A Proper Shed Door

Finding manufactured exterior doors in a non-standard size — say, 2.6 feet wide — is next to impossible. Such was the dilemma of this couple in Hayes Barton. They have a nice, old piece of property, with a great house and a very “old school” brick-sided shed in the backyard — a rare type just not seen much anymore. But the wood doors on the shed were actually made for interior applications…indoor use only…and they were in bad shape. (This wasn’t the fault of the guy who’d installed the old doors years ago — he, like us, just couldn’t find exterior doors in the proper size…they don’t exist. So he reluctantly installed interior doors, knowing that they would rot within a few years.) Besides all the rot, one of the doors was completely unusable, as the latch above had broken, essentially locking it in place.

So, it was decided to take the old doors out and replace with a half-wood/half-composite single door unit. We would basically reframe the whole door and fill in the unused space.

Upon removal of the old doors we discovered that the entire doorway “frame” was actually 90% masonry (brick) with only 3 wood blocks per side inserted into the brick, to make a “jamb” for the doors. Old-school construction indeed. You just don’t see this type of masonry shed anymore, and likely built at least 60 years ago.

We pulled out the huge 20 penny nails holding in everything before, and re-framed the sides. (There was a large steel angle iron above, so no need to frame that.) After the door unit was slid in place we secured it tightly to the new framing, which itself was secured to the existing wood “studs” that held in the old doors. (Actually, a pretty good system to begin with; we used 6 screws per side, and that door unit is IN THERE! It wouldn’t move.)

Filling in the “dead space” outside with brick would’ve been unnecessary and not cost-effective (and we’re not masons), so we decided it best to fill in the spaces with some scrap tongue-and-groove panels from a previous job that we had stored in the shop. It’s a nice decorative touch and the clients loved the suggestion and new look!

Final touches included shoring up the threshold with a few shims, to remove any “bounce,” and and re-installing the old doorknob and strike plates (which were in fine shape and totally reusable).

So there you have it! There’s no “Before” pic — sometimes I just forget to take one — but the old doors were shot. The new unit looks and functions much better, and the clients are more than happy with the results!

(The client was going to paint it all up over the holidays, so I’ll include an “After” pic when available.)