How to turn a lovley old house with solid walls into a warm efficient home




The house has three external doors. None of then fit well because of the condition of the doors but also the frames. Over the years I had tried all manner of draught excluders and strips, but the unevenness of both door and frame meant this was never particularly successful. It was ugly into the bargain. Simply replacing the doors but keeping the frames would not be very effective either. The only way to get a decent seal would be total replacement of doors and frames fitted with proper draught seals.

I had a plan to build an extension across the rear of the house in due course. This meant that the old kitchen door would go, and the old door at the back of the hallway would become an internal door, so at this stage I chose to seal those up as best possible and concentrate on the old cronky front door.

draughty old door, draught proofing, home renovationThe old door was big on rustic charm, but scored just about zero on any other scale, and sub-zero when it came to efficiency.

With the porch removed I could see the state of the door and frame.

I could see that the brickwork above the door frame would collapse as soon as I removed the door frame, but as there was a lintel behind the frame I felt only a few bricks would probably come loose.

old door frame, renovation, houseI removed the bricks that were obviously loose prior to removing the door frame.

I bought a large stack of 2" and 1" wany edge oak boards from a friend that fells local oak. It had been well seasoned in his barn for a few years, so was ready to be turned into my new front door and frame.

My new frame would be very similar to the old one. To create a beaded Face Frame the rail and styles are mortice and tennoned, but a bead is cut into the edge and then mitred. It's a bit fiddly but worth the extra effort.

At 4" wide, I made the frame bigger and chunkier than modern frames you would buy off the shelf - more like the old frame I was taking out.

In common with many old door frames, mine sat on a stone at the bottom and did not go right down to the ground.

It makes draught sealing around the base a little more awkward, but I chose to maintain this detail rather than cut the stone out and fit a full frames, as is often done.


new oak door frame fitting, house, home, renovationoak door frameI rebated the inside of the frame to accept the door, and bought a special router bit to cut a groove to take a door seal. The router bit and a coil of door seal can be purchased together. They make for a much better seal than trying to cobble together a seal at a later date. They are also much neater.

I fixed the frame to the wall with frame fixers, but the used the favourite squirty foam (PU foam) to create a good seal and stops and draughts getting through small gaps.


door seals, draught proofing, eco, renovation

door frame fitting, draught proofingdoor frame panel, eco, green deal

I made the door from 2" oak, so it made a good solid door. I used some 1" oak and created fielded panels. I then routed some oak mouldings to finish around the panels.

It is an eight panel door. Six are the fielded panels and the top two would be glass to allow some light into the hallway.

I fitted a five lever mortice lock, brass door furniture and hinges.

The new front door (and porch). It seals and keeps draughts out sooooo much better than the old door. Hopefully it looks attractive and in keeping with the house too. I kept to the green theme outdoors but sealed and waxed the oak internally. 

oak front door, eco, renovation, green

new porch and door frame




© Christopher Thompson