Exterior Door is 3" too short -- solution?


Hi, I want to replace my existing exterior entrance door. I have the possibility of getting a used door, 35 1/2" x 79", but the existing door is 35 1/2" x 82"!
Will I be able to fit this replacement door? And what do I do with the extra 3"? I was thinking of putting a 3" bar of treated wood and then capping it as the "new" door frame--will this suffice to keep out cold air leaks?
thanks! Vinit
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If you can do a lap joint or mortise and tenon to fasten the new piece, you might be able to cover the seam on both sides by using a brass plate on each side like a regular door has a kick plate.
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3"??? Get a door that fits.
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If the door is 82" high, sounds like it is a custom made door because most doors are 80" high.
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On 3/26/2010 4:12 PM L B spake thus:

Whatcha need, good buddy, is one of them door-stretching machines.
Seriously, that's what I did with a customer's door installation. They wanted a door that matched their other interior doors, and I found one at the local recycled building materials place that was perfect in every way except that it was a couple inches short.
Took it to a shop, in Berkeley, CA that grafted on a piece for a very reasonable charge. They sanded and primed it, so it was paint-ready.
The same should work for an exterior door. Find a competent door and window shop. They most likely would use a stronger joint for an exterior door: tongue and groove or some such.
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Worth a try. Hang the door, and then modify the top jamb so that it fits.
What's wrong with the existing door?
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Christopher A. Young
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You can glue and screw two 1 1\2" pieces, one on each side of the door, assuming it's a painted finish (remove existing paint etc.).. You will also need separate little bits to glue into the old hinge recesses and the mortice for the old lock. You need to use waterproof glue and rust resistant screws. You need wood slightly over size and when the glue has set, sand down with belt sander. If it's a varnished finish, it is a lot trickier to find matching timber. The other tricky bit is fitting the door into the aparture, cutting the new hinge recesses and fitting the locks etc,. That said, a straightforward job for the average DIYer. A couple of days work. You will need help to lift the door it will be very heavy. & probably new hinges & locks etc.
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On 3/27/2010 8:41 AM harry spake thus:

One on each *side* of the door, eh?
Did you even read the OP's post?
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wrote:

Is the door round? Rectangles have four "Sides". Everything else makes sense unless the hinges and lock match up.
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Then, the OP will have a modified door, 38 1/2" x 79",
to fit into the existing opening door is 35 1/2" x 82".
Might have to shave the door a bit, and glue some of the shavings to the ends?
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On 3/27/2010 1:46 PM Ed Pawlowski spake thus:

Well, wise guy, when speaking of a vertically-oriented rectangle, such as a door, the sides on the left and right are generally referred to as the "sides", while the remaining sides are generally referred to as the "top" and "bottom".
However, if they use other terms on your home planet, my apologies if I've offended you.
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Then, he can have a door which is 3" too wide, in addition to being 3" too short. Good one, harry!
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wrote:

You can buy a custom-sized exterior door. Adding onto the door is probably a lot easier than resizing the door jam. A kickplate at the bottom will cover most of it. How well it seals greatly depends on the skill of the installer and nature of the weatherstripping.
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Just briefly replying to all of your very helpful insights. First of all, THANKS for sharing your ideas. Second, I did learn from it and I will do this: 1. Buy the right wood block, depending on the kind of wood the new door is made of, i.e., oak, etc. 2. Extend the bottom part of the rectangular door by adding the block and measuring it for the right fit and try to create a gentle mortise and tenon at two points. 3. Screw long, rust-proof nails through the block into the door and also use wood adhesive along the edge to prevent air leaks. 4. Get two metal plates to be larger than the size of the wood extension, about 1/8" thick or less to cover the wood block extension and screw it onto both sides of the door, with plenty of adhesive to prevent air and water leaks. 5. Cover the old hinge areas. 6. Create new holes for new locks and new hinge areas to correspond to the existing frame. 7. Install!
Someone had asked what was wrong with the existing door: its weather- worn and cracked. I also wanted a new look and figured a sanding and painting of the current door would not do the job.
cheers and thanks again, Vinit
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Personally, if there is a position in the frame where the existing latch and hinges line up, I'd make it fit there. If that means an inch on top and 2 inches at the bottom, so be it. This would be a good opportunity to include a really good bottom seal.
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Eric in North TX wrote:

Agreed. And unless you have a set of Norm Abrams (sp?) jigs to make the mortises with, 2-3 drilled holes and driven dowels (with lotsa glue, of course) should be more than sufficient to hold the top and/or bottom extensions on. The grain is going the same way on both pieces, so as long as the wood is the same species and both pieces are dry, the joint should never move. Just make sure the ends of the door slab and the extension pieces are a real tight fit when you glue them up. I presume this is a paneled door? Along with matching up the existing hinge mortises and lockset holes (I am almost never that lucky), you want the panels to be oriented on the door as close as possible to the doors you are trying to match.
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The door I had this type of experience with was made of pine with Jalousy windows in in it for most of the full length. I squared up the ends, likewise did the same to a couple of pieces of 2x4 and screwed and glued the 2 x4 s to the ends of the door. Remove the screws before you trim it to fit and replace them after you are finished. The repair turned out to be almost invisible. If I had this to do over again I would probably use dowls or biscuits to hold the 2x4s in place. At the time I had to make do with what I had.
Jimmie
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