Dailey Woodworks

What Kind Of Door Do I Need: A Door Buying Guide For Your Home

what kind of door do i need cover photo

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.

href=”http://daileywoodworks.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/IMG_5390-e1534364495843.jpg”> This door measures 24 inches so if I were to replace it I’d buy a 24″ pre-hung 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.

The down

[/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.

Fiberglass Doors

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.)

Wood Doors

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.

Summary

Thanks for reading all the way through.  If you call the Brazos Valley home and need a door replaced or refinished send us a message and we will provide a free estimate.

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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After thoughts:

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.

Whiskey Barrel Table Build

My client supplied the whiskey barrels for this project and thanks to pictures knew exactly what he wanted me to do.  We took two whiskey barrels and made two matching tables for him and his brother.  We went with an Oak top stained with English Chestnut and finished with a semi-gloss clear coat.

Oak gives the strength and stability needed for this type of table.  We initially make a top out of pine with disappointing results.

Cutting a perfect circle in wood is a little tricky.  There are a few methods of doing this.  I chose to make a compass jig for my router.  You can buy these but making one is very simple.  Using shallow passes made multiple cuts until I bottomed out my plunge router.  I then used a jigsaw to cut away the rest and cleaned that up with a flush trim router bit.

 

To mount the top we used some very simple 2×4 bracing.  Our youtube video shows you how we did it better than we can tell you.

Pinterest is a fun place for ideas and projects.  I’ve done a folding workbench a client found on Pinterest and a few other projects.  If you have an odd build request use the Pinterest Challenge contact form are we will work on bringing your ideas to reality.

If you have a project in mind Contact Us, we can build what you want and have nationwide shipping available for furniture projects.

Check out our Youtube Video to see how it’s made:

Built-In Cabinet Modification

Custom Cabinets in College Station TX

Did you know that you’re existing built-in cabinets can be modified?  Many people assume that built-in cabinetry has to be completely removed and new cabinets made if they ever want to make changes.  What a waste of time, money, and materials!

Cabinet Modification, also commonly called cabinet refacing, allows existing cabinets and built-ins to be changed, modified, and updated to change their function and style.

This entertainment center was built in the days of big heavy CRT televisions.  Thank goodness for new technology and better TVs.

Seriously, this 49in HDTV is only $300, and has Netflix built in! And it only weighs 25lbs vs 9,001lbs

For obvious reasons, my client would rather have a TV like this rather than the old style that this cabinet was built for.

 

They saved $1,600 modifying the existing cabinet vs building new

Here’s what we did:

Partial demoing of the cabinet (Hover over pictures for captions)

Modifications

Detail Pictures

The client opted to save even more money by painting the “New” cabinet themselves. They were pretty happy with this 2-day modification.

We build new cabinets and modify existing cabinets.  Contact us to set up a free estimate for your next home improvement project.

Double Bunk Beds

Custom Furniture in College Station TX.

I love building custom furniture.  However, it’s rare that I get orders for custom builds.  These bunk beds were built for Peach Creek Ranch, a wedding an event venue serving the area.

It’s no secret that I post videos to Youtube, but Youtube is also where I go to learn new skills and gather inspiration.  Jay Bates is one of the Youtube Woodworkers I really enjoy following.  His projects are well thought out, not overly complicated, and he uses materials that everyone reasonably has access to.  I used his plans for my bunkbeds.

I modified his EXCELLENT plans to squeeze a double “L” shaped bunk bed into the space available.  I was downright scarred about halfway through thinking that it wasn’t going to fit.  (I forgot to allow for the posts, and the thickness of the baseboards, but with a few modifications it all fit).

Dimensional lumber is cheap and easy to get.  I spent an hour at Home Depot digging through the pile to find the best boards.  Furniture built with 2x lumber seems “blocky” to me so I planed it all down to 1 1/4″ thick and ripped it a little narrower.  2×4’s and 2×6’s can be quite beautiful after 3 passes through a thickness planner. This made six bags full of shavings.

I tried to use my shop vac but ended up rigging a box and drop cloth up to catch all the shavings.

The ladder was very easy to make.  I used my miter saw to cut some dados and then glued and screwed the rungs to the rails.  It’s very strong.

This project was a lot of fun.  And the couple I worked for are some great people.  If you live in the Brazos Valley and would like custom furniture or built-ins made contact me.

 

 

 

Baby Measuring Stick

DIY Growth Chart

My wife ordered vinyl decals to make a growth chart for our son.  We got it from Little Acorns a shop on Etsy.  I picked up a 6ft pine 1×12 from the store then stained it with Minwax Golden Oak and finished with Wipe-on Poly.

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Some of My Custom Work

Here are some pictures of custom orders I’ve done over the last few months.  I find custom orders difficult.  Mainly because pricing fairly is hard if I haven’t made a particular item before.  I’ve found that I typically under price my custom work.

Picture Frames

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Rustic Texas and Western Wall Art

Available for $38 each. plus shipping.

These framed pieces are made from pine, salvaged tin, and silhouettes cut from different types of plywood for different looks.  I make many different designs and these make great gifts.

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