The "Door" Project

This summer was all about giving the front of my house a face lift. This 85 year old house would finally have that great curb appeal I had been wishing for. In just a few short months, two dedicated and determined home owners, some help from a dedicated father, and a very limited budget, we managed to do quite a bit of work around the outside of house and transform it.

Along with the front, we also worked on a few projects aroun
d the back of the house which included a new backyard fence and gate. At the front, we had painted all the windows and doors, painted a very rusty old iron railing, painted the brick and details on the front of the house and added a new gate in between this house and the neighbours. If there's time, I'd like to replace the evestrough and tile the front walk way with slate. Yes, I'm a little ambitious seeing that it's October now in Toronto and working outdoors will soon become miserable.


When we had begun our summer project on the outside of the house, we started with painting the front porch railing. Realizing that we had plenty of Tremclad metal paint left over, we continued with the windows. Sometime in the early 80's, someone thought it would be a good idea to replace all their windows with brown aluminum windows with small sliders along the bottom. Seems like everyone else in the neighbourhood had the same idea. Now I certainly don't have the budget to replace the windows because they're unsightly, but since we had plenty of leftover paint, we kept going and painted all the windows. What a huge difference a new coat of paint on an old metal railing and dated brown windows make. We've even had comments by neighbours looking to update their brown windows! Still lots of leftover paint....

In front of my door, was a brown and white glass storm door. Replacing it was a consideration, but again, the cost just didn't seem worth it.

We thought we'd try and paint that as well but knew we had a big project ahead of us. We started first thing in the morning so we could give the door plenty of time to dry. Oh, to make things easier, we removed the door and set it up on some paint cans to avoid drips. We lay the door down, taped carefully around the several windows in the door and painted, about 2 coats per side. So far so good. Later that night, it was dry to the touch, but just to be safe, we leaned it up against the wall and left it for a few more days for the paint to cure.

Next was the door. Now, when I first moved in, this door was ugly. The yellowish brown stain on the entire door covered by a high gloss laquer was not pretty. The orange patterned window inset with a small square frame around it didn't help. I hoped to one day replace the door altogether, but never got around to it. Instead, I built up the frame around the window painted the door white, and lived with that for years. But now with the whole house starting to look much better, it was time for a drastic change. I had gotten used to the ugly orange glass in the door, but it was time for it to go. I started looking at replacing the glass and saw several patterned glass options to choose from, but I wasn't loving any of them. Shopping at Home Depot one day, I discovered rolls of plastic window film from Light Effects which would stick onto windows, glass etc. I've seen these before, I have some on a bathroom window, but these were much nicer, much more stylish. I fell in love with one pattern, the Etched Lace, but it cost a bit more than I had wanted to spend. I called my my glass guy and asked him to quote me a few different options of glass. I decided to have 2 thinner pieces cut and stick the film between the two. This way, the film would be protected and no one would know it was not actually etched glass. The Light Effects treatment was super easy to use! The two pieces of glass were $18, and the window film was $30. First we had to remove the existing wood frame around the glass and then pry out the old glass, very very carefully. We managed to pull the glass out in 2 pieces, but it could of been much worse! If you're doing this, please wear protective clothing, goggles and gloves!
Once removed, we cleaned out the old glue and placed a thin bead of construction adhesive or caulking around the inside of the frame (glass facing outside). I'm no pro here, so you'll have to do your own homework as to what's best to use. Then the glass is carefully put into place and another bead of caulk is run along the edges of the glass. The strips of frame are pressed into the caulk against the glass, the screws go back into the existing holes, wood filler fills the holes. and sanded when dry. The door lock was salvageable, but the handle was upgraded for approx. $47.00. A previous door lock left a large hole in behind the newer deadbolt. I had used a metal plate to cover the hole, but as you see in the 'before' picture, it was a lovely shade of brass. We painted the plate to match the colour of the new door. Before the locks went back on, we painted around the door lock and handle holes before they were secured back onto the door. This way, we didn't have to worry about getting paint on the new hardware, and any odd brush strokes. We also replaced the weatherstripping around the door with an aluminum coloured one to match the knobs (about $17).

Finally, we primed and painted the door. The front was the same matt black paint from Tremclad used to paint the railing and all the windows (you can also use this 'rust' paint to paint wood!). The inside of the door was painted white with some leftover paint used to paint all the doors and trim inside. So for about $120, and some leftover paint, all of a sudden (ok, days later), we have a stylish new front door!
What do you think??

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