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Old 08-06-2011, 04:46 PM   #1
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Installing French Doors in Existing Exterior Wall


Hello All,

I am considering installing some french doors in the exterior wall of our recreational room and had a few general questions and looking for any tips/tricks others who have done/gone through this might know.

House:
Age: 1913
Exterior: Wood siding
Interior: Drywall (no more lathe and plaster)
Obstructions: none, no wall plumbing, possibly an electrical wire or two, nothing substantial
Location: Washington State (western)


If we procured the french doors, what do you suppose the costs of everything up to having a new header installed, door framed and installed would cost? Would there be any reason for me to assume this work couldn't be accomplished in a day or two max? How much could I save if I demolished everything myself (siding and drywall, leaving the studs in place)?

Any tips to remember with a project like this?

Thanks everyone!

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Old 08-06-2011, 04:55 PM   #2
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Installing French Doors in Existing Exterior Wall


I don't think you would save much by doing the demo. It needs to be done carefully to avoid making additional work. You could probably do the painting and finish carpentry to save a few dollars. Depending on the difficulty of rerouting the wires, this probably would be just a couple day job. Cost will vary based on material types, location, and other factors.

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Old 08-06-2011, 05:17 PM   #3
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Installing French Doors in Existing Exterior Wall


Don’t forget he cost of the drawings and permit that you'll need in Western Washington.
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Old 08-06-2011, 05:17 PM   #4
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Installing French Doors in Existing Exterior Wall


Interesting, I suppose it makes sense since a hammer and sawzal would complete the demolition in probably just 30 minutes or so.

As for cost I know there are multiple variables but would anyone have an estimate as to roughly how much they would assume would be charged in labor? For demolition of the wood siding and drywall interior, installation of a header for the French doors and then framing and installation of the French doors?

I can install trim, repair drywall and paint as necessary, just don't trust myself to install a header on a load-bearing wall and while I'm at it would rather pay a professional to frame out and install to door to save myself time and headache.
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Old 08-06-2011, 05:23 PM   #5
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Installing French Doors in Existing Exterior Wall


If you think that the demo for that takes 30 minutes, then you should be able to complete the job in half a day. Proper demolition takes time, and the payoff comes during the rest of the job. Demo for this involves, floor and furniture protection, dust protection, removal of siding, trim, drywall, framing, insulation, moving wires, removal of debris, and many other items.
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Old 08-06-2011, 05:23 PM   #6
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Installing French Doors in Existing Exterior Wall


The framing of the bearing header and opening is probably the easiest part of the whole job.
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Old 08-07-2011, 03:39 PM   #7
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Installing French Doors in Existing Exterior Wall


If you want relevant estimates, call in local contractors and have them look at the job.
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Old 08-07-2011, 05:17 PM   #8
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Installing French Doors in Existing Exterior Wall


I definitely agree with the comment that if you want estimates, get some bids. I am in the process of installing an exterior French interior swinging door from Marvin in my house. This is part of my deck project, hence is permitted under the deck permit, no additional cost there.

Right now I have demolished the interior plaster, installed the support studs for the header, installed a steel header above the opening (rough opening is approximately 74 inches, header is 80 inches), relocated wires as necessary. I am absolutely not a pro at any of this, however I am a structural engineer, so I saved some money by designing my owner header. This is the time so far:

1. Plaster demolition and haul off, along with a few studs: 2 hours
2. Installation of stud supports (one king, two jack studs per side) 2 hours
3. Installation of header, including insulation, drilling, caulking, 2 hours

I anticipate it is going to take me 3 more hours to complete demolition of the walls, cut the bottom plate flush with the floor, fill holes in the floor with epoxy to create a flat, level support for the door. Install of the door, including door installation and flashing, probably 4 hours. Paint interior of door, install interior and exterior trim, 4 hours.

Total time, 17 hours. At $75 per hour (what you might pay an experienced carpenter), cost would be about $1400. Of course, an experienced carpenter would get the job done in probably 6 hours, but I am guessing they would still charge $1000, and well worth it by the way, if they do a quality job. That does not include the header, I used steel because of limited headroom, cost me $180 for the header, and of course I had to pick it up.

As to saving money by doing some of the work, well my mechanic has a sign in his shop that says it all.

If I do it, $500
If you help, $750
If you do it and I fix it, $1000
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Old 08-07-2011, 08:53 PM   #9
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Installing French Doors in Existing Exterior Wall


Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
I definitely agree with the comment that if you want estimates, get some bids. I am in the process of installing an exterior French interior swinging door from Marvin in my house. This is part of my deck project, hence is permitted under the deck permit, no additional cost there.

Right now I have demolished the interior plaster, installed the support studs for the header, installed a steel header above the opening (rough opening is approximately 74 inches, header is 80 inches), relocated wires as necessary. I am absolutely not a pro at any of this, however I am a structural engineer, so I saved some money by designing my owner header. This is the time so far:

1. Plaster demolition and haul off, along with a few studs: 2 hours
2. Installation of stud supports (one king, two jack studs per side) 2 hours
3. Installation of header, including insulation, drilling, caulking, 2 hours

I anticipate it is going to take me 3 more hours to complete demolition of the walls, cut the bottom plate flush with the floor, fill holes in the floor with epoxy to create a flat, level support for the door. Install of the door, including door installation and flashing, probably 4 hours. Paint interior of door, install interior and exterior trim, 4 hours.

Total time, 17 hours. At $75 per hour (what you might pay an experienced carpenter), cost would be about $1400. Of course, an experienced carpenter would get the job done in probably 6 hours, but I am guessing they would still charge $1000, and well worth it by the way, if they do a quality job. That does not include the header, I used steel because of limited headroom, cost me $180 for the header, and of course I had to pick it up.

As to saving money by doing some of the work, well my mechanic has a sign in his shop that says it all.

If I do it, $500
If you help, $750
If you do it and I fix it, $1000
The flashing, is that a pan that goes under the door to keep water out? If not it needs to be if water can get to that wall.
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Old 08-07-2011, 09:26 PM   #10
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Installing French Doors in Existing Exterior Wall


Marvin doors come with an integral sill that is self flashing, although there is an option to purchase a pan to go under the sill. I understand the sill as furnished works fine. The flashing I was referring to was the flashing along the side and top jambs.
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Old 08-07-2011, 11:33 PM   #11
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Installing French Doors in Existing Exterior Wall


Jim, Marvin only uses a few beads of caulking under their door sills, and doesn't cross string the opening first, or dam the ends of the head flashing to direct the water away from the jambs, or leave the building paper loose over the head flashing to drain freely, they tape it as per Tyvek directions...... http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=...ONbKJ4SmBD9pew

OP, here in WA State------ I don’t know which County you are under in WA, all require a permit for any structural changes. Adding a header to a back wall that rafters/trusses/additional floor sits on, a gable end wall with a non-stressed gable truss or stick framing above.

“13. Minor construction and alteration activities to Group R, Division 3 and Group U,
Private Garage, as classified by the Building Official, PROVIDED:
a. That the construction and/or alteration activity does not affect any structural components, or
reduce existing egress, light, air, energy and ventilation conditions”
http://www.co.pierce.wa.us/xml/servi...bulletin10.pdf

You may also be required to add some flat straps on the header/wall or plywood shear walls on either side of the new opening as we live in a seismic zone.


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Old 08-08-2011, 01:32 AM   #12
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Installing French Doors in Existing Exterior Wall


Quote:
Originally Posted by GBR in WA View Post
Jim, Marvin only uses a few beads of caulking under their door sills, and doesn't cross string the opening first, or dam the ends of the head flashing to direct the water away from the jambs, or leave the building paper loose over the head flashing to drain freely, they tape it as per Tyvek directions...... http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=...ONbKJ4SmBD9pew

OP, here in WA State------ I don’t know which County you are under in WA, all require a permit for any structural changes. Adding a header to a back wall that rafters/trusses/additional floor sits on, a gable end wall with a non-stressed gable truss or stick framing above.

“13. Minor construction and alteration activities to Group R, Division 3 and Group U,
Private Garage, as classified by the Building Official, PROVIDED:
a. That the construction and/or alteration activity does not affect any structural components, or
reduce existing egress, light, air, energy and ventilation conditions”
http://www.co.pierce.wa.us/xml/servi...bulletin10.pdf

You may also be required to add some flat straps on the header/wall or plywood shear walls on either side of the new opening as we live in a seismic zone.


Gary
Thanks Gary, you have to watch me like a hawk, I am still back in the old days with a lot of things. New things all the time, I appreciate you.

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