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Refacing exterior panel door

GBSteve's picture

Has anyone attempted (or even heard of) changing the look of the interior side only of an exterior door?  We have new interior doors coming soon (flush rift walnut), which will not match our two exterior doors (six raised panel steel, one piece molded/stamped slab).  Unfortunately I can't change the door completely as it's a townhouse and the HOA would probably not approve.  Our HOA doesn't care about much, but I think they would take issue with this.  The inside can be anything in general, but the outside appearance can't be changed aside from landscaping.  Even if I could change the slab and jamb, I'm in Florida and the existing jamb is set in masonry and screwed in overkill to meet the hurricane codes...

Ultimately I would like to smooth/fill in the raised panels, then veneer over the interior surface.  The existing jamb is painted, but refacing with veneer is easy with the straight angles and wood substrate.  The veneer isn't thick enough to change the slab thickness to any working extent, and laying on the veneer isn't a question of ability, but filling the panels is...  Would roughing the surface, then filling the panel perimeter (the sunken portion) with some layers of Bondo work?  Sand smooth and set up a trimmed 4x8 sheet of paperbacked veneer with contact cement?  I'm open to any ideas on this.  

Thanks for the help.

Just a thought  (not (post #207313, reply #1 of 19)

Just a thought  (not experience), maybe you could fill and level the door with spray foam. The advantage would be in light weight.

It would be very uneven at first, but after curing, foam is easy to trim, shave and sand.

Interesting idea, haven't (post #207313, reply #2 of 19)

Interesting idea, haven't thought of foam...  Would it bond to the surface?  Would it dry hard enough so if you tapped the door after the veneer is on, it wouldn't sound different (or be physically softer)?

After looking at the door and jamb this afternoon, I have a little more room to work with than originally thought.  By shifting the hinges a bit (room for 1/16" adjustment left), combined with the very springy weatherstripping, a 1/8" full cladding could work, maybe laying up the veneer on a 1/8" substrate, then applying the assembly to the door face...  Just not sure if a 1/8" substrate would cure the above noted issues of "hollow sounding" in spots...

GB (post #207313, reply #3 of 19)

If an eighth is what you can do-

Contact a cabinet supplier (and I suppose that could include a big box.........ugh)

They have what they call "skins" that are meant to be added to the ends of cabinets or even on the face of island backs.  If you can get the color / species you like, it's already adhered to ply.

I'd be wary of introducing too many different things to glue veneer to as that steel door will be moving with the temp in the house as well as out.

A good plywood supplier might be able to offer veneered 1/8th in. stock-you stain / finish.

or of course, you go the whole route and do the veneering.

What you stick the substrate to the door with, is only as good as the paint on the door now.

A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


http://www.quittintime.com/

 


You don't need to fill the (post #207313, reply #4 of 19)

You don't need to fill the raised panels at all. The new door skin will span the inch and a half recess just fine. The panels themsleves will be in the same plane as the rest of the door.

Florida Licensed Building Contractor, 40 years experience in commercial remodeling, new homes, home remodeling and repairs and all types building maintenance.

Yeah, I would first look at (post #207313, reply #5 of 19)

Yeah, I would first look at just installing a "door skin" over the existing, without filling in anything. 

Though I may be misunderstanding the profile of the door.  A picture might help.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

Two pictures below.  The (post #207313, reply #6 of 19)

Two pictures below.  The casing is missing as everything was removed prior to installing new baseboard and in prep for the new interior doors.  The plan is to use the same baseboard material for this casing - 3/4" x 2" rift white oak or walnut (interior door casing will be walnut).  This can change, depending on availability of door skins.

I'm kind of embarassed I haven't heard of door skins before.  A very brief search on Google lists many results for kitchen cabinets, but not much in the way of full door panels.  Ultimately the best solution would be to find a panel with a horizontal lay-up rift cut walnut to match the interior doors, but I know that's a tall order.  Being entry doors, and within 6' of each other (opposite walls), they could be different wood species and it would be fine.

The detailed picture may not show it well, but the raised panel surfaces are in the same plane as the rails/stiles.  The hardware will also be changed (already on order), but dimensionally is the same as existing, just a different style.

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gb (post #207313, reply #7 of 19)

You plan on cutting back the base and run the casings to the floor, no?  Or maybe you just ran base to that entry door and have the casings set on the others?

A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


http://www.quittintime.com/

 


The base is just set in place (post #207313, reply #8 of 19)

The base is just set in place now...mitered on the far end (out of the picture), trimmed to rough length for now.  With the changes I'm hoping to do, I thought it best to just set the base in for now, instead of potentially having to take it off later, then try to fit it again...

The base will be joined to the casing with a 45 miter.  The base and casing is the same thickness throughout the house, 45 miters at the bottom, around the jamb top corners, then at the bottom on the other end.  Some doors do not have casing at all - pivot hinges on a flush slab - and that base is ripped with a 45 from front to back edge.  Think of it as looking straight down and seeing / and \.  

gb (post #207313, reply #10 of 19)

Thanks for your explanation.

You get this done, take some door pics and show some of that trim here if you would.

A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


http://www.quittintime.com/

 


Since that's an (post #207313, reply #9 of 19)

Since that's an inward-opening door you can tolerate some added thickness -- the main problem would be what the doorknob could handle.  And a "skin" should be able to span those voids without much trouble (unless you have some uber-destructive kids in the house).

When I Googled "door skins" I got a bunch of hits.  The trick is finding a supplier close to you who can provide the right species to match your other doors.  (Note that you'll likely have to finish the stuff yourself.)  Check with local lumberyards.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

Since your interior doors (post #207313, reply #11 of 19)

Since your interior doors sound like a custom order, you will probably not find appropriate door skins. Not easily at any rate. I'd first check with whoever is providing those interior doors. If they cannot help, then I'd suggest you contact a local woodworker or custom cabinet shop to lay up veneered skins for you. 

If I were doing this I'd remove the doors and remove all the hardware from them. Then I'd glue a skin onto the inside face using my vacuum press. Once that is done, I'd layout and glue on the veneer of your choice, also in the vacuum press. Following this order there will be no warping of the skin as it will be held flat by the door. The subsequent application of the veneer will also have no warping effect since the flexural strength of the door itself is so much greater than the presence of the new veneer and its glue. 

Note: I would not use contact cement anywhere in the process. Nor would I use paperbacked veneer. I recommend you use flitch veneer only. If you want additional thickness, it may be available up to 1/16" from some suppliers. I have purchased from Certainly Woods many times and can recommend them. 

The idea of getting the door (post #207313, reply #12 of 19)

The idea of getting the door skins from the door supplier is a good one.  I'm pretty sure that many up-scale suppliers can supply matching skins.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

The interior door supplier (post #207313, reply #14 of 19)

The interior door supplier wouldn't be much help...the doors are coming from Europe.  We tried sourcing them from a US manufacturer - or even a local shop - but they ended up being quite a bit cheaper coming from overseas.  Unfortunately that means things like entry doors are not as easy to fix...

I've been too busy with work this week, but today or tomorrow I should be able to look for the skins everyone mentioned.  I really appreciate the advice!  We're fortunate to have a house of two without children, so anything beyond normal use won't happen.

When setting on the skin (minus veneer), what adhesive would be best?  I'm assuming I should scratch the door surface with 120 grit before applying anything, no?  If using a skin of MDF, would the bottom edge be secure against water damage?  Would you recommend a better substrate?  Since we're in Florida, the door swings out, and even though there is an awning over the door, the rain gets bad enough it will find its way under the threshold.  Maybe adhere a strip of solid wood 2-3" wide, same thickness as the rest of the backer?  Not sure if it would be feasible stabilitywise, but would a sheet of laminate work as a backer?  Rough the front and back?  The thickness is correct, but I might have the problem of not being thick enough to span the recesses at the molded panels without "sinking" in...

On Monday I will call some local cabinet shops to get their take and what they plan on charging, lead time, etc.  If they can do a better job in a reasonable time, then it might be worth it.  You're correct, I don't have a vacuum bag setup here.    

Sorry for the delay in (post #207313, reply #18 of 19)

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you with answers to your questions. I would use a poly glue like Gorilla Glue to adhere the substrate to the metal door. I've found that the poly glue sticks like crazy to metal. Remove any paint by belt or random orbit sander. I'd use 60 or 80 grit. Additionally, I think I'd do an infill over the "recessed panel" parts of your door. The infills don't have to completely cover the entire area, just enough to give the thin panel some more support. That will negate any "oilcan" effect. 

I would not use mdf for a substrate. I don't care much for mdf in any application but especially not where it can be exposed to moisture. I would instead choose a good grade of plywood and among the best are the ones made for marine use. You ought to be able to source something called okume or sapele marine ply in 3 mm thickness. This stuff is void free and will not delaminate taking your pretty veneer with it. Unfortunately, they don't give the stuff away. But if you follow my suggestions and have a shop do this for you, then you're in for an uncomfortable nudge to your wallet anyway. 

In response to others...

Metal can be adhered to wood without problems. I've done it many times. 

Faux painting, in this particular application, is nuts.

Maybe it's just me but (post #207313, reply #13 of 19)

Maybe it's just me but everyone seems to be making this hardewr than it should be. Any decent cabint shop can get or will stock walnut veneer that will match your new doors. Take your door and let them skin and veneer it for you since you probably don't have  vacuum bag.

Florida Licensed Building Contractor, 40 years experience in commercial remodeling, new homes, home remodeling and repairs and all types building maintenance.

door (post #207313, reply #15 of 19)

Hire an interior painter and have him or her paint a "faux" walnut finish on the interior parts of the door and entry.

bill (post #207313, reply #16 of 19)

That would be alright, but I think he plans on going with flush doors on the rest of the interiors, so he's wanting to make the existing entry flush along with matching the finish.

A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


http://www.quittintime.com/

 


I think you should forget (post #207313, reply #17 of 19)

I think you should forget about the skin, glueing wood to metal never works out well. 

Find a good local faux finish artist and have the interior of the door painted to match the other doors.

As Calvin suggested, I'd go (post #207313, reply #19 of 19)

As Calvin suggested, I'd go  with a "door skin", a sheet (usually ~3 x 7) if 1/8 ply with a surface veneer.  I'm confused by the clearance issue unless this is an outswing entry door.  In any case, you mention that you have that amount of space to work with, so it shouldn't be a problem.  The nice thing about using the door skin is that it has some strength, so it won't telegraph surface irregularities like veneer would.  You wouldn't even have to fill the panel areas completely.  After all, hollow core doors are just a pair of door skins with some paper honeycomb between them except at the edges. I'd be tempted to sand the door, screw a couple of cleats into each panel, and glue the door skin on.

We've "skinned" a number of flush metal doors in order to make the metal doors to the garage match the rest of the doors in the house.