Monday, February 24, 2014

Front Door Makeover

Dear Em,
It's funny that I'm posting this now, because our Front Door makeover has been a long time in the making. The thought of it came at a time when I was mostly satisfied with updating the inside of our house & started looking at the outside. We had plans to put in a paver stone walkway (I can't tell you how many times I had almost fallen on my face walking through our crushed stone path in heels, & Daddy hated trying to shovel it in the winter), update our front door, update our shutters, & work on the landscaping. A couple years ago we put in a paver stone walkway. The next year I was hoping to tackle the door & shutters. I just wasn't sure how.

I looked at paint colors, thinking maybe a different color would make the door pop (& the green shutters have never been our taste). I studied door-shutter-house color combinations on every drive I went on, looking at all the other houses along the way. I made up my mind with different colors several times & then unmade it. Finally, I decided that we would forgo the paint altogether & just buy a new wood door. Except that I knew how much we hate to have to restain our back deck, & I wondered about the durability of wood doors. Since a fiberglass door could give us the wood look without any maintenance, I finally settled on a fiberglass door. I waited a month just to be sure & still liked the same door. So, I went into Home Depot to look into the process of ordering & installing our new door.

This was back in September. The front door was finally finished a few weeks ago. Sigh, it is a long story...

First, someone came to our home to do some measurements. While we had originally planned to just buy & install a front door, the gentleman doing the measurements explained that wasn't going to be possible. It seems that our door frame (which we had asked a handyman to fix years back...sigh) was rotted, & we would need a whole new door frame & sidelights (the panels on either side of the door) as well.

I took you with me to Home Depot to place the order. I thought it would just take a few moments, but I think we were there for over an hour. It seems that the sidelights we wanted couldn't be matched up with the door we wanted. The price went from reasonable to something five times what we had planned on (so much for updating the shutters as well). By the end, you were ready to go into meltdown mode. You had looked through every door & window catalogue in the doors & windows section of Home Depot by the time we finally ordered, not exactly what I wanted but, something I thought we could all be happy with. The order was placed with a rough timeline of our door being installed in about a month (mid October).

Though they came weeks after we had originally planned (begin of November), the day the installers came was an exciting day. You wanted so badly to talk to them & tell them about your whole life story, but you & I had to head off to work & school. We left Daddy, who was working from home, to oversee the project. Daddy called me later in the day to tell me that the installation was done, & I looked forward to coming home to see our new door.

It was when I got home that Daddy explained some of his concerns, & we realized why we would never order something from Home Depot that would need to be installed. While Home Depot was very friendly, had great customer service, & we loved the product we ordered from them, we were stuck with whatever installers they had contracted with. The installers had left us with holes throughout our screen door (apparently, they thought we no longer wanted our screen door & threw it in their truck), molding that showed gaps of bare sheetrock, & a constant draft coming from the door.

When I called Home Depot, I was livid. We had spent five times what I had originally budgeted for our new door....for this? I explained the problems. They were very understanding & supportive, but in the end they were sending out the same installers to fix the problem. So I made another appointment, & a week later the same installer came out. He told me that the holes in my screen were Home Depot's problem & that the bare sheet rock was really a fault of our house- not the installation itself. I was ready to cry. So, you mean that our new door is actually going to be much worse than our old door & it's our house's fault? In the end, he "fixed" the problem with the draft but said he didn't have any of the materials needed to fix anything else.

This left me with nothing else to do but make another appointment for the installers to come back a week later & fix everything else. A day before they were scheduled to come, I got a call that the appointment would have to be rescheduled after a certain part was delivered to our house. When I called Home Depot to figure out just what was going on this time, it was then I had learned that the installers must have broken the bottom piece of our door without telling us & the new piece being sent to our home was meant to replace it (which would explain why there was still a constant stream of air coming from under our door).

At this point I was beyond livid. I was afraid that if I tried to deal with anyone in relation to our door at this point, I was going to have a meltdown. So, the new piece to our door came in two weeks later, & I scheduled an appointment for the end of December for the installers to finally fix the installation. That's right, the end of December. It had been over three months that I had been working with Home Depot & the craptastic crew they contracted to install our door.

You & I were in North Carolina when the final install happened, but Daddy assured me everything had been fixed (except for the screen door, Home Depot has told us they will replace it but I still don't think I've calmed down enough to talk to anyone about it). When we came home, I looked at our "amazing" door & just felt sick to my stomach. Don't get me wrong the door itself looks great, but I swear the floor in front of our door is much colder than it ever was before we replaced our old door- which is funny because this door was supposed to be infinitely more energy efficient. If you look from the sides, I can still see bare pieces of sheet rock & feel cold air seeping through the sides of the frame.

I just can't bring myself to get upset about it or really even care about it anymore. So, a couple weeks ago, I put a fresh coat of paint on the molding around the door & called it a day. I guess it's just as done as it's going to get.

I feel like it's a really sad thing to see that there are people who have so little pride in their craftsmanship. It's disappointing we spent what I would consider a lot of money & received so much less than what we were promised. And that was just for a door. In a few years, we hope to remodel our kitchen. Just thinking about going through this type of situation with our whole kitchen is enough to make me drop to the floor and huddle in the fetal position. I know one thing, we won't be working with Home Depot.

Sometimes I wonder...was our old front door really that bad in the first place? Sigh.

I love you so,


  1. A home makeover never comes easy. The paint job for the doors already takes a lot of time to do, what more the other things you need to take care of, right? In any case, I'm sorry if the installation caused you a lot of frustrations. I just hope it doesn't ruin the whole deal of home makeovers for you. Also, you did a really great job on the paint job! Kudos to you for turning that craft issue around in such a positive way! :)

    Greg Marshall @ Crawford Door

  2. Upon my wife's insistence, we also got a new door installed last year. However, unlike your unfortunate experience, it all went well. Naturally, we bought all of the materials but had a trusted local handyman do all the work for us. That was a relief. There aren't exactly a lot of hardware places nearby that have that kind of service.

    Giovanni @ Coastal Contract Hardware


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