Fun challenge! – Count the number of references to The Doors songs in this post. (Title does not count.)

I thought ordering doors would be easy. Boy, was I wrong. It all started nearly two years ago when I couldn’t find exterior doors to match our French doors and windows.

Our French doors we were trying to match

Apparently the design selection of 8′ doors is a very small fraction of the available options for 6’8″ doors. We even got a quote for custom wood doors, but we were led back to a fiberglass option, as South-facing doors in full sun tend to have problems. The search went on…

After a year of door drama (I’ll spare the details), I gave up. I shut down my computer, and I got myself a beer. Eventually we found fiberglass doors with a glass panel pattern that matches our window proportions. Yes! And after another few months of waiting, they arrived. Unpainted, of course. We masked and primed the doors and frames. Then we had the drywall painters spray them black.

Sam and I finally installed the first of the three exterior doors. It went well with the exception of the cats constantly getting in the way and trying to rip the Tyvek.

We didn’t have hardware when we installed the door, so a bubble wrapped piece of plywood is holding it shut. Sam said, “Casey, Casey, Casey, won’t you get a lock and key.” So I did, but Sam has to re-bore the holes and expand the mortise for the deadbolt to fit. The hardware is still in pieces in the box…

The door looks great though. We can’t install the other exterior doors until we work on the siding.

8 foot interior doors were just as difficult to find. There are so many ugly outdated doors, yet no simple two-panel doors. After many many hours wasted, I called up Bob, a custom door maker. We had him make us pine doors to match our pine windows. Our pine boards were already quite dry, but we brought them to a friend’s kiln to ensure the bugs were dead.

The Dee Mill

Then we took the pine from the kiln to Bob’s shop in Portland. He purchased pine plywood for the panels and used our pine for the rails and styles. They matched really well.

He also made the door frames with our pine. We later realized it may have been better to buy quality straight boards for the frames. Our twisted boards added some difficulty to the installation. Luckily Sam can overcome any challenge.

Just two weeks later, Bob finished the doors! We were waiting for the sun to pick them up. It was either snowing near us or raining in Portland every single day. Alas, a break in the weather! We got our doors! We even caught a glimpse of spring in the city.

The sun stayed out for a few days, providing good conditions for painting the doors. We gave them a light sanding and two clear coats. Sam and I got really good at flipping wet doors over and carrying them in an out of the shop.

I think winter might be over. Things dried out more over the week, and Sam lit our first big burn pile of the season.

Come on baby, light my fire!

Once the paint dried, we installed the three pine doors. It wasn’t that easy, but they look great! The tall doors inside are very fun!

Finding interior door levers to match the levers on our French doors was another lengthy ordeal.

Plus, we needed the handles to be cat-proof. We try to keep the cats out of the living room when we’re not in there. Buster often breaks on through to the other side, so we have to keep the door locked all the time.

He broke in one night while we were asleep and crawled in bed with us. Never a stealthy cat like his brother, he walked across my face and woke me up. We made sure that our new door levers were stiffer so Buster can’t operate them. So far, so good, although I worry he might get stronger with practice.

The door between the shop and apartment required a seal and spring loaded hinges. We got a threshold that can be removed in case we need to drive the scissor lift into the apartment to decorate a Christmas tree. Sam carefully chiseled the profile of the threshold in the door frame. It fits like a glove. Then he adjusted the springs in the hinges so the door won’t crush the cats.

Next, we have three 6’8″ interior doors. You can’t find these in pine, so we cheaped out and got some solid core MDF doors. They have the same two-panel design and bead profile as our custom pine doors. They match well and look so good together. Yeah, so good together.

Sam spray painted them. The cats walked all over the black one, but we were giving it a second coat of paint anyway. We hung these three doors as quickly as possible before they got dirty.

And finally the cheapest, best find of them all- a used $60 fir door that Sam stumbled upon! We’re using it at the base of the stairs that lead up to the attic. It needs a few minor modifications to fit, and we’re going to cut a hole in it for a cat door.

And for the finishing touch…

A giant door step! We even started using that door! The cats too.

That’s it. This is the end. The end of our elaborate door plans.

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