improving our doors

We had an electrician out last week, and we’ve gotten just about all of our electrical work done. We still have our crappy old front porch light, as the one we got wasn’t going to be a suitable replacement. We found another one to use, but I haven’t picked it up yet. Instead, we got some more smoke detectors, a fire extinguisher for the kitchen, and a new doorknob. I really like the knobs we picked; we’re planning to use them in all the interior doors. They’re brushed nickel, lever-style knobs. (There are photos on Flickr.)

While we were at Lowe’s, someone came over to help us. When I said we were looking for knobs for our doors, he looked confused and said, “but these are commercial door knobs!” I said we just liked them for their appearance, so he helpfully suggested some residential knobs that looked nothing like them. When I explained the difference, he suggested another set that looked similar, but not as nice. Finally, when I pointed the differences out again, he gave up. It was pretty weird: I can’t tell why he wanted to dissuade me, apart from the fact that the label said “commercial.”

Anyway, when I got them home, I realized that the existing hardware in our doors was of an entirely different size. The doorknob’s axle (I’m sure that has some cute name, like morteps) is just a fraction of an inch wide, and the hole in the door isn’t much bigger. The strike and latch in the jamb are of the wrong configuration, too. I think it’s about time to ignore most of the conflicting advice I got about dealing with these doors and just get to work. My current plan is to get some sawhorses, a scraper, and some citrus-based paint stripper. Once I get all the paint off the doors, I think they’ll look great, especially with the new hardware in them.

Hacking hardware (like a house) is much more nerve-wracking than hacking software. Dry runs are more difficult and expensive, and you can’t just revert to the previous version of your door. Fear of ruining the working copy can really get in the way of the JFDI spirit. With so much to do and so much getting put off, though, I’ve been getting a little frustrated and bored, and this is a good thing: it’s motivating me to get started. After all, if I wreck a door, I can replace it. That will be annoying, but it’s not the end of the world.

Written on December 15, 2006
🏷 house