Old door/ new life


We live in a mid '70's rancher with luan doors and ranch trim throughout. With real estate going crazy I believe we'll be staying right where we raised our family - our home. OK, enough sniveling...
I thought that we could improve the interior by changing out the ranch-style base and door trim to a colonial (?) oak but then you have the nasty luan doors and pine trim which wouldn't match. Changing out the doors wouldn't be a problem but changing nine door jambs sounds like a nightmare. Is it logical to pull the door stops, veneer the jamb and add an oak stop? I'm only in the 'what if...' stage so I guess that this is a pretty specualtive question. - too many variables that I haven't researched yet.
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Sounds like a lot of work to me. Are you wanting to stain your woodwork and doors, if so, you have no choice except to do what you have proposed. Personally I wouldn't do it.
I do know what you mean about the cheapo luaun doors. Where the heck did the name luaun come from anyway, how stupid? In our ex-house, I was considering changing out the doors for the 6 panel type. Our new house has them and we love it.
If you veneered the door jamb, what would you do about the edges that the casing molding nails to? There's always that sliver of the door jamb you see when the molding gets nailed to it.
If you are really hell bent on nicer door jambs, just bite the bullet and replace the whole jamb and door. You will find that the door alone, is about as expensive as the entire jamb and door and if you are going to replace all the trim anyhow, heck, a pry bar will take out them door jambs pretty quickly.
One piece of advice when hanging the new door jambs and doors. Make sure to keep the door shut when leveling, squaring and shimming the door in the opening. If you don't, the door will not meet the stops just right when you are done, usually. I replaced an exterior door in my ex-house and even though it was level and even with the wall surfaces, when I test opened and closed it, prior to nailing the jamb in permanently, the door didn't close against the weatherstripping evenly so it would have leaked. I jacked the jamb around until I got the door to close just right against the weatherstripping and nailed it there. That door always closed perfectly and sealed perfectly too.
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Speaking from experience, it would be less labor to just pull the entire pre-hung door assembly, and switch it for a prehung colonial-trimmed 6-panel. Yeah, the slabs and raw trim are cheaper, but if you don't have the jigs and experience to do the hinges and such (like I don't), it is a buttload of work. The stops, for example, are often not seperate on pre-hungs from that era- they are milled as one piece with that half of the jamb. If you work carefully, you can prefinish the new prehung doors in the garage, remove the old ones, and switch them out with little or no repainting of the walls and only spot touchup on the new wood. And complete prehungs in decent condition can be donated to Habitat ReStore for a deduction. The doors are the hard part, the baseboard is trivial. You will need to buy a couple of the small Stanley wonder bars, and buy or borrow a reciprocating saw with a short metal blade to cut the nails or screws, once you pry off the trim side that isn't attached to the hinge part of jamb. The jamb is usually a 2-piece deal- one side slides into a pocket sort of slot on the other, to allow for different wall thicknesses. The 'trim' side is often barely fastened to the other side, relying mainly on nails into wall on outside edge to stay in place. A magnet to find nails or screws under the putty and paint is often useful. After the first couple of doors, you will learn where to look, assuming same carpenter hung all the doors. (To better understand all the above, go to door aisle at the big-box, and look for an unfinished open-package door. Once you see the parts loose, and how they fit together, it will all start to make sense.)
But having said all that- ranch-style trim is 'correct' for the house. Colonial looks like you are putting on airs, IMHO. Are you sure the door trim and base is pine? In 50s and 60s, decent wood with a nice clear finish buried under all that paint, was quite common. Some builders continued that into the 1970s, before the finger-jointed crap was all you could get at a decent price.
aem sends....
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<snip>
Thanks for helping me get my head out of my butt and show me some reality. I was getting a bit carried away. Notes: The jambs are indeed clear pine with good old varnish top coat and no stain. The hall trim had been redone a few years ago in natural oak and water soluble MinWax acrylic. I've spotted some Varathane which may come close to matching this. This either simplifies or complicates the issue but I'm seeing a 'can-do' situation. I have hung a few doors and do have a set of router templates for the round-edge, modern style butt hinges. I'd probably cut a piece of 2-by and mill it to the same thickness as the door to practice template placement. OK, I'm actually having thoughts of my very own - how novel! All kidding aside kicking around ideas is one of the strong points of NGs. Thanks, folks! Chuck
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