Trim (brick mold?) around front door

laevuslevusAugust 14, 2007

Hello all - this is my first attempt at posting and I hope you can bear with me if I fail in every way! (Here's hoping its a success...)

Our front screen door decided to blow up from the inside, and has disintegrated to the point where my husband and I broke down and purchased a new one and will have it installed sometime next week. Because the door will look so much better, we thought while we were at it we would also replace all of the trim around the edge of the door. Unfortunately the trim installed before it was not of the highest quality nor was the installation all that great (lots of gaps and poor seals with the caulking). We are hoping to upgrade this a little into a very simple surround.

We don't need a lot of detail, so we thought we might get some plain cedar planks (1x8 would fill the entire space from siding to edge of door) and run them from the bottom up to the top of the door, and then put another cedar plank across the top. We would probably need to also replaced the board at the very top because it is pretty bad also. Would this look too weird? Or should we go with something that is more decorative? My fear here is the seams and all the rotting like we have right now.

Another worry for me - is this more difficult than it sounds? How hard will it be to take out the top board and replace (that's my biggest concern). This is what has me hesitating to try this. I feel pretty good about the other pieces - I know I need to paint them and caulk them to prevent more water damage, but does this sound like a good idea or a terribly bad idea?

Here are a couple of pics of the current trim and of the top board (this is my first time trying to attach photos so I hope this works).

~My husband and I are pretty much clueless when it comes to home repair, so any help and advice would be much appreciated~

Thanks!

laevuslevus

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homebound

No offense intended, but if you're "pretty clueless" then you would be advised not to do it yourself.

Replace all that with cedar planks? Yes, it would probably look weird.

I would suggest getting a good painter, and caulk/seal (or have him/her caulk) the sources of the moisture above and around. The rotted parts don't look that bad, so take care of the water and then caulk it up to look nice again. Then paint.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2007 at 9:16PM
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laevuslevus

Thanks, homebound, for the quick response.

I suppose I should rephrase the "pretty clueless" to make it better understood. I know how to do a lot of things around the house - have painted and caulked many times before. Have laid tile a couple of times in small bathrooms. I have cut trim to make shelves and small items. I have changed out lighting fixtures and other odds and ends, but those seem very simple.

However, I've not taken on projects such as these that would be outside in the elements. I have confidence that I could replace these columns with new materials, until the idea that something might be behind the molding that I don't know how to handle, and I don't know how that top "header" piece would come out. Also, I don't know that I really like the look of all that detail that's on there right now, in addition to the problems that come with all of the pieces patched together.

I found some pieces of molding online (the long pieces added together are sold as full pilasters preformed out of polyurethane on some websites, so I wouldn't have to patch it together) but I wasn't planning on spending that much for them. I thought the cedar planks might be a much cheaper option. A handyman quoted us a price of around $400 to replace the pieces, but that seemed high also!

I guess I can go back to the drawing board and come up with a better solution. I don't think leaving some of the pieces is going to work because 1) The piece right above the door will probably be destroyed when the storm door is replaced because it is sitting on top of the screws, and 2) Some of the wood is soft to the touch and is especially bad in the top "header" board. That is the main reason to replace (along with the fact that it looks really bad).

Thanks again, and if you have any other ideas I'd love to hear 'em.

-ll

    Bookmark   August 14, 2007 at 11:38PM
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randy427

I would start by removing the deteriorated portions of the wood trim, carving down until the loose, crumbly part was gone.
You should be able to find replacement pieces of your trim at a good lumber yard (not Lowes, HD, etal) if you need to replace whole sections.
To spot repair what you have, there are two-part kits (a powder and a liquid) which, when mixed to a putty-like consistancy, can be spatulaed (?) into place, allowed to dry and sanded/chiseled to the final contour. Caulk to prevent future water rot situations, then prime and paint.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2007 at 1:45PM
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laevuslevus

Thanks for the info, Randy. Definitely sounds like a solution I will check out - I think that I could handle something like that (and if not, at least it will be a good learning experience)!

A quick question - would you remove that top piece and replace entirely or just the soft parts? I didn't know if it would slide out when pried (?) off or if it would take a massive prying effort of GIGANTIC PROPORTIONS.

Thanks again. Really appreciate the feedback.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2007 at 10:34PM
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green-zeus

Look into Fypon. It is a high density polymer and comes in the decorative millwork that is on your current doorway. The best thing about this stuff is it will never rot. They carry several different pediments and have one that is exactly like yours. it's called Eagle Dentil Crosshead Entrance. Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2007 at 11:37AM
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laevuslevus

Thanks for the Fypon recommendations. I checked out their website and they are carried by Menards, a home supply store in my area. I think I might check them out - my husband seemed to like the idea of no wood and the simplicity of installing.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2007 at 4:49PM
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green-zeus

You're welcome. Let us know how it turns out.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2007 at 11:04AM
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bill_g_web

A photo of the whole front of the house would help forum readers get a feel for an appropriate trim style. What you've got there now seems a bit overdone but I can't tell without seeing more of the facade. A simpler style might work.

Bill

    Bookmark   August 17, 2007 at 7:57PM
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laevuslevus

Here's a pic of the entire front of the house. We now have a new screen door, also, so I've taken a close-up of it.

Hope this helps

    Bookmark   August 21, 2007 at 8:11PM
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homebound

Very interesting. You're house looks very much like the cape cod's in our neighborhood. (Arlington, VA)

    Bookmark   August 21, 2007 at 8:59PM
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