Custom casing legs on modern twist to craftsman style

DIY

So, either you are staring at a broken unusable door and need it replaced, or you’re staring at an old ugly outdated door, and want something new and fresh! Maybe your first thought is, “It can’t be that hard, maybe I can watch a couple youtube videos and do it myself.” If you already have the tools around the house or know where to rent them, and are pretty handy, that’s definitely a viable option. Now how do you know what you need? Well, that depends on how far down the rabbit hole you want to go. If you simply just want to replace the door slab, then you could be looking at as low as about $80 + tax for your low end unfinished hollow core flat panel door slab from your local box store. If you want to get something a bit nicer like a solid wood 5 panel door, or a single panel glass door, you could be looking at several hundred dollars and will still need to stain and seal or paint them. Keep in mind we’re talking about your standard 80″ tall doors here, and you can absolutely find some amazing and intricate designs for thousands of dollars, but for today let’s keep it simple.

PRO

To hire a professional to do this for you, you’ll need to know how many doors you want to replace. If you’re only replacing one door, expect to pay more than you would than if you had several to replace, only because there are certain minimum charges associated with mobilization, setup, disposal, and site prep involved. It’s also helpful to know how cost minded you are, some professionals will give you the option to paint or stain the door/s yourself to save on labor, or they simply don’t perform that part without hiring another professional. It also helps to know if you want a “red carpet experience” where the professional handles everything, seamlessly, provides a warranty, communicates clearly, and follows through with what they say and makes you comfortable enough to be able to leave the house without worrying about anything. That said, for a single door replacement with a red carpet company, expect to pay a minimum of $400 – $600 for a basic door. More if it needs to be cut down and prepped for a door knob or recessed pull. Add another $200 – $400 or so for a professional painter to seal all edges and paint 2 coats. Send us a message if we’re in your neighborhood and you’d rather just hire a pro, and if you’re out of our service area, there’s a good chance we know a trusted pro close to you (nation wide).

DIY

Now, if you want to go further down the rabbit hole and change the entire look of your door and surrounding trim (known as the casing) or you want to change the type of door, then there are several questions to consider. Feel free to leave a comment if you have a question not answered here, or think we’re missing an important one.

Q. Will any framing need to be added or modified and if so, are there bearing walls to worry about. If you think there might be bearing walls and are not a professional, STOP! At least call an expert and have them consult with you about if you are dealing with a load bearing wall or not, and what to do if you are. In most cities, you’ll need to pull a building permit first. We have professionals nationwide that we trust, if you’d like a referral.

A. If you have sliding closet doors and want to convert them to bypass or french doors, expect to have to make the opening wider (see the load bearing wall section above). If you need to shrink the opening, that’s much easier. Simply add studs as needed, jamb boards and wider casing.

Q. Are there any electrical switches or lights that may need to be moved if you want to go with a wider or taller trim style?

A. Again, if you’re not sure, call a professional! Sometimes there’s enough wiggle room to move a switch box over about an inch, but you might have to switch to a remodel or cut in box with the tabs that hold it in place. Moving a light can be a little trickier, if you’re moving it towards the switch, odds are there’s plenty of slack. If not, you might be looking at running a new longer “switch leg” or wire from the switch to the new light location. If you’re lucky you might be able to this with little to no drywall removal or damage. Call a professional if you need help with that. Ask us for a referral, we have several trusted professionals across the country!

Q. Will the new trim be painted or stained, and does it make sense to pre stain or paint it before putting it up.

A. This might be best answered as whatever your preference is or you feel more comfortable with, but consider that stain is very watery (unless you pay extra for the gel kind  Old Masters 24991 80704 Gel Stain, 1 Quart, Dark Walnut – Household Wood Stains – Amazon.com ) and can easily get everywhere, including your floors, walls, pets, maybe even your kids, even if you carefully tape and mask things off. We recommend prestaining and sealing with a poly, or possibly rubbing a lemon oil or similar, on after installation. They make stainable wood filler for nail holes, and a variety of colored touch up markers, but if you pre seal you’re better off with a color matched putty or crayon. If you’re leaning towards paint, there’s no real right or wrong, but we prefer a spray finish over brushing or rolling, after installation and with great prep work consisting of filling and sanding nail holes or other blemishes and using a tape caulking technique on any gaps against the wall.

Don’t think we’re going to skip out on some pricing info here, but I’ll touch on what a red carpet pro would start at. There are way to many options of door and trim styles, and how many layers of trim, not to mention types of doors. For this example we’ll assume that an older stained swing door and trim will be replaced with a painted 2 panel solid core swing door with 3 piece casing (2 legs, and 1 head piece per side of the door). To purchase the new door and trim, deliver it to your house, protect the surrounding surfaces as needed, remove the existing door and trim and dispose of it, set the new door and cut and install the new trim and clean up, expect to pay $750-$850 at a minimum, and another $300-$500 to have it painted with clean lines and premium trim paint.

***Please note, the professional prices mentioned here are averages. Location, quantity, style, and site conditions all play a huge part in material and labor costs. Typically the price per door starts to go down if you have several to work on, but it could also be more, if you live in a 5 story building on the top floor, and don’t want any saws inside your space or with other conditions.  Also, installing hardware is a topic for another post!