I want to make myself custom wood entry door. What wood to use? The
house entrance is covered by the porch overhang 5' deep roof.
My house is very energy efficient, I put a lot of effort into E4
windows and multilayer insulation. So I want to make sure the door
will be well insulated too. What's the best way to insulate it? Make a
door core from closed cell foam insulation? If I put 1" foam between
two 3/4" of wood this would make door 2.5" thick.
Also how to make frame water and draft proof? Any references
preferable with pictures and drawings would be greatly appreciated.
Make your nice wooden door as you like and leave the insulation to an
external storm door, Sasha. Quick examples below:
Here's one full view style, allowing your beautiful door to show
Or a larger overlap-style: http://fwd4.me/Qol
I drive way too fast to worry about my cholesterol.
dont forget, wood has an r value also, not much, but it has some.
about R .7 per inch for hardwood, and 1.3 for softwoods (since they
are less dense)
if you sandwich in your foam, use extruded foam, its R5 per inch
We make custom entry doors and use extruded foam in the panels,
sandwiched with 1/4" skins of wood. For the frame we use stave core
construction, so no foam there. There are a variety of sweeps and
weatherstripping options available. I'm not sure about the overall R-
value but I'm sure it's definitely the weak link insulation-wise.
That said, we don't get many complaints.
IMHO, you can't get there from here.
IOW, the modern external doors available are tough to beat.
They have been engineered with R value in mind and often use
techniques that would be difficult to duplicate by building a one off.
BTW, your are also going to want a storm door package which if effect
is going to hide whatever exterior door you install.
I made an insulated door for my old house over 20 years ago. As best
as I can recall it was 3/4 inch cabinet plywood on the outside, 2"
Styrofoam in the middle and 1/4 " cabinet plywood on the inside, about
3" thick in total. The frame was made of 2" fir with a 3/4 or 1" angle
iron routed into it all the way around. It's a solid door. I doubt a
man could kick it in. It's still there (ex wife) and working fine.
In cold weather it warps inward at the top and bottom a bit, maybe 1/4
of an inch. About the same amount as the metal clad doors do on my new
I ended up putting storm doors on all my outside doors in the new
house. It was the only way I could stop rain from leaking in. There
wasn't much leakage and I would never had noticed it had the house
been built and finished as most are. I was able to slow the leakage
down with caulking but I could not stop it completely. If there was a
good wind when it rained some water always found a way in somewhere.
I built the house myself and moved in before the interior was
finished. Had the floor been finished I probably would never had
noticed the small wet spots at the corners of the door frames. My
neighbors have the same type of doors and all have some leakage. One
has a sliding door in his bedroom that is really bad. I suspect it's
a common problem and may lead to some rather expensive repairs in
years to come when the floors begin rotting out under those leaky frames.
I bought good quality storm doors. They seal well and add enough to
the R value to stop the full height glass in the existing doors from
icing up in winter.
I just built a new shed and did everything I could think of to keep
water from coming in under the door frame but sure enough if there's a
strong north wind when it's raining there's a little wet spot on the
floor at both corners of the door frame.
By the way my new house is about 1900 sq' with at least three times
the amount of windows as my old 1950's 900 sq' bungalow. The new place
is well insulated and costs at least 30% less in heating than does the
old place. My son bought my old house so I still hear about the bills
in that one and the ex wife's place.
I live in S AZ so heat loss is no biggy and certainly rain and the
like are no problem either. I have a roofed courtyard over my front
door. But in your situation I would have a front door that is 2X4
framed with up to an inch of whatever on each side of the frame. Then
fill the cavity with insulation. Since you would like to door to be
pretty I would have an inner insulated door to use when the weather
and conditions are such that it would be prudent. The main outer door
would have as one of its properties being a good sealer against the
elements. A roof overhead as I have in my courtyard. Waterproof and
weather proof exterior that is also attractive. I see in decking
material in Home Depot that is not wood but looks nice when used as
decking. Plan the door so the exterior can be replaced without
compromising the mechanical and structural integrity of the door. Also
since we are talking about more weight than usual use piano hinging.
Door latching and locking hardware is available to handle the
I made my garage doors (including an entry door) Out of 1-1/2"
extruded polystyrene (styrofoam) covered with 1/8" lauan plywood door
skins. Then I applied 3/4" cedar to fake up rails, stiles and muntins
to make it look like a paneled door. The actual door frame was made
out of 1-1/2" cedar including a wood reinforcement where the handle
goes. So the whole assembly was 2-1/2" thick around the edges. Any
competent locksmith should be able to extend the shaft on your handle.
The frame was made of 2X10 cedar, rebated to accept the door. Two
kinds of weatherstripping, one that fits in a slot in the door rabbet
and the other that is screwed on the farame. Expanadng foam between
the jamb and the framing, covered with brickmold on the outside.
I live in the Yukon, so avoiding paying for heating the great outdoors
is important. Hope this helps.
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