quick winter door install
Wednesday, February 8 2017
I woke up early (a little after 7:00am) and soon drove out to Home Depot, stopping for coffee and Chex Mix at Stewarts along the way. Most of the reason for the errand was to get some five-quarter-by-four planks of the sort used to make the outdoor trim around windows and doors in our house, though I also got three tubes of caulk to fill in the many gaps I anticipated. The caulk had me thinking about the time when, as a young teenager, I built a new chassis for a disembodied clock radio (a la Ahmed Mohamed) out of bits of wood and lots of caulk. The plan for that was to make a one-unit device that could do anything (like a modern iPhone) but, of course, at the time I was stuck in the early 1980s.
Back at the house, I quickly removed what remained of the clapboards in the way of the new door using the oscillating tool. The day was relatively warm and there was even a little sun (which has been a bit rare this winter). I hadn't been wanting to open up the wall and let the winter in, but the weather gave me hope that if I worked quickly, I could get the door in and sealed up before the weather would have a chance to turn. So I began the process of removing the existing window. I cut away the plastic flange nailed to the framing and used a reciprocating saw the cut through all the spray foam. But then I became worried about its weight and its high perch. So I opened the windows and removed both panes. I was now completely committed to the project; there was no walking it back now.
With some more cutting, I managed to remove the window frame and then all of the wall beneath it (including both of the old jack studs). The last bit that had to go was the floor plate and a two by six that had run horizontally beneath the header. With all that out of the way, there was now a hole big enough to install the door in.
After cleaning up the sawdust and other demolition debris, I found Gretchen had returned from walking the dogs. So I enlisted her to help me wrestle the door in place. Originally the plan had been to have some dudes come over to help, but I was thinking the two of us might be enough. It turned out that I was correct. I put down some cardboard to help with sliding it, but the two of us probably could have carried it had we needed to. Once it was in place, I put a temporary support on it to hold it in place. And then I began the work of making it plumb. The task went a bit long, but I mostly had it in place about fifteen minutes into the afternoon. My workday could proceed more or less normally, with occasional visit to the basement to tinker. By mid-afternoon, I'd sealed all the gaps around it with spray foam and it could keep the weather out simply by shutting the doors.
Later this evening, there was a threat of snow, so I tidied up outside as well, bringing in all the tools, the step ladder, and the planks. I piled the old window casing and wall in one place where I could find them if necessary even were it to be buried beneath a couple feet of snow.
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