Replacing Exterior Front Door - Scam vs Reality

I have an exterior front door that needs replacing.
The former owner put a kick plate on a steel door. That means rust.
I need to replace the door, but frankly I do not want to, nor do I feel it is necessary to shell out about 2.5K to replace a door and two sidelights.
It seems to me that an 80x36 door is an 80x36 door, and I should be able to go get one.
Is it a scam that the local hardware stores and local contracters are trying to tell me that i need to replace the entire unit?
Seems like a steel door is about $140, but perhaps there is not enough margin on that to make it worth while, so they push replacing the entire unit.
Can someone shed some light on this?
NOTE: House is 21yrs old.
If I do need to replace the entire unit, why isn't a door a door?
Thanks,
Bob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Maybe, maybe not -- but consider that doors are sold by *nominal*, not actual, sizes, and one manufacturer's 80x36 door may not be exactly the same size as another's. This isn't an issue with wood doors, because they can be easily trimmed to fit. Metal doors, on the other hand, need to be pretty much an exact fit.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
A door is a door is a door.
Is it a residential metal metal door? What brand? Are the hinges set in wood or steel? What size butt hinges are they? Do they use #10 or #12 screws or are they wood screws? What height are the strike(s) for latch and deadbolt? Is yours a 1 3/8 door or an 1 3/4 door? Are you planning to reuse your hardware? Were you going to drill your own holes? Are there borrowed lite(s) in the door?
Unless you have something quite strange and elaborate I doubt anyone quoted $2500. Be aware some doors cost well over $1000 without hardware. Make sure you are comparing apples and apples. I had some pewter faced, walnut trimmed doors that were over $3000 back in the late 70's.
--
______________________________
Keep the whole world singing . . . .
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

except when it is ajar.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Manufacturers can place hinges differently so one brand may or may not be an exact fit. If you can find the same brand you have a better shot at just replacing the door. You also have to find a dealer willing to special order just the door. In this day of pre-hung units, that is generally the easy way to do an upgrade.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Trevor Retsnef wrote:

Remove the kick-plate, fill the screw holes, sand down the door. Take door to auto painting shop. You're out for $50.00.
Replace the entire door, including frame, yourself for $200.00.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
HeyBub wrote:

Typically, when a door has sidelights, it was bought as a unit. Although, I have seen people attempt to make a door with sidelights.
You can always tell the factory units, from the field installed sidelights. Factory units have a threshold, which run the entire width of the unit, including the sidelights.
It would take quite a bit of modification, to take a door and frame,to make do-able in a factory unit with sidelights. But, if it wasn't a factory unit......then that's a horse of another color.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thurman H. wrote:

I meant to say sill, which runs the entire width.
Also, the rough opening will be too small to fit another frame, inside the existing framework of a factory mulled unit.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Seems high. To a bunch of do it yourselfers! Maybe.
But I wouldn't blame a contractor etc. quoting a steep figure. Not knowing what they might run into, perhaps needing to order and then waiting for a special door with all the considerations mentioned; maybe several visits to the site and quite a few hours of work. Especially if the rough opening and/or door unit turn out to be an awkward or non standard size. Which may not be known until door/unit is taken out of the rough opening?
Now; an ingenious handyman working on his own house may be able to come up with an alternative that reuses the existing door, because we know it already fits the opening, the hinges fit properly and work etc.
As an example; example during the summer a few years ago I took out the six foot wide double sliding glass door unit in back of house. And replaced some rotted wood parts of the box, and unexpectedly a small section of some adjacent house framing. Then reassembled and reinstalled the whole unit; also replacing such things as corroded screws with stainless steel ones, adding flashing to divert water and melting snow and so forth.
The cost was quite low, mainly some 2 by 8 wood and misc. Also some wood we had on hand. etc. It took several days living with a hole in the back of the house, covered by some flapping plastic. But the labour was my own so the cost was low. To have brought in a contractor or supply house installer could IMHO have easily cost several hundred dollars for labour alone. The only help needed occasionally was from a relative to lift the actual aluminum framed doors into place; four of them, each with a single heavy glass.
So suggestions that you carefully survey what the damage actually is and then devise a plan to fix it yourself could save a significant amount.
On other hand if you are hell bent on a new door, either now or at some time in the near future; bite the bullet and get it done thoroughly, totally and professionally.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Trevor Retsnef wrote:

Any real lumber yard should be able to order you a steel blank/slab. Any carpenter should be able to install it.
Do probably expect to pay more for the install, than the cost of the slab.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Could you replace it with staneless or brass kick plate?

Maybe much more labor involved with just replacing the door and not the whole unit with side lights. And than may not look right matching the side lights.
I wonder if you could order just the door from the original manufacture assuming if they have the same model and style. If its me, I get a wood door and trim it to fit. Don't know if you could trim a steel door.
2.5K isn't that much for a door with two side lights including installation. I've see it well over 10K without installation - no idea why so much.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.