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Am I mad to think of buying salvage front door?

(26 Posts)
IsItMeOr Mon 03-Aug-15 16:54:19

We live in a 1930s house, which originally would have had a stained glass front door - one (six-part) panel of stained glass over three long thin wooden panels.

A bit like this but with less fancy stained glass.

We have a bog-standard DIY shop replacement door from c1980.

I would love to have an original style door, but the quotes from the repro door companies are eye-watering (c£4.5k+). Even the better value ones by post are getting on for £2k by the time you have them fitted, and I am wary about it all being done remotely and not being what I am hoping for.

I have found reclamation yards selling reclaimed doors like this one.

Are there going to be lots of additional costs to add on to the purchase price that are going to make this not a bargain after all?

I think getting the stained glass made locally would be about £800. Presumably there is then fitting and door furniture to add on.

Help much appreciated!

wowfudge Mon 03-Aug-15 17:24:39

We bought a Rock Door composite door in a 30s style for about £1000. There was a reclaimed door on but it wasn't quite the right design for the house, was a poor fit, had 70s glass in it and basically I hated it. Did look at a replacement from a reclamation place but decided on the added security of a composite door instead.

The biggest issue with a reclaimed door is going to be will it fit? Not just measurements all round (and is the width even all the way down, etc.?), but is it the correct thickness? You're probably going to have to fit new locks, so that's additional cost and you may need to use filler where previous door furniture has been.

MehsMum Mon 03-Aug-15 17:43:33

It depends on the quality and fit of the salvage door - and how long you are prepared to spend wading around salvage yards finding one.

The big salvage place near us keeps exterior doors separately from interior doors, will dip-strip them for you, and doesn't charge a fortune. You might even find one with the glass still in place - we once bought a salvaged window complete with the 30s stained glass. Some salvage doors still have their hinges too. If you are getting other work done at the same time, a builder probably won't charge more than £20 for fitting the door, either, including shaving bits off to make sure it closes properly.

Georgethesecond Mon 03-Aug-15 17:45:31

Having a proper old one is better than a modern imitation.

If it works out more expensive I would be ok with that to get it right.

PigletJohn Mon 03-Aug-15 18:11:23

you should assume that you will need a carpenter to fit it, and possibly to replace the frame. Older houses often have the front door frame partly set into the brickwork.

Measure your door to see if the new one should be 33", 32", 30" or some unusual size.

Watch ebay for sellers within x miles of your home. Doors are hard to sell because people don't like collecting them.

If you can find a joiner, or a carpenter with sufficient joinery skills, an old door can be knocked apart and the tenons refixed, which will make it firm and prevent sagging or rattling, and fill in old lock mortices with wooden blocks unless they happen to be the right size for your new lock. You will need new locks, hinges, letterbox, knocker. I recommend brass or stainless lift-off hinges depending on whether you are going for brass or chrome furniture. You might like a brass or stainless threshold. Look at original houses of similar age.

ixos Mon 03-Aug-15 19:22:56

We have a salvage 30s front door complete with original stained glass (from a skip!). Paid carpenter £120 to hang and adjust. Bargain. Looks fabulous. Is ever so slightly warped but I don't care as you can't tell visually. Go for it.

IsItMeOr Mon 03-Aug-15 19:57:06

Thank you everybody. So it's definitely feasible.

George I was closely inspecting the affordable repro ones that a few neighbours have had made, and realised that they don't have the same detailing that the original doors did. So I think there is definitely something in what you say.

Piglet that's really informative. I will do some measuring and keep an eye on ebay. DH would be able to tell you that I am obsessively interested in other properties. The 1960s/70s were not kind to our house sad. They even tiled over the original porch tiles - the only house in the street to do it, as far as I've spotted.

I don't know of a brilliant joiner/carpenter. Do I just need to ask local contacts to find one?

msmorgan Mon 03-Aug-15 21:48:30

We have a 1930's house that we are just about finished renovating. It had an awful glass front door which I've replaced with a reclaimed door off ebay, I can't remember exactly but think we paid around £150 plus £40 delivery.

It has taken me hours to strip it, fill and paint. It took our joiner a few hours to hang it and fit the new door furniture. Its still not quite finished but I think it looks nice and suits the house, I love the original stained glass. Not sure how to add photo's on an iPhone ?

wowfudge Mon 03-Aug-15 21:59:25

Click on the paperclip and it will take you to the photos on your phone. Just pick the one you want and click 'use'. It will attach your photo.

msmorgan Mon 03-Aug-15 22:00:25

I'll attempt to add pics. The front of the house still needs quite a bit of work and I want a stained glass side window made to match the door. The door needs another coat of paint and we have some nicer furniture to go on but it is a vast improvement on the old door!

It has probably cost around £400 with the paint, door furniture and fitting.

msmorgan Mon 03-Aug-15 22:03:00

Try again!

msmorgan Mon 03-Aug-15 22:06:42

Sorry for all the posts, I'm sure I've added pics whilst in the app before but I can't see a paperclip and no idea how else to add them. I seem to have added some when not using the app but they're not showing on here. No idea if anyone else can see them?

IsItMeOr Mon 03-Aug-15 22:19:50

That looks lovely msmorgan. And DH will like your price much better than my previous quotes!

msmorgan Mon 03-Aug-15 22:27:34

I ended up searching for an old door as DH said a definite no to the quotes we had for a replica. We're up north so probably cheaper than some but it was still going to be over £2000. DH said he would rather get a composite door if were spending that much.

msmorgan Mon 03-Aug-15 22:28:13

I ended up searching for an old door as DH said a definite no to the quotes we had for a replica. We're up north so probably cheaper than some but it was still going to be over £2000. DH said he would rather get a composite door if were spending that much.

Georgethesecond Tue 04-Aug-15 07:58:10

Our house was built in 1905 and has the original old door. It is a bit warped but the thickness and solidity are so so different from a modern replacement. Plus the beautiful wonky glass set in actual lead is just gorgeous.

senua Tue 04-Aug-15 08:30:57

We had our front door done a few years ago. It was done by a one-man band, rather than a fancy company. He did us a great job - stained glass in an intricate pattern and created the complicated frame for it to sit in - for about £1000 although this was a fair few years ago.
It is a thing of beauty and makes me happy every time I come

Have you checked what you need for building regs, fire regs, insurers?

MrsJamin Tue 04-Aug-15 14:07:41

Another option is to get another door and then get this company to make the stained glass - it seems very good value, less than £200 to make a panel for any size door (they have an eBay shop jayceestainedglass too). Once we can afford it I'd like to get a composite door and have this company to make a panel to fit. I'm in exactly the same position, in a 1930s house, a horrid horrid old white PVC door that doesn't even close behind you and I'm aching to get something in there that i'll appreciate every day for years.

JumpJockey Tue 04-Aug-15 16:08:34

We're in a 1930s house with a recent little lobby built on the front by previous occupant, so presumably the door they have put in (which doesn't fit, leaks when it rains etc) would be a modern size. How different is that from earlier ones? We'd love to replace this one with a proper 1930s glazed one - these links are really helpful!

PigletJohn Tue 04-Aug-15 17:43:52

Doors still come in the common sizes, usually 30" indoor, 32" outdoor, might be 33".

36" outdoor is less common but nice in a big house.

Get your tape measure out.

uggmum Tue 04-Aug-15 17:48:20

I had the same dilemma. I had a 1930s door with stained glass in the door and surround.
But the glass was very thin and the door really needed replacing.
We looked at all options. Eventually we decided to have a new door made. We designed the door and the glass. It is fully doubled glazed too. It was not cheap but it looks lovely.

Fluffycloudland77 Tue 04-Aug-15 20:42:39

Wow. That is gorgeous.

I now officially hate my perfectly nice front door.

uggmum Tue 04-Aug-15 21:52:00

It was a labour of love and it took us a year to design it and go ahead. But it was worth it. The joiner was amazing.

RaisingSteam Tue 04-Aug-15 22:30:04

Our last house (an Edwardian one) we got the front door from a skip in the next road. Fitted perfectly, just needed a bit of woodwork to block up a 2nd letterbox and new glass.

Have your measurements to hand and then if you spot a good reclaimed one you can nab it.

Georgethesecond Wed 05-Aug-15 17:02:41

They sound small to me, pigletjohn. Just measured our lovely old one at 39.5"

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