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Old 05-20-2009, 05:48 PM   #1
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Rehanging an exterior basement door


Hello all,

This is my first post on the forum - I've found some great information already.

My spouse and I just bought a 60 year old house with a basement door that needs some lovin'. I examined it last night and have read all about framing doors to hanging slab doors to door jambs to door casing. However, I'm a bit stuck when it comes to how to protect the door from the basement wall/foundation. Pls see the attached diagram.

My situation is almost like the one posted here:
Framing a Doorway in the Basement

However, the framing around the door doesn't go all the way to the floor. The concrete wall is about 2 1/2 - 3' high, then there is a king stud and a cripple stud on both sides of the door. There is no stud along the top. There is no seal on the bottom (just door on concrete).

The door jamb isn't level (but the door is square) and the door is as old as the house and some fly fisherman used to staple his flies to the door...

We need to level out the jamb. We need to take down the door and either sand it down or replace it with another. However, there's a window in the door which is level with "the world" but is not level with the door. If we level the jamb, the door will be level, but the window will be crooked.

Our door opening is only about 75" from header to concrete. I get that I can order a door or buy one and cut it down, or fix up the one I have by taking out the window, leveling the opening, putting in another window, putting the door back in.

The basement is unfinished with the north side having 8' high concrete walls and the south side having 3' high concrete walls. We eventually will finish it with drywall, which I assume means we need to frame the interior (since we can't hang drywall on concrete...)

My question, which I can't figure out anywhere: I shouldn't put wood against concrete, what do I do to keep the wood from rotting against the concrete walls? (I have figured out the floor, but not the walls.)

I guess if I eventually plan to frame the whole basement, I can put the door into the new framing, which would take care of the wood on concrete problem...

I hope I'm not asking too much... If you want to answer with links instead of explanation, that'd be fine!

Thanks for your time.

Theresa
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Old 05-20-2009, 06:37 PM   #2
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Rehanging an exterior basement door


Without seeing the door, I'll venture an opinion.
You don't say either the door or the frame is rotted, just that the frame is,"unlevel".
What exactly do you want to do?
If you want to get another prehung door, order one. To protect the frame from the concrete, wrap ice and water shield around the concrete. Or you could simply put felt paper behind the jambs.
After you write a post, read it and try to stay on point. Brevity is king.
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Old 05-21-2009, 07:09 AM   #3
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Rehanging an exterior basement door


First, I agree with Ron. You've put a lot more in there than you need. I've replaced jambs in this condition. I used treated lumber to build the jamb and secured it well to the concrete to prevent it from wandering or warping. Since the door is not in direct contact with the concrete, it will be OK.
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Old 05-21-2009, 09:44 AM   #4
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Rehanging an exterior basement door


Thanks for the responses. The situation is a bit tricky and I wasn't sure how to address all the problems. For a living, I am a writer, but I just didn't feel the need to be brief. Next time, I will be because I understand not wasting other peoples' time... Sorry about that.
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Old 05-21-2009, 10:29 AM   #5
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Rehanging an exterior basement door


Quote:
Originally Posted by tputkey View Post
Thanks for the responses. The situation is a bit tricky and I wasn't sure how to address all the problems. For a living, I am a writer, but I just didn't feel the need to be brief. Next time, I will be because I understand not wasting other peoples' time... Sorry about that.
Brevity is usually best. Remember the writer's exercise of going back and breaking a few run-on sentences into several shorter, more concise ones?

Like this:

Here is an excellent writer's trick. It makes reading easier. More inviting. You try to shorten all run-ons. Your readers appreciate this, and they absorb more.

It also works in project reporting here. You did fantastic in breaking your situation into short paragraphs. Really one of my favorites. But something else also appeals to the mechanical minded person.

That is "sectioning" and "bulleting". We like categories, slots, groups, and boxes. Boxes are cool. We find all we need of one thing in each different box. Helps keep our vision focused.

Not that I always do this. Frankly, I'm sure I have a reputation here for needless verbosity. You know what they say:

"Them what can't, teach."
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Old 05-21-2009, 10:53 AM   #6
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Rehanging an exterior basement door


CLICK HERE for one of our DIY articles on installing furring strips. Furring strips are (in this case) "Pressure Treated" wood strips that you nail to the concrete wall. You can then nail the drywall to these strips. There's insulation and vapor retardant material that also gets installed. But that's another story.

Concrete of any kind tends to absorb moisture from the air. Wood too, but not as much. Sandwiched together, they cause us trouble because that moisture tends to actually collect between the two surfaces. It's a warm/cool thing... physics, I guess. Doesn't matter. Bottom line is, untreated wood on concrete always gets water behind it. Water causes mold to grow on the wood. Mold is the "rot" we see and smell, and it eats cellulose (wood fibers). Before long, the wood you nailed on the walls to support the drywall (if untreated) would rot out... be "eaten' away. This is not good because you'd then lose the needed support for your Drywall.

We use "pressure treated" wood on concrete walls because it is mold resistant. Mold doesn't like the taste of salines and certain chemicals that simulate them. That's why piers in salt water don't rot. "Pressure Treated" wood is saturated (under high pressure) with these kinds of chemicals. And it lasts for decades.
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Last edited by Willie T; 05-21-2009 at 01:39 PM.
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Old 05-21-2009, 12:22 PM   #7
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Rehanging an exterior basement door


For the furring strips, this answers several of my questions. Thanks Willie. When the basement wall is part framed and part concrete, I assume the furring strip needs to span the concrete foundation and frame to provide an even surface for mounting the drywall.

Cheers,
Theresa
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Old 05-21-2009, 01:34 PM   #8
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Rehanging an exterior basement door


Quote:
Originally Posted by tputkey View Post
For the furring strips, this answers several of my questions. Thanks Willie. When the basement wall is part framed and part concrete, I assume the furring strip needs to span the concrete foundation and frame to provide an even surface for mounting the drywall.

Cheers,
Theresa
Yeah, but you could get by by just using any old scrap wood on the framing part as long as it was the right thickness to give you a level plane across the transition. Your drywall surface will only be as flat and level as the foundational structure beneath it.
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Old 05-21-2009, 02:03 PM   #9
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Rehanging an exterior basement door


T,
Have you formulated a plan of attack for the door and frame? I was going to write a little something, but I think the guys more expert than I might be have pretty well covered all the bases.
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Old 05-21-2009, 03:19 PM   #10
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Rehanging an exterior basement door


We've been watching Disaster DIY so we'll write down a plan before we do anything to the door. Our immediate plan: change the lock. As I dig into things more, I realize that there are dependancies. If we fix the door frame now, but then drywall the basement with firring strips, this may change the door entrance and we'll have to address the door again. Not ideal!

Cheers,
Theresa

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