend days searching and finding the hardware the kit contains, figuring out how to make it all work safely and consistently, or I can purchase a high-quality hardware kit with a lifetime warranty that allows almost anyone to operate a 150lb folding queen size bed easily, with one hand. I gladly guarantee my work because I’ve carefully chosen the parts that go into my products and builds.
For the finish on this bed, we used Durapoxy by Kelly-Moore Paints. The color was custom matched to the existing trim and cabinetry throughout the house. If you’re in the Bryan-College Station area, I highly recommend Hill Country Paints. In fact, they are my exclusive paint and finishing product supplier because of their superior products and amazing customer service.
Matching the Existing Cabinetry
A fun challenge for this bed was to match the style to the existing cabinetry in the house. Honestly, this was a lot more work than I expected. I ended up getting a new 70-piece router bit set just to match all the profiles (darn, more tools to buy…noooo!)
The cabinet door facing we applied is actually a four piece build up. Starting from the outside we used pre-primed radiata pine. This is a very stable and easy to mill material that is a great value on paint grade projects. We set up a combination of table saw jigs and router bits to match the the outside profile. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come across in the pictures well. The second piece is a stepped cove that we have sitting about 1/8 of an inch below the white frame. The third piece is the faux raised panel that starts at about 3/16″ thick and goes up to 5/8″ thick before meeting the final piece. The fourth and final piece of this build up was the trickiest. It’s an Ogee paired with a round over. To create this, we started with a 1×3 and routed it on edge to create the Ogee, then flipped on it’s side to route the round over. The final step was ripping the finished and fragile trim off with the table saw. The recessed field is the plywood foundation of the bed.
Flanking the Murphy Bed with Book Cases
Adding two bookcases to the sides of the bed really sets it off and helps balance the bed in a room. It’s completely optional of course.
We built these book cases with the same material that we build all of our paint grade cabinetry with. Since the book case was over 7ft tall, we needed a fixed center shelf to keep the cabinet from bowing out over time. The rest of the shelving is completely adjustable thanks to 1/4″ shelf pins.
Murphy Bed Installation
It’s important to have everything out of the room where your Murphy Bed will be installed on installation day. Installation, adding trim, and any touch up painting typically takes only one day. We bring the pre-finished bed pieces and build parts and assemble it in place.
After installation, we paint the trim, perform any touch ups, then thoroughly clean the work area. If you already have the mattress, we are happy to install it for you as well.
If you’d like an extra game-day bed, extra room in your spare room, or just love the concept of a Murphy Bed installed in your home, check out our Murphy Bed page to start the process.
I recently received the new Craftsman 150 Piece Mechanic’s Tool Set in “Gunmetal Chrome” from Lowe’s. If you’re anything of a tool nut like myself you’ll know that Sear sold the Craftsman brand to Stanley-Black and Decker and made a deal to sale Craftsman branded tools at Lowe’s. Getting to the point this new Craftsman lives up to the legendary Craftsman name. I’m very impressed.
Now I’m not a mechanic and I really dislike working on my own vehicles, but the simple fact is everyone needs a decent socket and wrench set for basic DIY tasks from assembling furniture to light auto maintenance like changing a battery. As a professional carpenter I need a high quality set of wrenches, ratchets, and sockets to maintain my tools and equipment, assemble the barn door hardware I use, and various other things work related. I also do perform my own basic auto maintenance.
Overall I’m very impressed with the quality of the Craftsman Tool Set. The plastic case is fantastic, even after some pretty vigorous shaking all the pieces were still in their proper place. The case is well laid out and it’s easy to both find and retrieve the tool you’re looking for. The “Gunmetal Chrome” finish looks great on the overall excellent fit and finish on all the different parts.
Craftsman did a great job clearly marking and labeling the sizes on both the wrenches and the sockets. Big easy to read font and nice deep etching make identifying the correct size a breeze.
If you’re looking for a great quality tool set with most of the tools you’ll need I can fully recommend the Craftsman 150-piece Gunmetal Chrome Mechanics Tool Set as a great buy for yourself or as a gift.
I often hear the question, “What kind of door do I need?”
When it is time to replace a door on your home you have many options and likely many questions. Our goal with this post is to provide a clear, yet concise, buying guide to help you choose the right door for your home. We will briefly touch on interior doors then focus on exterior doors for the bulk of this post. If you’re in the Brazos Valley, we provide interior and exterior door installation and are happy to help you with your project. And of course we build and install custom Barn Doors as well.
How to measure your front door.
There are rough opening dimensions, finished dimensions, etc. Thankfully residential door sizes are pretty much standardized throughout the industry. This means it’s as simple as measuring the width of the actual door.
I snapped this picture sitting at my desk in my wife’s new craft room. As you can see this is a 24″ door.
Pre-hung vs Slab Doors
There are two options when buying a new door. Slab or Pre-hung. A slab is just the door. It may come predrilled for a lock set or it may not. With a slab the hinges must be mortised and the door trimmed to fit the existing jamb. A pre-hung door is just that, a door that is “pre-hung” on a jamb. I always recommend purchasing a pre-hung door. The cost difference in negligible. In fact, I charge more to hang and fit a slab on an existing jamb than I do to remove and install a pre-hung door. With a pre-hung door you get a full “door unit” and everything lines up straight from the factory.
Interior Doors: Hollow Core vs Solid Core Doors
A “Hollow Core Door” is hollow and a “Solid Core Door” is solid. Glad I could clear that up!
Hollow core doors are lighter and cheaper both in quality and price. You can pick up a hollow core interior door off the shelf at any box store or building center. Your house most likely has hollow core doors.
A Solid Core Door is solid. This means it weighs more, about double from my guestimation. They also cost about double. The advantages are that a solid core door will take more abuse from your three year old super hero, block sound a lot better, and will also insulate better than a hollow door. The disadvantages are cost and availability. The 24″ door in the picture above is a solid core and is used as a passthrough from my shop to my wife’s craft room. We chose a solid core for the sound and insulation benefits. We had to special order the door and it took about 3 weeks to come in and cost about double.
Exterior Doors: Steel vs Fiberglass vs Wood
When it come to exterior doors there are a plethora of options: double doors, arched doors, doors with windows… you have a lot of options. Knowing the differences in cost, quality, and maintenance will help you make an informed decision.
Steel Doors – The Economy Option
Steel Doors are your basic option and the cheapest option for an exterior door. At my fixer upper, we’re slowly replacing our exterior doors with steel doors. Our house is in a “working class” neighborhood and it would be a poor return on investment to spend more money on a higher quality door. If you live in a “fancy” neighborhood going with a “cheap” steel door isn’t a great idea for resale purposes. The only real advantages of a steel door are the cost savings and being readily available.
[/caption]The downsides are as follows: They dent and scratch very easily, once they are dented it’s almost impossible to hide the dent. Other flaws like “ripples” are almost impossible to see until after you paint the door. The ultra flat factory primer makes it hard to spot these imperfections, but once you apply a semi-gloss paint EVERY flaw in the door stands out.
Steel doors have their place; cost savings, rentals, back doors, and starter homes for example, but I recommend going with a fiberglass door whenever possible.
I recommend you install fiberglass doors in your home. The cost difference varies from about $75 more than a basic steel door to upwards of $2000 for a wood-look premium fiberglass door like this one:
Fiberglass doors insulate better, don’t rust, and resist dings and dents better than steel doors. It’s definitely the way to go if you want the best door for your money. (Read our blog post about this door installation in Bryan TX.)
Absolutely nothing compares to the beauty of a real wooden door. I love them. This is a door I sanded down and refinished a year ago. Which brings us to the big downside of wood doors: maintenance.
I left this picture big so you could take it all in as you were scrolling down. What an amazing door! They are also very expensive. A prefinished solid wood door and a top of the line “wood-look” fiberglass door are about the same price. Now I will begrudgingly share with you the negatives of a real wood door… As I mentioned earlier, maintenance is the biggest draw back of a wood door. With the extremes in temperature, humidity, and the blistering summer heat you can expect to refinish your wood door every 7-10 years (prices change but refinishing a door like this runs about $450).
Here is what the above door looked like before I refinished it.
For interior doors you have two main options: Cheap and available hollow core doors or expensive and special order solid core doors. Wood interior doors are also an option.
Exterior Doors have many options in three main categories:
Steel Doors – Cheaper/lower quality. Good for rentals, back doors, the budget friendly option
Fiberglass doors – Best value and quality. You simply get a lot better door for your money. I recommend fiberglass doors especially for the front door that everyone sees.
Wood Doors – Unparalleled Beauty but High Maintenance…There’s a marriage joke in there somewhere but I’ve closed the door on jokes made in poor taste.
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Right Hand or Left Hand In-swing
I’ll be honest, this still confuses the heck out of me. I’ve lost count of how many doors I’ve installed (over 100 for sure) and I still have to re-enact opening the door or draw a picture for the guy at the store. Instead of trying to explain it to you and confusing us both, here’s a diagram I found.
My Favorite Locksets
I really like these keypad locks from Kwikset. They are easy to install and have an “auto-lock” feature. It’s nice to be able to text grandma the code instead of finding an extra key.