Can I make a used door fit my frame?


My wife has been talking about replacing our front door with something nicer for several years. We are both strong proponents of recycling so today when I came across a beautiful old solid oak door with leaded glass (already stripped) for $75, I got pretty excited.
Unfortunately, the measurements do not exactly match the existing door. The used door is 1 1/2" shorter and 1/8" narrower. Also, there are two 2" holes drilled in it. The deadbolt hole is not even close to where my existing deadbolt is located and it's too big. But the latch hole matches perfectly when measuring down from the top of the door so if I have someone build down the door frame, this could work.
Can a hole be filled in such a way that would not be very noticable with a clear coat finish?
Can a good carpenter modify the door frame so the door will look good and work well? What should be done about the missing 1/8" in width?
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Bob Simon wrote:

Can you use the existing deadbolt hole in the 'new' door and relocate the deadbolt hole/plate in your door jamb?

certainly. an eighth is mighty small, if it's shared over the two sides of the door.
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wrote:

The existing internal deadbolt cover is only 1 1/2" across while the holes in the "new" door are 2" across. I can't imagine that I could re-use my old hardware in this situation but I can probably find a new deadbolt that would fit the door hole and chisel a new mortise in the jamb. Thanks for helping me see this possibility.
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wrote:

I can. Don't buy new hardware until you look at the old stuff. I guess the weakness to be worried about is, would a burglar knock your lock sideways and would that help him get in or cause him to try harder.
Frankly I don't think burglars knock locks sideways. They are most likely to just kick inthe door, so it's important that your dead bolt bolt go as far in to the frame as possible, and to have a burglar alarm if burlgarly is likely.

You can cover up the now unused hole in the jamb with copper weather stripping, or something.
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mm wrote:

The new (old) door has glass. Even a stupid burglar is not going to attack the dead bolt or the door jamb.
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wrote:

I forgot that part. :( But I don't know about the stupid burglar. There was a news story on Jay Leno's headlines about a burglary at a convenience store. The burglar got on the roof and cut a hole through it, and came in through the hole and either lost hold of his rope or jumped down, and landed right next to a cop. The store was open at the time.
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Bob Simon wrote:

I would add a scab to the bottom edge, then put a brass kick plate on both sides. No one will notice if you don't point it out.

Put some 1/16" shims behind the hinges. The difference will be unnoticable. Many doors have more than 1/8" slop.

Visit a good locksmith. He'll sell you a deadbolt that will use your old key and fit a 2" hole. Move the strike plate on the jamb to match the new deadbolt location. Fill and paint the old strike plate location. If the finish isn't paint, leave the old strike plate in place.

Short answer: No Longer answer: You can either make it obvious*, disguise it, or cover it up. If you patch it, it will always be detectable.

* First rule of decorating: If you can't make it match, make it stand out.
--
Steve Bell
New Life Home Improvement
  Click to see the full signature.
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door. I question if this could be made to look good. If not, it's not really a suitable option. While I'm not a carpenter, I expect that I can find someone who could modify the frame to fit the door and make it look good, expecially since the frame will be painted.

Thanks. I'll check this out.

I hadn't considered this but it could work. If I can't find an internal deadbolt that fits, I may go this route. After all, it IS a recycled door and that's part of its charm. Perhaps NOT trying to hide the old hole has merit.
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Bob Simon wrote:

If it's covered by a brass kick plate, who is going to notice it?
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Bob Simon wrote:

The obvious easiest solution is (as others have noted) get hardware that matches the existing holes.
Escutcheon plates are also a possibility.
I have no doubt I could also patch the hole sufficiently well it wouldn't be noticeable, but it can be time consuming (read expensive if you're paying someone else to do it). It's not what I'd recommend.
Alternatively also on the length -- possible to take some from the top and some from the bottom -- higher threshold combined w/ weather stop and (say) half-inch on top and you can easily make up the short.
And, of course, there's also the possible solution of continuing to look at the salvage/recycle places until another door of the proper size does show up. Large locales tend to have several places where such are available routinely; one has to keep looking. If otoh this is a truly outstanding specimen, it's possibly worth the effort.
It is almost never a matter of "if", just "how" and "how much"...
--
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This is a good perspective to keep in mind, especially as I have a tendency to become overly invested in a project, even when it's not always the best approach. That's why I asked here about feasibility.
Actually, I was not looking for this door, I just came across it by accident. Since I haven't been monitoring the market, I can't really say if it is an outstanding specimen or not. However, I can say it's a very attractive door at what seems to be an outstanding price and it's pretty darn close to the right size.
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re: From context, I presume that by "scab" you mean an extension to the door. I question if this could be made to look good. If not, it's not really a suitable option.
This is what Mr. Bell had in mind:
Extend the bottom of the door with a piece of hardwood, using biscuits or dowels, and then cover the seam with a brass kickplate so it looks similiar to this:
http://site.lookintheattic.com/BA/KickPlateHome.jpg
Yes, the kick plates come without the numbers.
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On Tue, 19 Aug 2008 11:59:08 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

Yes. that is certainly attractive. Thanks. I had no idea. Where do you buy a kickplate? Does Lowes or Home Depot carry them?
I'm now convinced that this project is indeed feasible. I think I'll go back this afternoon and buy the door.
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re: Where do you buy a kickplate? Does Lowes or Home Depot carry them?
I assume you are not going to be doing this yourself.
I would suggest that you avoid the home centers and visit a couple of dedicated Door and Window businesses in you area. You might even check out business dedicated to restoring older houses. Explain to them what you need done and ask them to recommend a contractor who they would trust to work on this type of project.
Let the contractor get the kick plate for you - he probably has sources for higher quality materials than what you'll find on the shelf at the home centers. He'll probably give you a better guarantee on his material than on materials that you hand him to install.
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On Tue, 19 Aug 2008 17:17:16 +0000 (UTC), "SteveBell"

He could put his coat of arms over that area. Or a small LED screen playing video of his wedding.

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Well, yeah, for about the cost of a new door, or thereabouts.

"Good" is kinda subjective, but I would suspect so.

Nothing, probably, that's 1/16" per side... but that's relative to the existing door, and not the opening, so that would depend on how well the existing door fits. -----
- gpsman
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Word. A faux finisher I know gets four to five hundred bucks for wood graining metal doors - per side!
R
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On Tue, 19 Aug 2008 10:26:48 -0700 (PDT), gpsman

done is as follows:
Plug the hole with a similar wood trying to match the grain. Lightly sand the existing door retaining the wood dust. Mix the wood dust with a suitable binder (he said epoxy but I'm thinking varnish) making a thin paste. Paint the finish over the repaired hole and feather out. Sand and repeat. Finish.
Does this sound feasible or bogus?

The existing door fits poorly. Every couple of years I have to put on new weather stripping to reduce heat (and cooling) losses. Here's my chance to fix this problem for good along with substantially upgrading the appearance of the front door.
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In that case I would probably build a new jamb to exactly fit the new door. You'll have to cut down the trim around the door and/or buy new. I don't know how you'd finish the outside; that depends on what kind of siding you have.
nate
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