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
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?
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
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
A door is a door is a door.
Is it a residential metal metal door?
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 . . . .
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.