Tuesday December 22, 2015; Monday May 2, 2016; Friday May 13, 2016; Monday January 2, 2017
Keeping it simple
60k House has a total of six doors: three internal and three external. That’s not a lot of doors, so it pays to get them right. We didn’t get them right the first time.
The first door to be installed was the internal door to the bathroom – in time for the birthday party way back in November 2015. I bought all of the hollow core internal doors for $5 per door from a hardware store. They were ‘packing doors’ – strapped to the outside of a pack to protect the rest of the pallet load. It took a few trips to shift through and find ones the right size and undamaged (my desk top is also an old packing door) – easy savings. I bought all of the internal door handles from the ‘specials’ shelf (discontinued or no longer stocked) of a specialist hardware store. All three door handles match and do the trick – more dollars saved. The door frames and jambs (timber trim that the door shuts up against) were all bought as a package from a hardware store.
The ‘front’ door (that nobody uses) and external bathroom door were temporarily clad for a long time – we didn’t really reach ‘lock-up’ until we had an operable external door. I couldn’t decide on the bathroom door so I ordered the front and kitchen doors from the same window manufacturer – neither worked out as originally planned.
Most people that visit 60k House for the first time want to walk through the large windows in the living room and always ask me why they’re not doors? Simple answer – they don’t need to be. One large door opening to the covered verandah is perfectly sufficient.
The wider the better
I didn’t realise the maximum width for a residential door frame was so narrow. Because I wanted to be modular and work roughly around an apple crate dimension this meant wider than standard doors. I could live with the maximum residential width (1000mm) for the front door but opted for a commercial frame for the kitchen door so it could be wider (1110mm) and fit evenly within the wall.
We’re still not sure how the measurements got stuffed up, but when the kitchen door arrived it didn’t fit! We were constrained by the floor level and the external flashing and cladding running around the building as a datum. After much head scratching and stuffing around Greg was able to ‘adapt’ the door to suit the opening. It’s traumatic seeing a builder rip into an aluminium door frame with a circular saw – much the same feeling as having a perfectly healthy tooth removed, to make space for your other teeth. Even after these ‘adjustments’ the kitchen door was still scraping along the floor and we couldn’t figure out why. It took us ages to realise that the door wasn’t actually square! I later found out that the window manufacturers would usually glaze a door of that size onsite, but because I had picked it up they hadn’t bothered to tell me.
Beers in the fridge
Originally the door was installed swinging in towards the kitchen. I didn’t yet have the kitchen installed, or a fridge. It was rightly pointed out that the current arrangement would make it hard to get a beer out of the fridge during a BBQ if the fridge was behind the opened door. It had originally swung in on the advice of the sales rep – because you can’t fit an external flyscreen to a door that swings out. The access to cold beers argument won out, and I decided to re-swing the door and swing it out. This would also afford more internal space not taken up by door swing, and there was plenty of space to park a car undercover and still open the door. I took the door back to the manufacturer and chatted with the guys in the workshop about how to flip or swing the door the other way, before finally deciding to simply turn it around. This still needed some modifications to the frame within the reveal (the timber surrounds). They replaced the hardware and even fitted a cover strip of aluminium over the top (I hate to think what they thought of our handy work with the circular saw).
At the time I ordered the first two doors I hadn’t realised that external doors needed to be either 5mm toughened glass or 35mm solid timber within 400mm of the ground for bushfire compliance – the original front door I had ordered wouldn’t comply, but it was already made! Thankfully it didn’t go to waste. After much deliberation and negotiation we decided to reuse the door for the external bathroom door. It was aluminium framed so could take water from the shower. The project has incorporated many recycled and reused elements but this was the newest!
The external door from the bathroom has proven to be very handy with the outdoor shower – especially because I haven’t been able to shower inside until only recently. The addition of a flush bolt to hold the door open when showering outside has made a vast improvement to the functionality of the door – better than the original rock door stop or milk crate filled with rocks that still allowed the door to swing against the hot water cylinder.
Last but not least
The front door was the last one to be made and installed. It is an oversized 35mm solid core door (2400 high x 920 wide) cut to suit the custom made timber frame (to sit below the flashing and cladding datum). The front door was installed in May and then modified by Mark this month to include a glazed panel to allow natural light into the entry/ante space. My brother Gordon painted all of the internal timber doors and undercoated the front door. The front door still needs a final coat of paint in a vibrant colour.
Just like the windows, the doors have been a learning experience – indecision followed by mistakes, temporary fixes then solutions devised to achieve a decent outcome. It’s pretty cool looking all the way through the building: through the external bathroom door; internal bathroom door; internal living room door; and out through the kitchen door.
Costs: kitchen door – $1,797; kitchen door modifications – $250; front door – $144; front door hardware – $77; bathroom door – $1,110; bathroom door flushbolt – $18; 3 internal doors – $15; internal door jamb sets – $152; internal door hardware – $99
Disclaimer: Any advice contained within this blog is of a general nature only and cannot be relied upon. Details provided are in good faith and relate specifically to this project. Any author will not be held responsible for advice or information presented.