How to Install a Vintage Door

First, you have to find that fabulous vintage door that your heart goes pitter patter over. Lucky for me I am a vintage door horder. Ask the Hubby, I have a growing collection in our barn. Even older doors followed a standard system, one hitch though is they were generally shorter than today's doors. It is easier to add height to a door without distracting from its character but it is harder to make it wider. So make sure when you go door hunting know your door dimensions and try and get as close as possible.

Now you have your door! The fun begins. Remove any and all hardware that is on your door. My door, as gorgeous as it is, is a left-hand swing so that meant taking off the rusted hinges off. I did save the original hinges in hopes of removing all the crust and make them useable once again. Now hopefully your swing is the same as your existing door but if not, no worries. All you need to fix that problem is a sharp wood chisel and a hammer.


Mark where your hinges will need to be with a pencil, make sure your marks are clear. You do not want to chisel the wrong area. Carefully tap the marked off area. Older wood may or may not come out easier than a new door so stressing on the careful. At this point, I left the room. Whenever the Hubby works on something old I am constantly freaking he is going to boob it up. And I don't trust myself on the special old things. So for the sanity of our marriage, I walk away. I am sure the hubby appreciates it.  

Now I hit a snag after we got the hinges on the door. The door was not shutting properly on the bottom. We had to really push on the bottom for the door to close. Now our previous door had been giving me this issue for the last 10 years. Well, I wasn't going to ruin an old door with all that rubbing. So I started attacking the door frame. I know, I know. Not a logical decision. Apparently, it was a good one. After hacking the worst part off the bottom. I realized that it was tight from the latch down...getting tighter and tighter. Now I was stumped. How much of this door frame was I going to be taking out? And Why?!?!? 

I was growing concerned, so I grabbed my square, level, and tape measure. After grabbing those tools it was easy to find out that even though the door was really close to plumb square at the top from the latch down the door-way got smaller. UGH! Thankfully the trim is recessed a smidgeon from the door frame and it allowed me to use that handy wood chisel and my sander to take the door frame down so it was flush with the trim. Dang, does the door shut nice now! Go me!!

To keep her in her gorgeous state, I carefully sanded her and wiped her down with 3 coats of satin Wipe-On Polyurethane. For her hardware, I managed to salvage the plates and paint them with Rustoleum Universal spray paint in oil rubbed bronze. I replaced the latching mechanism that is in the door with new from our local Menards. And I managed to remember that somewhere I had old porcelain knobs and they fit like a dream! YAY! She does have a nice size gap at the bottom, which I may or may not fix down the road. But for now, I am just enjoying her.

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I love this door!! So glad I made the executive decision to add character back into our old farmhouse.