Replacing UPVC front door for Victorian door

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Est1896
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Replacing UPVC front door for Victorian door

Post by Est1896 » Sun Apr 29, 2018 3:57 pm

I hate my front door so much that I'm now looking into replacing it. It's a UPVC door and it's ugly as sin - we have a victorian house, so it should have an original hardwood door.

Where do I start? I've been looking at reclamation places but have no idea how to choose the right size. Once I've bought a door, do we then need to remove the frame from the old door and replace with a wood frame or do we use the existing UPVC frame??

Help, please!
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Re: Replacing UPVC front door for Victorian door

Post by someone-else » Sun Apr 29, 2018 9:05 pm

I would say, wooden door wooden frame.
So yes take old frame out, put in new frame with new door. But I suspect it is easier said than done.

If you are going round reclamation yards, why not measure your door frame, outside edge to outside edge (and top to bottom) and see what you find, and don't forget it will need a "lump" at the bottom too.

lump New technical term for the big wooden bit at the bottom of the door frame when the door is open.
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Re: Replacing UPVC front door for Victorian door

Post by Job and Knock » Mon Apr 30, 2018 4:35 am

Est1896 wrote:I hate my front door so much that I'm now looking into replacing it. It's a UPVC door and it's ugly as sin - we have a victorian house, so it should have an original hardwood door.
Contrary to popular belief the vast majority of Victorian front doors were actually softwood.
Est1896 wrote: I've been looking at reclamation places but have no idea how to choose the right size.
Many reclamation places will have the doors alone - rarely the frames as they are pretty awkward to remove. So you maybe need to think in terms of getting a joinery shop to make you up a rebated door frame to fit the opening. If I were painting the door I'd opt for a hardwood frame in a specvies such as Ipe or Agba as they resist rot well. Just to make things simple the original door frame may or may not have been fitted into a rebate in the masonry (common in my area, not in others) or alternatively be fixed into a plain opening - a couple of pics would allow me or others to confirm that. Another issue may be that your frame needs to have a storey light above the door (again fairly common in Victorian houses) which makes doing your own a tad more complex, especially if you require a bottom hung opening window. The margin of visible frame around the opening will need to be around 2 to 3 inches (50 to 75mm) and the rebate depth in the frame will need to be 1/ to 3/4in (12 to 19mm) so if you measure the opening I'd say you need to be looking for a door somewhere in the region of 2-1/2 to 5in (62 to 125mm) narrower than the visible masonry opening and about 1-1/4 to 2-1/2in (32 to 62mm) shorter than the opening height (for a door without a storey light). Avoid doors with lots of signs of wear an obvious signs of rot - you'll never repair them - similarly avoid doors with damaged raised panels or bolection mouldings (the raised mouldings around the panels) and try not to cut a door down by more than 1in (25mm) in either direction because in doing so you'll lose the proportions of the door and it will just end up looking plain odd (to me, at least), You are about to learn that the Victorians had no such concept as "standard sizes" in your endeavour to recycle a front door so patience will be a virtue
Est1896 wrote: Once I've bought a door, do we then need to remove the frame from the old door and replace with a wood frame or do we use the existing UPVC frame??
If you;v read the above you'll understand why that probably isn't going to work too well. Quite apart from anything else an old timber door will probably be thicker than a modern PVCu one. I've seen thicknesses up to 70mm on domestic doors (modern hardwood exterior doors are 50/52mm), so having a bespoke door frame is probably the only way to go
someone-else wrote:...and don't forget it will need a "lump" at the bottom too.

lump New technical term for the big wooden bit at the bottom of the door frame when the door is open.
Threshold or sill. And in fact many Victorian front door frames DON'T have a wooden sill at all, they depend on having a stone step to prevent water ingress combined with a metal water bar let into the step. A modern replacement would be to cut the underside if the door to accept a metal/rubber threshold. It all depends on the original opening (again a pic would help)
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