Return to the Remodeling Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Door frame lower than window frames What would you do (xposted)

Posted by library_girl (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 17, 12 at 15:24

Cross posted in Home Decorating:
We've added a new sun room to our house - It's a year around room, mostly windows, that will be used for music (piano playing), reading and my DD will have her PC and drawing supplies there. As they were trimming the windows and door, they asked me what I wanted to do with the door frame, as it's lower than the window frames. This pic shows the problem with a mocked up frame on the door:
From Remodeling Project

They proposed a few options:
1. Not worry about it
2. Raise the door frame up even with window frames and make some sort of simple, decorative molding to go on a board between the frame and top of door

They don't have room to make the molding larger around the entire door because of the light switch between the door and window.

Since the architects were there, I asked why this even occurred, since obviously this couldn't have been the first time they they ran into doors and windows in the same room. They were very general with their answers. First they said something about sometimes you have to match other windows in the room - But this wasn't the case here, as it was a completely new room. Then they said sometimes you have to match other windows on the house - Again, not the case here, as this room was intentionally made to look like it was an addition to the house, not part of the original. Then they said sometimes when you line windows and doors up on the outside, they don't line up on the inside. OK, that made sense....Till a week later when I was looking at the outside and noticed that the door is about an inch lower on the outside too...
I did a little more checking...We put in a new back foyer, and thus a new door and window there. They line up on the inside:

From Remodeling Project

So I looked at the construction drawings. They say "Align WDW WDW Heads w/ Door HD.
From

Which is pretty much the same thing it says on the construction drawings for back door and window:
From

So, I'm a little irritated that no one has caught this before (we have bi-weekly meetings with GC and architects). I emailed the GC and asked him how much it would cost to purchase a larger door that will be tall enough to make the trims line up. It's custom order, (2-3 weeks) and a little over $2,000, but they'll do the labor for free.

I didn't point out to GC or Architects what the construction drawing says and I guess I'm a little suspicious by nature, so I don't know if the architects were 'covering' for the GC and the GC is 'covering' for his subs, or if what the plans say mean something else?

Because the trims are so close together, I'm afraid it might be a glaring 'error' if you want to call it that, since the woodwork will be painted white and will probably stand out from the wall color.

I'm sure it's cheaper now to fix (painter is painting outside now), but is it worth $2,000 to me? I know, only I can answer that, but I don't know if I'm just obsessing over something that will fade away once finished and painted or if it will always bother me. Given that the room is mostly windows on 3 sides and all the windows line up and you just have this lower door, does that make it stand out more?

From Remodeling Project

And I don't know if I should question whether I should even have to pay for the fix. In this picture, it appears the header was aligned correctly
From

And here the door starts getting lowered:
From

They're really wearing me down, here.

One new suggestion on the decorating forum suggested insisting that the GC lower all of the windows to match door height - but there's 11 windows:

From Remodeling Project

And the architects didn't do interior elevations, so it's a little hard to prove that's what was intended.

So, if it were your house, what would you do?


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Door frame lower than window frames What would you do (xposte

Since the glass will not align anyway usually the casing trim is made to align and it looks fine.


 o
RE: Door frame lower than window frames What would you do (xposte

Renovator8 - That's what I expected to happen and I believe that's what the architects intended to happen. But if you look at the first picture, the casing trim isn't aligned and IMHO looks silly. Especially since the door casing and the window casings are so close together.

The picture where the casing trims align in on a 2nd door/window combination that seems to have been installed correctly.

Would you insist the the GC either gets a taller door or lowers the windows in order for the casing trims to align?


 o
RE: Door frame lower than window frames What would you do (xposte

I think what I would do is put a little filler strip inbetween the top of the door and where your top door trim goes...

That probably isn't what a well-planned conscientious GC/architect have done, but you are beyond that now. I wouldn't mess with custom door. If you ever need to replace it, it would be a lot more expensive.

So, that is what I'd do.


 o
RE: Door frame lower than window frames What would you do (xposte

Get the trim carpenters to come up with a bit of custom work to raise the head casing on the interior and exterior. Part of being a good tradesman is knowing how to make the best of a bad situation when it's called for. The bigger part is doing it right the first time, though. I'm going to guess that somebody picked the header height for the windows without considering the door - and then like everything else in a house once a framing mistake gets made - it becomes a series of bandaids and patches to "fix" the problem.


 o
RE: Door frame lower than window frames What would you do (xposte

It appears to be a carpenter's mistake since the intention of the design is clearly stated on the drawings. Perhaps the windows were installed before the door arrived.

IMHO there is no reason to replace anything other than the narrow "picture frame" molding; it's really out of place here.

Option A (cheapest)
Raise the door head trim and find a way to fill the resulting gap. I would also fill the gap between the door and window jamb trims because these narrow strips of wall look amateurish to me.

Option B (best)
Use 3/8" or 1/2" flat trim that spans from opening to opening, then add a decorative band molding around the outer perimeter of the entire assembly. The flat part of the trim would be a bit larger at the door head but it would look fine since it's at a door not a window. If the carpenter is good he could add a cove, bevel or bead at the inner edges. That is the way triple openings have been detailed for hundreds of years so I'm surprised the architects or the builder didn't suggest it.


 o
RE: Door frame lower than window frames What would you do (xposte

its not that obvious to me. so I'd change the trim
at the top of the door and let it go.
if you put a little valence on the top of the windows
on either side no one will notice unless you
point it out.

renovator8's suggestion makes perfect sense.

enjoy your sunroom..wish I had one!
best of luck


 o
RE: Door frame lower than window frames What would you do (xposte

The plans look clear to me I would make the carpenter fix his mistake. Door and window heads should align. This is just my opinion but.......


 o
RE: Door frame lower than window frames What would you do (xposte

Agree that the teeny strips of wall are a foolish way to finish.


 o
RE: Door frame lower than window frames What would you do (xposte

agree with millworkman. get a custom sized door or lower the windows. your paying for what was drawn and you shouldnt have something scabbed together. your the one that has to look at it every day not the g.c.


 o
RE: Door frame lower than window frames What would you do (xposte

99% of the time is the first rule is that your header heights match, not always possible I have seen them deliberately done as not aligning to make glass sight-lines the same but that obviously was not done here.


 o
RE: Door frame lower than window frames What would you do (xposte

And the brand of door? Andersen, maybe?
When they started their line of Frenchwood doors [1987?] they sized them differently than conventional door sizing, i.e. a 6'8" door fits into a 6'10 3/4" rough opening, normally. Not Andersen. Their 6'8" door is 6'7 1/4" and fits into a 6'8" R.O. Their 6'11" door is considered full sized and would have better lined up with your adjacent windows.
Contractors nation wide were stung by this little difference.


 o
RE: Door frame lower than window frames What would you do (xposte

Jump that has absolutely nothing to do with reading the plans and following instructions.


 o
RE: Door frame lower than window frames What would you do (xposte

No, you're right. It just counts when ORDERING!


 o
RE: Door frame lower than window frames What would you do (xposte

I would want the headers to all line up. Problem is, getting them to fix it. I would try to get them to address it with trim/casing and move the light switches elsewhere (or use RF light switch to compensate). You're not going to get them to take it apart and re-do. It's a mistake and they should have caught it earlier.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Remodeling Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here