Installing a prefinished door
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Installing a prefinished door

Aug 12, 2023

Q: My wife and I are doing a fairly major remodeling project on our house and have my brother and brother-in-law helping me with the work. They have more experience than I, and work for a material supplier, so they are a big help. I had a local friend do the foundation work and my crew and I took a week off to do the framing and get the roof on. So far everything is going as expected and we are still friends.

I ordered prefinished exterior windows and they are installed, but just recently we received the prefinished front door and sidelites, that I put in the garage for the time being. The front door is prefinished black and looks great but I’m a little concerned about putting it in before drywalling and painting. for the sake of damage or ruining the finish of the door, I have considered covering it all with paper or Visqueen to protect it. Does the door need to go in immediately or can I wait till after the drywall and exterior siding is complete? Douglas

A: Black is one of the hardest colors to maintain throughout the construction process of a remodel or renovation. Yes, you can cover it as you spoke of, but where it’s a little more difficult is the jambs and edge frames of the sidelites. You can also install a temporary front door, just the door, and install the framework but that doesn’t do anything to protect the sidelights.

Yes, we have waited to install specialty exterior prefinished and pre-hung doors, but it takes some specific planning. First make sure the opening is exact, plumb, square and knowing the exact remaining rough opening space. In the past, we would cut a small stock piece of wood to run around the inside of the opening to either temporarily install a door if that is our primary entrance, or to temporarily install plywood for protection of the opening. If you figure out the exact placement of the exterior trim that will need to be installed after the door is installed, you can find the stopping point for your siding.

Now, after the siding is installed and the interior is drywalled and painted you can install the beautiful prefinished front door. Remember that it still needs to get spray foamed to make sure its air sealed around the door frame.

Jeff Deahl is past president of the Builders Association of Northeast Indiana. Questions for the Square Corners column may be submitted to [email protected].

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