Home Project - Front door, porch and walkway

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
stilllurking
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:44 am

Home Project - Front door, porch and walkway

Post by stilllurking » Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:58 am

Before the cold is upon us in PA, I need to change my front door. I've tried to install after market sweeps but they make the door unmanageable to swing open and shut with ease and the plastic only lasts for a short period before slowly tearing off. We've been in the house for 9 years now and it is time for an upgrade.

Secondly, but maybe this should be done in conjunction with the first, is that the walkway and porch that lead up to my potential new door also needs replacing. It is currently made of large slabs of rock that have been grouted (for lack of a better term) together. In winter's past, I had put salt on the walkway and porch to remove ice but that has eaten away at the grout and now there is dirt exposed and a lot of the pieces of grout are coming out in chunks. That leads to holes between each of the slabs as well as vegetation growth. The porch sits directly one step below the door and also has one step to ascend to it.

1) What are your thoughts on who to contact or where to shop for exterior doors? I've been staying away from the big box stores since they'll outsource to the lowest bidder to install and then be done with it.

2) Should I end up having it done altogether with one company? I'm thinking that the walkway company may not have expertise with installing the door and vice versa.

Thanks for your thoughts!

barnaclebob
Posts: 2079
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:54 am

Re: Home Project - Front door, porch and walkway

Post by barnaclebob » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:31 am

I'd split it up. Is re grouting something you can do yourself?

User avatar
dodecahedron
Posts: 3179
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:28 pm

Re: Home Project - Front door, porch and walkway

Post by dodecahedron » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:40 am

I am just now completing a very similar project. I hired a landscape architect who came up with a great cost effective and attractive plan. The General Contractor she recommended has done an amazing job under her watchful supervision. (He is highly motivated not to cut corners because her recommendation is worth a lot and she is also involved in multimillion dollar commercial projects). I have a beautiful 1938 doorway with sidelights (by a historically significant local builder of considerable repute) and my contractor's carpenters have done an amazing job of restoring it (took it out, back to their shop, and it is now back in). I am super happy I went with a landscape architect.
Last edited by dodecahedron on Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
dodecahedron
Posts: 3179
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:28 pm

Re: Home Project - Front door, porch and walkway

Post by dodecahedron » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:46 am

My project was very comprehensive, involved regrading, better drainage, new porch, removing badly deteriorated walkway, replacing with beautiful concrete walkway and terraced steps, bluestone terrace, all designed for long term aging in place.). I am really glad this is all getting addressed in comprehensive thoughtful way. Am not a DIY person for stuff like this but if I were I still would have wanted to go with architect guidance.

dbr
Posts: 22988
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 9:50 am

Re: Home Project - Front door, porch and walkway

Post by dbr » Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:57 am

In my community there are several concrete/masonry contractors that specialize in driveways, walkways, steps, and porches. I have seen some striking design work done. Doing an entire re-do in one job could make a lot of sense. You might also check that steps and porch meet current code for dimensions of land and railings. These folks would have nothing to do with a door.

For doors and windows I have used a specialty locally owned milling company that makes their own doors and windows with installation and also sells a line of upscale entry doors with hardware and locks and also framing such as side lights. That would be my choice here.

Rupert
Posts: 2422
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:01 pm

Re: Home Project - Front door, porch and walkway

Post by Rupert » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:56 am

How much do you want to spend on a door? A new one can costs hundreds (big-box store) or thousands (custom millwork outfit). If your door is a standard size, a compromise might be to buy the door at a big-box store and have a local contractor of your choice (as opposed to one chosen by the big-box store) install it. Also, architectural salvage stores are great places to shop for antique wood doors that a good contractor can make look like new.

I would contact landscape architects about the walkway.

User avatar
Kosmo
Posts: 1277
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:54 am
Location: Philadelphia

Re: Home Project - Front door, porch and walkway

Post by Kosmo » Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:05 pm

For the door try a window and siding company. I had my front door, storm door, and slider replaced a few years ago when I had my windows replaced.

Best bet for the walkway is a masonry company. Do you want it just repaired and regrouted or fully replaced? Might be hard to find someone willing to repair because it's a relatively small job but requires a lot of time. This is a much easier DIY project if you're inclined.

User avatar
lthenderson
Posts: 2228
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:43 pm
Location: Iowa

Re: Home Project - Front door, porch and walkway

Post by lthenderson » Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:28 pm

Unfortunately, the market is full of cheap, extruded plastic sweeps for less than $10. I've replaced dozens of those on houses over the years because they get brittle, broken and wear out. I would spend a few more dollars and buy a quality door sweep to put on my door versus spending $400-$500 not including installation labor on a new door just because of a bad sweep. A good quality sweep installed correctly should last decades and not be noticeable except for the lack of a cold draft blowing under the door. If the door has other unmentioned issues, that is a different story.

stilllurking
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:44 am

Re: Home Project - Front door, porch and walkway

Post by stilllurking » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:36 am

Thanks for the responses. Very helpful.

To answer some questions above.

I would consider myself handy enough to grout. There are pieces close to the drive way that are triangular in shape. Those have had some of the edges broken off so I'd also need to repair those.

There is also one slab on the top of the porch that is quite loose so I'd need to also figure out how to shim that and grout for strength.

Haven't really thought about how much to spend on a door. The existing one looks standard, but to the side of the door, there is a narrow window that spans half the door height so you can see who is on the other side. That looks to be attached to the same frame as the door so both would need to be replaced. Though with the suggestions on a DIY project for the walkway, I may get a better door with the savings from having to do the walkway.

Do the doors come with the storm door as well (glass/mesh) or just the door that faces the interior of the home?

Carson
Posts: 494
Joined: Fri May 09, 2014 3:26 pm

Re: Home Project - Front door, porch and walkway

Post by Carson » Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:28 pm

You can likely get an exterior door and its sidelite (that's the half window thingy) as one unit to install, depending on the dimensions. The storm door (outermost door with screen/glass) is separate.

We have some 90-year old doors, and we installed spring bronze weatherstripping on the sides and a quality foam seal on the bottom and have been really happy with how airtight it is.

If your door is new, it might also have a gasket that runs on the underside of the door that mounts in a little track.
30-something personal finance enthusiast, just get getting started on this whole portfolio thing.

User avatar
F150HD
Posts: 987
Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2015 7:49 pm

Re: Home Project - Front door, porch and walkway

Post by F150HD » Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:33 pm

a picture would be very helpful

dbr
Posts: 22988
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 9:50 am

Re: Home Project - Front door, porch and walkway

Post by dbr » Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:43 am

One thing I can say is that after a couple of decades living in our house we finally had a total re-do of all the concrete work including steps and porches. Afterwards all we could say was "What took us so long to do this?"

Post Reply