Dealing with Rotting Door Jamb

I currently have a problem where my pine door jamb has started to rot through. I've had several contractors quote a replacement of around $950 for time and materials, but wanted to know if replacing an exterior door was a thing I could do myself.

The door I would buy is pre-hung, and is most likely a standard size. I am afraid that if I did it, it wouldn't come out well. On the other hand, I am thinking that the door (if standard size) and fits a standard opening, then it should be "easy".

Does anyone have experience with this type of problem?
 

Jim Harrison

Jim
Senior User
Doors can be a bit of a pain to get set in the rough opening, not impossible, more big and heavy. The last exterior door I hung was about 350 so keep the material cost of your door in mind. Difficult part is getting everything lined up where it seals well, helps using screws so that you can make adjustments
 

marinosr

Richard
Senior User
Just did this to my back door. The door itself was $300, and then the lockset, paint, brushes, caulk, backing rod, spray foam insulation, shims, drip edge, screws, and pressure treated lumber for a new sill were $150 on top of that. If you don't have a 6 foot level you'll need that too. It's not very difficult but like Jim said it was heavy, and took me a FULL day, probably 10h, from old door to painted new door. I would probably just pay somebody next time; with two young kids at home my free time is too valuable.
 
The material cost of the door with no-rot jambs is around $600 (15 lite door with low-e glass), and it is made of fiber glass. That leaves about $350 for labor, which may or may not be worth it?
 

junquecol

Bruce
User
To make a six foot level, zip tie a level to a piece of 3/4 plywood about three inches wide. Cut a couple notches where zip ties go over edge of plywood. HD used to sell (I haven't bought any lately) composite door jamb stock by the piece. If old door is reusable, this might be the route to take
 
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Brian Patterson

Bstrom
User
I installed a Pella prehung door last month In a room addition - it was a fancy one - fiberglass door with a half window with interior blinds. Cost $350 at Lowe’s. Install was easy since I framed the new opening myself and was sure to plumb the rough opening. Unloaded the door myself and ’walked’ it into place. Used Pella sill tape, a good sealant and followed the install directions, constantly checking for level, etc. Takes an hour or so after prep is done.

The hard part of a replacement door is the deconstruct of the opening but once that’s done - making or confirming you have a plumb rough opening - is your guarantee of an easy install. Read up on YT for orientation. It’s not a tough job. I’m not a carpenter, am 68 years old and did virtually all the 3 years of remodeling my house work myself, of which doors are among the easiest tasks.

Consider it an addition of a skill set for other home maintenance needs...
 

junquecol

Bruce
User
Saw this tip in FHB many years ago. Figure about how much you need to shim jamb out to get it in center of opening. On hinge side of opening, using level, install shims at hinge locations. Fasten in place. Slide door frame in and screw hinges to shims. On exterior doors, I find it easier to install with brick molding removed.
 

Dee2

Gene
Corporate Member
Contractor was here yesterday to look at two of my doors. Lower jambs, threshold and bottom of both doors are gone. These are steel wrapped doors. Waiting on contractors estimate.
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
I've replaced two exterior doors and changed a window into a double french door so far on this house. The back door my ex was the helper and it doesn't close well. We had a lot of trouble with the rough opening and I partially blame my "helper" for the less than great job. My son helped me with the side door and it works great. I think the rough opening was a bit better but a good helper definitely helps. I had a contractor help with the double french door and it works well. I think I could do a single door by myself but I did not. They are fairly heavy and another set of eyes helps - at least when they at least kind of know what they are looking at. The two exterior doors are fairly inexpensive steel doors with large windows taking up most of the area. That probably added to the weight.

I agree with the comment that the rough opening is the big deal. If it isn't right, we struggled with the door. With a decent rough opening, it goes a LOT better. If the sill is rotted, the framing under it may be too. That kind of thing is a mess when you already have the old door out and a big hole in the house leaking the conditioned air. If you can wait until the weather cools (but not too much) it could reduce the anxiety if there are issues. Having some extra material around so you can solve issues without a run to the home center helps too.
 

chris_goris

Chris
Senior User
The jambs on this kit are wood, its the base thats pvc. The door mentioned as well has wooden jambs (probably finger jointed pine) I just rehung 2 60" wide swinging patio doors on cypress frames I rebuilt myself. I also replaced the crappy pine brick mould with cypress as well. The doors are fiberglas like the ones pictured but were only in the house 13 years. the jambs and door bottoms were all rotted. I was able to fix both, remove and rehang them both in about 8 hours total, including making jambs and brick mould.
 
I was reading the door description and it said: " Frame is 100% composite poly-fiber material that will never warp, splinter or rot ". So, that would at least lead me to think it has the no-rot jambs. Is it misleading?

The jamb pieces I linked above the door do have a base that is PVC and the rest is wood, so you are correct. The base is the part that is most prone to rot though isn't it (at least on my door it is).
 

chris_goris

Chris
Senior User
I was reading the door description and it said: " Frame is 100% composite poly-fiber material that will never warp, splinter or rot ". So, that would at least lead me to think it has the no-rot jambs. Is it misleading?

The jamb pieces I linked above the door do have a base that is PVC and the rest is wood, so you are correct. The base is the part that is most prone to rot though isn't it (at least on my door it is).
youre right! I missed that part at the bottom.. my bad. Im wondering how well a composite frame will hold up structurally...
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
I've had finger jointed jambs rot too. It depends on exactly what the wood is and how protected it is. My doors on this house are protected from direct rain contact but on my last house, the front and a back french door both had rotted jambs when I sold the house. I hired the same builder that built the house to "fix" them. He used a epoxy patch kit he said they sell at home centers.

Cyprus seems like a good choice but southern yellow pine should be fine too with a good coat of paint. It is not the pine in the finger jointed jambs that rots.
 

Sourwould

Taylor
User
That finger jointed stuff is awful. Bows and swells in ten different directions too. Old pine lasts well for untreated, non petroleum material. Not at soft as cypress or cedar. White oak makes a good threshold. The pine jambs at my place are 100 years old.
 

Brian Patterson

Bstrom
User
My last two cents is this - putting in a door is a half day job for a tradesman. A $350 install price is robbery - the job is worth no more than half that if you’ve bought the door. Still a good incentive to learn to do this job yourself.
 

FredP

Fred
Corporate Member
My last two cents is this - putting in a door is a half day job for a tradesman. A $350 install price is robbery - the job is worth no more than half that if you’ve bought the door. Still a good incentive to learn to do this job yourself.
Actually the labor price is fair for a quality independent contractor. Also we don't know how extensive the damage is, what is on the exterior of the house, or how much trim work will need to be done inside the house to complete the job. Now factor in the cost of doing business. Workers comp, general liability insurance, vehicle expenses. ect. ect. ect. Sure you could hire someone off the street for cheap and take your chances. My 40+ years in the business says pay the man because it's going to cost you a lot more for me to come fix it after someone else screws it up.
 

ScottM

Scott
Staff member
Corporate Member
I do not know your skill level but having done many home repair projects myself I can truly tell you that the only true 5 minute job is writing a check to have someone else do the work. What ever amount of time you think it will take you add 20%.
 

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