According to Ty Pennington, installing a front door is a job for Reliever-Beavers (the "Skillionaires") or basically people that are skilled. Somehow my smarty-pants husband just read how to do it in his home improvement book.
Here is our beautiful front door now:
When we bought our house, years of neglect had allowed fairly significant rot to set in on both bottom corners of the door frame, into the parquet floor at the entrance. While it was cathartic rooting out all of the rotten wood, the large holes that remained were daunting. In fact, so much damage was in the door frame that it made little sense to fill it with pints of DAP Plastic Wood. So out came the old door. Then we got a lovely surprise of more rot!
Here is the ground when the original door came out. Yuk. At this point I would have hired a professional, but we are DIY'ers at heart, so we figured it out.
Rot extended into the support beam underneath, which required reinforcing from the crawlspace, then replacing the 2x4 that lay at the threshold. Some of the flooring at the entryway had to be replaced as well.
Once all the damage had been fixed, then it was a simple matter of following the instructions in Home Improvement 123 (Home Depot's repair bible), and going slowly to keep everything in-line.
When shimming to get everything level, make sure that the frame doesn't get caught on jutting edges around the door opening. I spent half an hour trying to get the door to swing shut without scraping the inside of the frame, jamming shim after shim under the right corner of the frame, and it turned out that the top of the door frame was hitting some siding on the outside. Of course, a second pair of eyes would have helped here, but those eyes were busy watching the kids.
Our doorway looked like this for a few days, with just plastic over it to keep out bugs. Needless to say we slept in the living room with our ears open for any intruders.
This is what our doorway looked like while the work was being done. The piece of siding above the door opening was basically flush with the old door frame, so the new frame was pressed up against it, preventing the door frame from fitting properly. I don't remember which tool I used to remove the excess siding, but eventually the door fit.
Here is a view of the door from the inside. I used a high gloss white latex paint on the inside of the door and an exterior latex paint for the outside. The door is made of metal and the paint has adhered just fine. We bought the door from Lowes for around $100. Not bad. We also bought new door knobs and a deadbolt. Joe installed these as well. I feel better knowing we have changed the locks because our house was a rental for three years prior to us buying it, and who knows how many tenants there were. Call me paranoid, but since having children I have to make sure my baby birds are protected.
Following the Home Improvement 123 guide was really how we got it done, so check it out.