Fitting new wooden doors

I have been having some work done at home and one of the main areas of improvement has been the fitting of new wooden doors. The old doors were rotten, single glazed and draughty, so it has been a job worth doing. So what have I learned.

Getting a good wooden door is difficult. I wanted an FSC hard wood door that had good insulation, but every door retailer I spoke to could not give me a U value for their doors. In fact only one of them knew what a U value was! All the doors were only 44mm thick and so getting any good double glazing into the frame was impossible. In the end I had to settle for an 8mm spacer.

Getting a pre-treated door is effectively a waste of time. I got untreated doors as I wanted to use Osmo products to treat them, so I knew what to use in the future for extra treatments. I primed them, painted them and went around with a close eye to ensure that all the relevant sections were painted inside and out. However, because nice square new doors do not go into lopsided solid wall holes the frames and doors had to be trimmed. This of course, removed the treatment, so I had to go around once all was ‘square’ to ensure that the wood was all treated again, especially behind the frames etc. If I had relied on a pre-treated option there would have been the issue of what they had used, how it was applied, colour etc. Nightmare!

Fitting new doors in old holes is difficult. It took two experienced carpenters a whole day to fit one door. Admittedly they did it well, but all the same when you hear of companies fitting a full complement of doors and windows in a day then you must question how they are doing it.

Sealing the door is difficult. Using an expanding tape is the best way of getting an airtight seal, although good airtightness tapes can help on the inner edge. I will be using Auro Cork filler.

Insulating the doors can be difficult as well. I used InsOwall insulating plaster between the frame and wall. This works well in dry locations and could fit into tight spaces.

It is worth remembering that once the doors the right size etc there is even more painting to do – in the lock cavity, behind the hinges, in any holes drilled for keys etc.

Bearing all these things in mind and the pressure of time etc felt by builders you really need to be there to ensure that all the treatments are applied correctly etc. This is, of course, very difficult to achieve. We all have work to do.

Ideally I would recommend that it is worth getting a pre-hung door set that is fully draught-proofed, fitted with all the ironmongery, treated etc. This means that there is less that can go wrong and because it will be made to measure there should be little to no planing, trimming etc. So the frame should last longer due to its treatment remaining intact. This also reduces the risk of swelling etc, thus making the door set last longer. Pre-hung doors can also be installed with better hinges and lock systems, thus making them more secure. All in all a much better job.

Eco Home Centre can provide you with high quality wooden pre-hung doors from ARU – and part of me really thinks that I should have hung the expense (they are around £800 each). However, because I was able to draw on free labour it made economic sense to do it the long winded way.

A lesson learned!