The New Basement Door

The basement in Nicole's house is only partially underground - because of the slope of the hill on which it is built, the basement is at ground level in the front. Thus, it has a front door.

This is the old door. It's not a bad door, but it is not particularly airtight. Also, we wanted a door with a bigger window, so that we could get as much daylight in the room as possible.

Another problem with this door is that it isn't really mounted in the right place. It is recessed about four inches into the interior wall. You can see in this photo how it needed a long channel in the wall for the latch to pass through. It worked, but it wasn't particularly pretty.

So, one weekend we went to work on it. After removing the threshold, I found this metal piece under it. I thought perhaps it was an older threshold that I would have to pry off. I couldn't just leave it there, since the new door barely fit into the opening. It would have been impossible to put the door in place without clearing the opening first.

Unfortunately, this turned out to be a steel pipe embedded into the concrete of the basement floor. I wasn't going to be able to just pry it out.

So I rented a grinder and ground the bar down flush with the floor. Then we removed the old door frame.

Here Nicole uses the Dremel to cut off the nails that held the frame in place. (You can get a glimpse of the new truck in the background.)

Next, she pries a molding piece off the top of the opening. This will give us just enough vertical clearance for the new door.

I pry the brick molding off the new door. I can't leave it on, it's too big for the opening we have. In fact, I have to install the door from the inside because the siding overhangs enough overhead that we can't get the door past it if we try to install it from the outside.

We install framing boards in the opening. I glue them to the concrete walls with construction adhesive and clamp it down for the night.

The next day, we install the door.

We improvise an exterior molding, and the job is essentially complete.

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