How To Build a DIY Exterior Door
Spring is coming, and for us, that means we can finally complete all the projects we have planned over the winter.
One of those projects was to install a new door. One that fits the personality of this house. We didn’t want a steel door. They are all the same style. We wanted this house to stand out. So, we decided on solid wood.
But there’s a budget.
There’s always a budget, and it’s a game to see how much UNDER budget we can come.
So, while at Lowe’s we looked at the solid wood exterior doors. Though on some homes they would be fantastic…. on our home, not so much. But they do offer special ordering. This isn’t a race to see how far OVER budget we could come. So special ordering was not an option.
So, we thought…there’s got to be a way to build this…and to make this budget-worthy, with a quality that would survive a tornado. (I did mention we have 2 very active boys, right?)
Why don’t we build this out of plywood? It’s strong, it’s going to be under a porch roof, protected by the screen door, and painted to protect it even further.
So that’s just what we did.
And you can do it too. It’s THAT easy.
You will need:
Table saw, jigsaw, drill, miter saw, 1 5/8″ screws, wood glue for exterior applications, paint.
2 sheets of 23/32” plywood. (Commonly referred to as 3/4″ plywood)
1 sheet of ¼” plywood.
First, you must take VERY DETAILED MEASUREMENTS OF YOUR DOOR FRAME, NOT YOUR ACTUAL DOOR.
Our door happened to be 32″ wide, and 79″ tall, whereas, our door frame was 32 1/2″ wide, and 79 3/4″ tall. As you can see, we had MASSIVE amounts of air coming in.
We wanted our door to fit snug, but not stick. So, we chose 32 ¼” X 79 ½”.
The door has 3 layers. 2 layers of 23/32” plywood, with a ¼” sheet sandwiched between.
With the table saw, we ripped BOTH sheets of plywood down to 32 ¼” wide, and 79 ½” tall.
Still using the table saw, we took the 23/32” sheet and ripped it into three 5” strips. We then cut ONE of the 5” strips down to 46” long.
Next, we took the scrap that was about 16 ½” X 32 ¼” and ripped that into 2 pieces measuring 7” X 22 ¼”.
With the 2nd piece of 23/32” plywood, we ripped a 7” strip from it. We then cut that strip down to 22 ¼”.
**We also built a screen door, which is featured here, so, with the remaining 23/32” plywood, we ripped it into 6” strips, and had enough for a wooden sign I’ve been wanting to make. **
The pieces you will need for the exterior door are as follows:
1 –23/32” X 32 ¼” X 79 ½”
1 – 23/32” X 32 ¼” X 79 ½”
2 – 23/32” X 5” X 79 ½” strips.
1 – 23/32” X 5” X 46” strips.
3 – 7” X 22 ¼”
Lay everything out to make sure everything lines up:
We took our door inside to glue all the layers together. It was getting chilly outside!
Now is where it gets fun!
Lay the 23/32″ plywood down, and give it a good coat of glue. I used a tiny trim roller to make sure every inch of the wood was covered. I know, I didn’t get a picture. We were trying to work pretty fast at this point.
Next, lay the 1/4″ plywood down onto the 23/32″ sheet. Press it down to make sure every inch makes contact.
Finally, lay out the smaller boards as shown here:
We used 1 5/8″ screws and screwed the smaller boards down, making triple sure everything lined up perfectly on each side.
At this point, we stopped for the night.
The next day, we cut the opening for the window with the trusty jigsaw.
Remember, it has to be perfect, so go slow!
I didn’t get a picture of the glass being inserted into the door. I know. Epic fail.
However, here is a picture of how it’s held in.
Front of Window
To insert the glass, I first cut decorative trim that we had left over from a previous project, and lined the outside of the window. I then flipped the door onto its front, and laid the glass inside the opening. I placed window glazing (from a caulking gun) around the glass.
Back of Window
As you can see above, I then cut additional pieces of trim to be placed around the edges, holding the glass inside the opening.
Then, the holes for the hardware were drilled. The center of the deadbolt is at 42″, and the center of the doorknob is at 36″.
Don’t forget to sink those hinges into the door:
We then braved 18-degree temperatures to get that puppy hung! Unfortunately, I did not get pictures of the door being hung. It took both of us, and someone has to work the camera. 😉
But here is the finished product:
I chose yellow paint because I wanted our house to reflect our personality, and I wanted it to stand out. Yellow is a fun color and reminds me of summer. Everyone chooses red, even me. Since I have painted red doors on so many other houses. It was time for a change.
I hope you enjoyed our little project! The total cost was about 100.00 for BOTH a solid wood exterior door and screen door, that measure about 32″ wide. You can’t beat that!
I will write about our gorgeous screen door VERY soon. It was made from the scrap wood that the door was build from!