DIY Door Repair


August 12, 2013 by phicks2012

I own some rental units, and made the mistake of hiring a property manager who was somewhat less than, shall we say “ideal”. He was supposed to be checking out prospective tenants before moving them in, and requiring them to pay a security deposit (and pet deposits), and making sure that they actually paid rent and took care of pest control, and arranging for maintenance. None of those things were being done reliably, and when I could contact him at all he always had excuses. Okay, so I finally fired him, and only then found out the REALLY BAD NEWS.

He’d basically been renting the units to anything with a pulse, clearly not doing background checks, not asking for security deposits (at least one that I ever saw), not collecting rent regularly (at least to be passed along), and doing maintenance (if any) himself (and badly) while telling me he was having it professionally done and charging me accordingly. NOT GOOD! So I’ve spent the past seven months with the help of my new property manager Pat and my housemate Jason evicting non-paying, destructive occupants the former Property Manager moved in, cleaning and fixing up the units, replacing appliances, and cursing A WHOLE LOT!

Well, on July 19th we finally were to have finished making the last unit presentable, and one of the final jobs was repairing a back door with a busted deadbolt, a damaged jamb, and a plastic insert around the glass that was half broken out (see pictures). The deadbolt was easy, The door jamb was fairly simple too, but the window in the door was a challenge. A new door would have cost me well over $100. A new insert would have cost over $80, and would have been a custom order. So I decided to make fixing the door a DIY project despite that fact that not a lot of people thought it was do-able.

The double-paned tempered glass was intact, so I removed the insert holding the glass, bought some 2x2s, stained them to match the woodwork. cut them to length and routed them out with the invaluable help of a friend to fit over the edges of the glass, and used them to re-frame the window. The new frame, I’m delighted to announce, fit perfectly into the opening on the door, and (thanks to Liquid Nails) was not going to be going anywhere for the foreseeable future. We finished it off with trim, repainted the inside of the door, and Voila!! It wasn’t perfection, but I managed this all for around $10, not counting the deadbolt I had to replace, so I was absolutely delighted — until my helper absolutely insisted upon driving in one last finishing nail, and shattered the inner pane of glass. Can you say MELTDOWN!??

A glass company wanted around $280 to replace the glass and insert, or said they’d sell me the glass only for $65 if I drove to Tucker, GA to pick it up. In desperation I did the “Gas Math”, and I cheated. I got a pane of plexiglass cut to size locally for $20.00, removed the single broken glass pane, replaced it with the plexiglass, and put everything back together again. It needed to be trimmed again, but this time I bloody well insisted that Jason use wide trim and attach it to the door itself rather than to the new wooden glass frame so that he wouldn’t risk breaking the remaining layer of actual tempered glass. We’ll see how it holds up. It might be a jury-rigged job, but unless you check it out you’d never know!

See below for the photos, and thanks to William for making his router available, and to Jason for handling the installation!!!


1-1046 Door Before 2-1046 Door Painted - No Glass 3-1046 Door Glass Framed & Replaced 4-1046 Door Repaired Interior 5-1046 Door Repaired Exterior

2 thoughts on “DIY Door Repair

  1. woodrow says:

    looks good!

  2. That is a very large area for glass in an external door, I think you just upped your security level by installing that plexiglass. Way to go, DIY Girl!

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August 2013


I am an active, outgoing person interested in all sorts of things and all sorts of people! I'm constantly discovering new interests, and expect that to continue right into the grave!

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