Friday, August 19, 2011

The Header!

Yesterday afternoon I got to work on my master bedroom door frame and trim project.  I puttered around for hours working at my own putzy pace... and had fun.  My personal victory for the day?  I got the header in!

I know -- it doesn't look like much, does it?  But it's in, it's solid and hey-hey, its level.  Three lovely characteristics we like to see in a header.  You may recall that when I took the door frame off it was revealed that there wasn't a header there at all.  The space was open for a few feet, right up to the attic!  Yeah, um...

My challenges with installing it?

1)  On one end, there wasn't anything to affix it to.  There was one vertical 2"x4" at one end of the door opening, so I installed one at the opposite end.  The vertical ends of those are what the horizontal ends of the header could but affixed to -- the header being under the vertical ends.  (Those red bars represent the vertical 2"x4"s.)

2)  I installed the second support the same length as the existing one so they would match.  Problem with that was, they weren't long enough to have the header extend past the jagged edge of the door opening above the door.  Yes, theoretically I could have cut that off evenly... but I'm not that comfortable with the saw that I have for that type of cutting, and I was worried that the stress of the saw blade on the wood might do more damage than good.  Maybe I should have tried it.  Maybe I'll try it on the next door... if I get comfortable with it I could also use it on the sides of the door...

2)  To remedy that I added some wood pieces to the ends of the 2"x4"s to drop the header a couple of inches lower. 

3)  Then I realized the wall opening (the thickness of the wall) wasn't wide enough to accept a full 2"x4" so I had to rip the 2"x4" to be  a 2"x3". 

4)  Even with that it still wouldn't fit up into the wall because obstructing the opening were old nails sticking inside the wall from the sheetrock!  Ugh!  To remedy that I had to cut away some of the sheetrock above the door inside the room, and then backed the nails out.  Finally the header would slide into place!

5)  I really needed another set of hands at this point -- I needed just a hair of a shim on the header ends, and I was drilling in the screws over my head -- never fun -- but I managed to get it in. 

Through all of this my dog was in a corner of the house as far away from me as she could get... she doesn't like the noise.  And since it was oh, 110 here yesterday it's not as though she could hang around outdoors for very long...

So -- header?  Check.  Next I needed to build out the door frame so that I would have enough width on the outside of the bedroom door (the hallway side of the door) to install trim.  The way it currently is, the space along side the door frame is wide enough for trim that is about 1/2 wide.  The reasons that the old frame was built out in such a crazy fashion is becoming clear to me...

See how there is no room for trim?

Here's what it used to look like:

My plan is to put in some spacer blocks to which I'll attach a 2"x6" and then that is what I'll attach my final door trim lumber to.  Here I have the blocks in place:
I could have used a solid piece of lumber floor to ceiling there, instead of blocks, but it isn't going to show so I figured I'd save myself some lumber.  (I have to do both sides.) 

Complicating matters (if you are even still reading I give you major snaps --) is the right hand side shown in this photo -- is immediately adjacent to the hall closet door/door frame.  To build that side out far enough to have room for a full piece of trim would make my previously much oversized door opening smaller than a standard 32" door.  Here's a view of that corner with the bedroom door trim removed:

Cozy, isn't it?  Before I build out this side of the door opening, I will need to decide if I would rather have a smaller opening (smaller than the opening for a standard 32" door) with full width trim, or a larger opening with narrower trim. 

I'm not sure that accomodating a standard door size is a priority.  My current plan of a sliding barn door gives me a lot of flexibility, as does my Plan B of building my own doors -- in which case I can make them any size I want.  Now if I am considering another owner down the road who may want to replace the door, then I probably want the door frame to accomodate a standard sized door....

Do you see now how this has been a slow project? Each little piece of it is met with an issue to resolve, it seems.  Thankfully I don't have a deadline -- no big parties at my house on the horizon, no house guests scheduled until late October... so I am free to mess around with it and problem solve at my own pace.  As long as I can tolerate living in a construction zone, that is...  And won't it be grand when it's done and I have that great sence of accomplishment?  I'll know exactly what is inside the walls (there's a novel concept) and be pleased to know that it was done right.

Next up? 

I need to go buy a couple 2"x6"s... and frame out the door opening. 

Then I'll patch the sheetrock around the door opening, and texture/paint. 

While that is drying I'll stain my lumber for the door frame and trim, and then install.

Meanwhile I need to choose barn door hardware and make sure there isn't anything crazy involved in that installation!

Wanna place a bet on how many additional steps will be added into that list before it's all done?  Stay tuned.

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