The life of two scientists, creating a small home, in big mountains

Tag: Doors

Home Stay+ Bath Door Refinish

Today marks the start of home stay week 3. It is frustrating to watch the world to get sicker each day, while doing nothing is actually my best way to help. I wonder how I’d feel about this time when it passes, like ten years from now. But for now, the uncertainty gets the upper hand sometimes.

To keep my mind occupied, and more importantly, to make myself feeling useful, I turned to DIY. Tangible, tedious, fulfilling, and therapeutic. I’ve organized the garage¬†and built cedar planters for the patio. This week, I refinished our master bathroom door.

The second-hand bath door

Our master room has two doorways, and this is the door we mounted between the media room and the bath.

IMG_0513

I do not think Charlie digs the concept of glass door at all.

IMG_0516

We got this door second-hand from Resource Central’s resale store. It is made from solid wood and double-paneled glass. It is super heavy.

IMG_0470

From distance the door looked pretty nice. But when you looked it closely, its color read rather yellow and it had screw holes from hanging blinds.

IMG_0501

We’d like to re-stain it to espresso to match other doors in the basement.

IMG_0522

First step: Sand

The first step of finishing any wood product is to sand off the old finish down to bare wood. We moved it into the garage and I started by covering the glass with plastic drape.

01 before

02 before

I usually use random orbital sander on large surfaces, but for the rather narrow door frames I chose my small 3M hand sander. I only had 80, 120 and 220 grit sandpapers on hand so I started with 80 grit.

03 80 grit

The wood is fairly soft. A few passes with 80 grit sandpaper took the finish right off.

04 after 80

The dimension of the door was written on the side of the door:

05 side before

Came right off with the 80 grit sandpaper.

06 side after 80

Before sanding:

07 before

After 80 grit:

08 after 80

It took just 5 mins on each side.

09 color change

To sand the inside trim I took the 80 grits sandpaper off the sander and held it with my hands:

10 80 on trim

Trim before sanding:

11 before trim

After 80 grits:

12 after 80

After vacuuming the sand dust away, I proceeded with 120 grit sandpaper.

13 after 80

And finished everything off with 220 grits sandpaper:

15 after 220

Step 2: Clean and patch (then sand again)

By this point the door frame was very smooth. I cleaned off the sand dust with a damp microfiber cloth:

18 after clean

17 after clean

16 after clean

Then patched the staple and screw holes with wood putty:

21

22

23

After a light sanding where the putty had been applied, the door was ready for the stain!

19

Step 3: Stain!

For the stain I picked Varathane in espresso color. I recently read about shellac as a wood finish and decided to give it a try.

20

Rubbing on the first coat of stain. I immediately liked the color of the stain and how easy it was applied.

24 after stain

You can see how much the espresso color of stain darkened the wood. It looked warm, but did not read red or yellow. I am very happy with this color.

25

After letting the first coat of stain dry for a couple hours, I applied the second coat. I do not think the second coat darkened the wood much more, but rather filled in the raw spots and enriched the color. It added more weight to the appearance.

26 second coat

This was how the color looked like in bright sun light after the second coat had dried. With cooler and dimmer lighting, it read a lot darker. I think it would match the other two doors really well.

27

Final step: Seal and protect

After the stain dried I applied the shellac. It is pretty thick – kinda a maple syrup consistency, and dries very fast. I had to work very fast to make sure each layer was thin.

28

Can you tell that it added a lot more shine to the wood? It was very pretty in person with just the first coat!

29

I applied three thin layers in total, with one hour of drying time in between.

30

After the last layer had applied I let the door sit. It takes time for the solvent (ethanol in this case) to evaporate completely and the shellac to harden. We have not mounted it yet. But I like the finish! Do you?

3 Doors Down

IMG_0511

Long time no see! I am finally getting around to show you what’s going on in the ranch. And I am excited to tell you about our progress.

Since moving into the bedroom we have been just tackling small projects – caulking, paint touch-ups, hanging art, and just settling into our new basement living routine. We like the master suite as much as the day we moved in. The closets function perfectly. The NuCore flooring is holding up to the “dog nail test”. And the glass shower door has survived the first two months of usage (did time fly!). I used to worry that one of us will slip and break the glass panels, but it turns out to be very solid and can take some impact. Let me tell you, living through January without making drywall dust was an absolutely joy.

After the holidays I started feeling like decorating. Hanging a couple pictures here and there, adding art to the bathroom, and bring in a much-needed clock to better get ready in the mornings. You know, the little things. One of the fun projects I did was dressing up the egress window well.

20200119_120154_HDR

The window well update

was a perfect Sunday morning project. Slav had been complaining how bare the window well looked, so I grabbed a bunch of faux plants from IKEA without telling him what they were for. Let me tell you, these plants are not cheap! What I got barely covered the front side of the window well, which we see everyday. But the hope is that they last a few years being out of the strong Colorado sun.

One Sunday Slav went skiing, I took the opportunity to setting up all the faux plants as a surprise:

20200119_120853_HDR

Much better from this, right?

20200119_100659_HDR

I documented the process with Instagram stories, hence the lack of pictures. Still debating if I should add a layer of white rocks to the bottom of the well. But for now, it is a killer upgrade that makes us smile every morning opening the curtains.

 

Installing prehung doors for the media room

The biggest progress we made lately was installing basement doors – 3 out of 4 to be exact. You might have noticed some of them in our last post:

IMG_0250

IMG_0247

These two doors are the basement entry door and the bedroom door, we chose solid core doors for their soundproofing properties. We are happy with the JELD-WEN window in the main floor living room, so choosing their doors was a no-brainer. The style is “the Craftsman” in Espresso color.

IMG_0193

The bedroom door was discarded during the renovation, so there was just one opening left.

IMG_0187

We ordered pre-hung door for the opening and it was pretty straight forward to put on. We chose left-hand opening so it opens into the bedroom.

IMG_0522

The doors did not come with knobs or lock. We picked some satin nickel lock from Lowe’s to match the finishes of the hinges:

IMG_0481

We also ordered a pre-hung door for the basement entry. The old jamb was in bad shape and the hinge side had started to separate from the foundation.

IMG_0196

We took the door and the door jamb off, and Slav secured the framing to the concrete wall properly.

IMG_0200

And the new door was on!

IMG_0201

IMG_0203

We added the same lock on this door and it looked amazing:

IMG_0526

Much better than the old one. ūüôā

IMG_0195

IMG_0527

IMG_0197

Even Roxie was amazed. ūüôā

IMG_0190

Customizing a door for the bath

IMG_0464

While the DIY momentum continued, we installed a bathroom door. Our bathroom has two door opening, one being a pocket door to our bedroom, and one to the media room. These bathroom doors brought bigger challenges. Both of the openings are only 77″ tall, which requires customization. The task is so intimidating that we had been procrastinating as long as we could.

IMG_0470

Until I found this door from a local resale store – it is 76 1/2″ tall, so it fits perfectly under the short doorway. It also sports a big panel of glass which lets in the morning sun from the bathroom into the media room. This door is made with real wood and very steady.

IMG_0466

As you can see, the top of the door opening is already at the height of the ceiling. The space is tight! The doorway was actually a few more inches too wide for the door, so we started by adding a 2″ x 4″ on one side of the doorway framing:

IMG_0475

We decided to narrow the doorway from the toilet side, so we would see less of the toilet from the media room.

IMG_0476

To further narrow the doorway we installed another piece of 1″ board on top of the 2″ x 4″. Then we proceeded to making new door jambs for the glass panel door:

IMG_0473

Besides getting the height right (you want to leave 1/8″ gap on all sides between the door and the jamb), it is important to get the hinges installed at the right spot. Slav used a router to carve into the jamb so hinges could sit flush with the wood.

IMG_0479

IMG_0493

We also cut a notch at the bottom of the door jamb to accommodate the height of the tile.

IMG_0484

With all the pieces cut to size, we assembled the door jambs on the floor, then attached the whole assembly and the door to the opening:

IMG_0491

IMG_0501

IMG_0485

The last step was to add door stops at the proper location. Then…Ta-dah!

IMG_0505

We used matching hardware as those on the pre-hung doors. A narrow strip of drywall will be added to cover the 2″ x 4″ and the¬† 1″ board, then the gap between the new drywall and the door jamb will be covered by trim.

IMG_0511

This is the view from the media room looking into the bath. We may obscure the glass in the future somehow. But for now, we are just happy to finally have a door on the bathroom!

IMG_0508

And finally be able to keep the dogs out of the bedroom – or in.

IMG_0516

Getting one of the bathroom door installed really lifted a lot of weight off our shoulders. I do not know if you are the same, but when I face too grand of a to-do list, I have a hard time taking the first step. Now with only one pocket door to install, it started feeling fun again.

On a separate note – I knew what I’ve been posting lots of in-progress photos. Any successful blogger will wait until they can get the perfect “after” shots, which means¬† after the drywall and finished trims are all in. But this pretty “after” may take weeks to come in our hands. I figured it is better to update you what we’ve been up to now. Gotta keep it real! After all, this blog is more of a diary of this house to me, even during the slow days. More and more so, I found myself relying on the in-progress pictures I posted before to remember how we did certain steps, or what product we used. In a way, the blog will remember for us what went behind the walls, and the sweat and tears we shed along the way. So, no shame on posting in-progress photos for me!

Now most of the doors are in, we can finally consider door trims. (Pocket doors are trimmed differently so we are not gonna worry about it now.) All of our basement doors are located really close to a neighboring wall, which means we can only install the most narrow trims. Narrow trims = ugly looking. So I would have to figure out something creative. Another thing I would like to do is refinishing the glass panel door with stains matching the color of other basement doors. The color of the prehung doors is labeled as “Espresso”, but it reads lighter and reddish compared to most of the Espresso stains you can find on the market. So there will be some mixing and trials to get the color right.

Here you have it, our slow, but steady progress in the basement. I will work on the stains and trims next. What are you up to?

Page 2 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén