About a Door

About a door that only took us a whole entire week to hang.  Lemme explain.

Outside on our back patio we have a small closet of sorts that houses our water heater.  Right?  A closet outside for the water heater?  I thought it was weird too when we saw it but it turns out it's actually pretty common down here in the deep south.  The door on that closet was in major need of repair or replacing though - the bottom part of it was all rotted from the elements and since we moved in, a couple of the slats had fallen out.

Not the prettiest sight.

Not even with our outdoor furniture and a quick power wash helping to disguise its falling-apart state.

It's never been a priority to replace it but when we were painting this part of the exterior trim a couple of weeks ago, we decided to just remove and replace the door with a new one.  Neither of us felt like painting a crumbling old door was a good use of paint.  We had braced ourselves to spend at least $150 on a new door to match the old but then, guess what happened?

Depending on how well you know us, you might have guessed it.

Yep, we found one.  $5. Solid freaking wood and heavy.  Habitat for Humanity ReStore.


So now...

Much better.  I mean, the cushions on our secondhand furniture obvi need an upgrade (soon!) but focus on those pristine slats.  

Replacing a door.  Seems easy, right?  Swap one for the other and move on.

Well let me tell you what's easy.

Easy is just going to our local home improvement store and grabbing a brand new door.  Sure, it's a $100+ out of your pocket but it's a pretty straightforward unscrew and screw.  Put on hardware and shut.   Not so bad...maybe a half hour of time and you're golden.  If you want to paint it, add another half hour.  If you need to go the custom route, bump the hundreds place (swimming in 2nd grade math over here) up one or four.  But we apparently just don't do easy for the sake of the green.  The not-so-easy part about buying a used door, even if it's the same size, is that it might need a new paint job but you might need to fix the peeling paint situation on it first.  It might also be pretty dirty so it could need a good cleaning.  And since it's a louvered door (we need breath-ability since there's a water heater in there), there's no guarantee that all of the slats can be accounted for.  Oh, and the hardware might not line up perfectly on the first shot.  But hey, it's environmentally friendly and that's a big win, right? 👍

Am I giving all of our "new" doors issues away.  Yes.  Yes I am.

Is this going to be a riveting post about something you really care about?  Probably not.

But since I like to keep you posted on allll things project-related, here we go.

First things first -  we started by taking off the old door, hinges and all.

Here are the old and new doors side-by-side.  Can you tell which is which?  :)
<----- -----="" nbsp="" new="" old="">

The edge on the new door is slightly thicker and yep, it was missing a slat.  The slats on the old door were a little thinner than the slats on the old door but we hoped it wasn't too evident as we cut a slat from the old to stick into the empty spot on the new.  Had the edge on the new door not been thicker than the old, that quick switcheroo wouldn't have worked since the slat wouldn't have been long enough.  Happy coincidence, I suppose.  You can tell me in the pictures of it up if you can really spot the odd slat.  ;)  

The next thing we did was sand down the new door.  It was pretty dirty with old mildew and just the sanding alone helped clean it up.  To sand down the slats, Anthony used his favorite tool, the Ryobi multi-tool*.  It has a sander attachment that was able to get right into those tight spaces.  Without the multi-tool, a piece of sandpaper sliding through the cracks would have done the job too.    

To sand the larger, flat areas, I used our el cheapo hand sander*.  (We bought this when our more expensive, albeit old, hand sander died sanding the walls in the kids' room last year and it's still going strong.  For $14, that's a pretty big win for the underdog.)

Sanding loosened the paint in a few places and, because it wasn't properly painted the first time around, paint started peeling.  Fun.  It was way worse on the front side of the door than the back...a sad reality.  It's not the smartest idea to paint over peeling paint so I took a putty knife and scraped off all of the loose paint.

Then, I wiped the whole thing down real good and we were ready for primer.  I used oil-based spray primer because the new paint sprayer* I ordered still is not here yet and I really didn't want to paint all of those slats with a brush.  Talk about tedious and lots of potential for unwanted drips.

Unfortunately, very unfortunately, our paint sprayer still hadn't been delivered a couple of days later when the door was ready for paint so instead of waiting longer, I just took a deep breath and grabbed my angled brush.  I was sick of looking at the old door that was just propped up against the opening to the water heater closet and longed to see the new door up.  Nice aesthetics are a real good motivator.

Using the same paint we're using on the exterior trim (get the paint code here), I painted one side of the door one day and the opposite side the next.  I started by painting the back so that, if and when I turned the door over to paint the other side, something got scratched, it'd be on the back and never seen.

Anthony and I hung it after dinner one night using some "new" hinges and a "new" doorknob ($5 for both at ReStore), and though it's worth the effort, that wasn't a cake walk either.  We did a dry fit before we painted the door - we hung the door before it was painted to line up the hinges on the existing frame - so that we didn't have to mess with that after the paint was already on, risking scratches.  They weren't, of course, but it was an easy fix (this video was extremely helpful) with the multi-tool.  We didn't check the doorknob though during that time and found out upon the grand closure (because closing that door for the first time was a big deal) that it was a smidge off upon hanging the new door.  Anthony fixed that by just enlarging the existing hole in the door frame and then, we finally got to close the door on the closet and on this project.    

I know it probably sounds crazy to save a hundred bucks or more only to add a good amount of elbow grease to your plate but it always feels so good to us in the end.   It's hard to fit all of the projects in when they all are involved thanks to the nature of buying secondhand but in another sense, because we save so much, we're also able to do more because we've got the money for it...even if it takes us many, many moons.  What's your preference?  Would you rather buy new and/or pay someone to do the work for the ease of it or do you like to do it yourself?  I know it really all just depends on budget but both are good!  You can bet that if we had a money tree in our backyard, this house would have been finished before Christmas last year thanks to the work of tradesmen and we'd be lounging in our backyard oasis right now.  ;)  But while, we're where we're at, we're enjoying the process and learning so much.

If you're still reading, bravo!  Never has a single door on this blog gotten so much attention.  ;)

We have been chipping away at painting the rest of the house amid an obstacle or two and we've also  got some new kitchen progress to share.  I've got a draft on that in the works as soon as we finish a few small things.  Exciting stuff, I tell ya.

Pssst...on another note, we really want to get rid of the full-window screens that are in some of our windows (see that small window to the right of the new door) because half of them are falling apart and they cover up too much of the fresh paint job.  We need screens so we can open windows without becoming a mosquito hotel though so I'm open to suggestions and recommendations for screens that aren't as in-your-face.  Let me know whatcha got!  TIA!

Have a fantastic week and stay healthy!!  😷

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*These links are affiliate links which means that, if you click over and/or make a purchase through the link, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.  All of these links will lead you to things we actually paid for or that are similar to the item we paid for in case ours is thrifted/sold out/secondhand.  This extra money helps us with the costs of running the blog.  Thank you for your support and for fueling our love to share all things DIY!


  1. I think this is awesome! I also feel like this is the route I take with what is less expensive but I do not have the patience to do as good a job as you.

    1. You give me too much credit Emily! My lack of patience is my motivation. Haha!