double doors

Brownstone Restoration – New Doors

Although the new double doors were installed a few weeks ago, it took up until now to finish all the details associated with the doors.

Below are some installation photos.

We replaced the sconces and doorbell in the same locations, so we didn’t change out the electrical j-boxes. The cavity behind the door jamb got filled with insulation.

It was difficult to get the door jamb into place and in the process, a chunk of the brownstone at the header chipped off. The masons will come back later to repair the damage. Previously, we had discussed whether the new doors and jambs should be installed before or after the brownstone finish coat. If we had installed the doors first, that may have prevented the brownstone finish coat from getting damaged. However, the acid power wash on the finish coat might have damaged the doors.

Each door is 2′-0″ x 9′-4″ x 2 1/2″ and very, very heavy.

After the doors were installed, there was a noticeable gap between the new door jamb and the edge of the brownstone surface. While the doors were square, the opening was not, which is not a surprise since the house is over 100 years old. We decided that it made more sense to fill the gap with wood trim rather than with brownstone.

The unlaquered brass hardware is very shiny now, but will naturally develop a warm patina over time. There are some chemical products that can help speed up the tarnishing process which I might consider using. At first, I didn’t want to install kick plates because the wood doors look so nice without them, but in the end, functionality won out and I installed kick plates.

For house numbers, I just ordered a decal from Etsy. It’s obviously not as nice as painted gold leaf house numbers, but from far away, you can’t really tell that it’s just a decal and looks pretty good.

The original white marble door saddle was cracked and very dirty, so we replaced it with a new honed Absolute Black granite saddle. The saddle was just set yesterday, so the installers will come back later to drill in a hole for the door floor bolt.

Brownstone Restoration – Door Update

The woodworker sent me some progress photos of the doors and jambs at his shop. Typically, the lead time could be up to 8 to 10 weeks for custom doors, but the woodworker happened to have an opening in his schedule when I called. He was still in the shop drawing review process for another big job so he had guys available to work on the job right away. I’m hoping that the doors will be ready 6 weeks after I signed him on. I have to coordinate with the masons to see when the scratch coat will done so that these doors can be installed.

Brownstone Restoration – Door Replacement

Parlor Entry Doors:
The double doors were drafty and not in good shape so I decided to replace them along with the wood door jambs.  The jambs had layers and layers of paint, so I couldn’t tell the condition of the wood underneath. I figured the wood jambs would probably get destroyed during the brownstone demo, so it made sense to replace them.  I considered ordering semi-custom new 2-panel doors from door companies such as Upstate Doors and Lemiux but decided to get custom doors to replicate my neighbor’s doors. I hired a local Brooklyn woodworker to build the doors after visiting houses with his doors in the neighborhood. Like the windows, I have to coordinate the delivery to make sure that the windows are ready during the scratch coat curing period. The doors will be 2-1/4” thick Mahogany. I am still deciding between staining or painting the doors.

Garden Entry Door:
To offset the splurge of getting custom parlor entry doors, I decided to get a factory painted black fiberglass door from Provia for the garden entry.  The panel options are limited, but I was able to find a simple 2 panel layout with an upper glass lite that will work well. 

Understoop Door:
I will get a basic flat, no panel factory painted black fiberglass door to replace the rotted wood door. There isn’t any ventilation under the door, so the fiberglass door will be good for moisture resistance. The fiberglass doors only have a 3 week lead time, so I don’t have to order them right away.