How much to repair/replace this door?


Beechwood Chip
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I had a bunch of water damage in my 1880's Victorian home, and filed an insurance claim.  The water damage created a crack in one of the original doors.  The adjuster said, "You can't just go to Lowes and buy one of those", and suggested I get prices to repair or replace the door.  I'm guessing it can't be repaired, but what do I know?

The door is 8' x 3', and the 5 bead details match the woodwork in the rest of the house.  I don't know what species of wood it is.  When the house was built it was pretty upscale, so while I assume that it's a domestic, it might be imported.  From another door that got damaged it seems to be a thick veneer (1/8" at least) over a whitewood core.  The matching front door was left unfinished and exposed to weather for many years and had a similar rich color.

I'm trying to get a fair ballpark price to discuss with the insurance adjuster.  I may not repair it - the house is over 130 years old and has a lot of "character".  If I do decide to replace it I'll probably buy lumber and build it myself.  I guess prices vary in different parts of the world - I'm in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Here are some photos.  I'm a lousy photographer.  I don't know why they are all sideways.

Closet door 1.jpgCloset door 2.jpgCloset door crack 1.jpgCloset door crack 2.jpgCloset door lower panel.jpgCloset door panel.jpg

Closet door 5 bead closeup.jpg

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We were looking to replace our front door and I went to see a buddy that worked in the door department at Home Depot to get a quote. Since our door isn't a standard size, it was a custom order, and the price we were quoted, with the glass top, came out to $5100.  I would go to one of the big box stores to get at least what I would consider a baseline estimate.

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Amazingly, the hardwood flooring seems to have come through OK.  It might need to be refinished, but I'm not sure it even needs that.  130 year old red pine boards with square nails directly over the joists - none of this "sub-floor" stuff you get nowadays.  There were significant gaps between the boards before the flood. I think there was enough space for the boards to expand and shrink back. The floor was a little wavy while it was wet, but now it seems nice and flat.  I think it also helped that I had the floor refinished less than a year ago.

Allstate sent a water damage remediation crew out who ran a few industrial dehumidifiers and over a dozen industrial fans for a week. They also turned my thermostat to "heat" and set it at 95.  Sucking all the moisture out of the house solved most of the problems.

I need drywall and paint, maybe some plaster work, cleaning, and the door.

Thanks for the idea, Bryan, and for the sympathy, Coop.

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I've fixed worse.   It looks to me like it can be taken apart, and put back together.  Sorry, but I do so many different things that I don't do estimates. If I had done the exact same thing before, I could tell you what it would cost.   I do stuff that I have never done before every day, so the list of repeat work is very short.  It can be fixed for less than $5100 though.

I'd like to see a picture of the floor.

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It's the insurance company's responsibility to pay you replacement value.  It's not your responsibility to save them money through your efforts.

I'd find a couple local custom builders and get estimates - the higher the better - get paid, then do whatever you're inclined to do.  The goal right now should be to get paid as much as you can, then repair or replace at your leisure.  It wouldn't be difficult to build a new door...but species and color match will certainly be a challenge.  At first glance I was gonna say it looks like old faded walnut, but upon further inspection it appears to be some kind of exotic...which I find a little bit odd for the age of it.  The grain looks a little mahogany-ish, but the color looks more fauxhogany...ish.  Hard to say.

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If it from 1880 it might very well be cuban mahogany.  The color changes quite a bit over time, but the stuff I have seen actually look pretty similar to that.  Like E, I originally thought walnut but the pore structure seem incorrect for walnut.

I'd measure the amount of board feet you need to build it, get some quotes for cuban, and submit that :)

My place does sell some American Mahogany from southern florida which is very close to cuban.  It is like $30BF.  

 

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You know, I thought mahogany, but thought, "No, that's just wishful thinking".  That was before I knew that it was a veneer over construction grade wood.  Now I'm leaning towards mahogany.

The outside of the front door hadn't been refinished in decades, and I swear I saw tiny flecks of purple.  Absolutely beautiful wood.  I didn't want to refinish it and lose that, but decided I'd rather preserve it and lose some of the subtle colors than let it get ruined by the weather.

I'll post some pictures of the floor tonight.

Thanks everyone!

 

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Sometimes when a door with this problem is taken apart, and put back together, you end up losing a little width.   On one this old, there's a good possibility that either the hinge side, or the lock side of the jambs need some help.  Once the door is repaired back to look good, you will know what the final width is.  

At that point, I decide which side of the jamb, or both, can stand to give up their old faces, and have a new face added with lock strike mortises back in the right place, or hinges replaced with maybe a slightly different size.  Since the casing is usually not up to being taken off and reused without visible damage, I'll mill off a good part of the jamb face in place with a lot of chiseling, and add the replacement back to bring the opening width back to the desired size.  You might end up with a little more reveal than original, but it's usually not objectionable.

In this part of the country, I leave 1/8" on the hinge side, and 3/16" on the lock side.   If the door already has a tapered lock edge, I'll let the door close fairly close on the outside.  I don't like to hang doors to start with figuring on having to trim the door.  With an old one, careful measurements are important so you don't have to trim the door.

There are always decisions that have to be made at every step of the process when redoing something old, but the goal is to leave it looking like no repairs were ever made.
 

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