If you value simplicity above all else, then you may appreciate the straightforward look of wooden exterior door
s. They're flat, they're straight, and they're clean and simple. But if you like a bit more personality in your surroundings, standard doors just won't do. If you feel the need to add some charm, there's a great little trick you ought to know about. With just a little decorative molding, you can make your standard wooden exterior doors look like designer masterpieces! And this way, you'll get all the style at just a fraction of the cost it would take to buy new doors. All you need is some flat trim molding, wood glue, and a miter saw. Here's how it's done.
Removing the Doors
Before you get to work creating your DIY masterpiece, you have to remove the doors from their hinges. This can be done by tapping the pins up and out by using a hammer and chisel. If you have a friend around, ask them to help hold the door while you remove the hinges so it doesn't fall. You can certainly do this yourself, but it's easier if you have an extra set of hands. Now, set the door down in the area where you want to work. Face its front side up.
Measure and Mark Your Panels
Using your tape measure and pencil, decide where you want to place the door trim. Usually, paneled wooden exterior doors have four or six panels, so you'll need to measure four to six squares (or eight or 12, if you so desire). The panels should start at about three to five inches from each edge of the door, so they don't get in the way of the doorknob.
Measure the Molding
Now it's time to measure and cut the molding. The old adage 'measure twice, cut once' definitely applies here. Take note of the measurements you made for the panels and then double check them. Use a pencil to mark where you'll cut on the molding; just be sure to mark the inside. You don't want to leave visible marks on your finished wooden exterior doors.
Cut the Molding
Place the molding on your miter saw with the marked side facing in the direction of the blade. Position the mark right under the blade and turn the blade to a 45 degree angle, pointing inward. Now, it's time to make the cut. Do the same on the other side, except this time, you reverse the blade. It should still be sitting at a 45 degree angle, but just in the other direction. Cut again. If this process is completely new to you, you may want to keep a few extra pieces of molding on hand to account for mistakes.
Assemble Your Paneling
Place a thin line of wood glue on the underside of the piece of molding you plan to start with. Please keep in mind that a small amount goes a long way. Too much wood glue will leave a mess that could potentially ruin your project, so use it sparingly. Affix the cut piece to line up with the pencil mark you made on the door. Continue placing molding until you've completed one square, and then continue completing all of the boxes. It's surprising how quickly your wooden exterior doors begin looking paneled.
The glue will need to dry for at least one day, but then you're free to paint or finish as you'd like. Of course, the paint or finish will also need to dry, and then you're ready to hang the door!
Just because you bought a house with plain wooden exterior doors, it doesn't mean you have to live with it forever. You don't even have to spend a fortune replacing them! All you have to do is use this handy DIY guide to add the illusion of paneling to your doors. Guests won't know the difference and you'll have money left over to put towards the other home improvement projects on your list. If you're planning to paint the doors anyway, it's a great time to consider adding these easy decorative elements to your wooden exterior doors.
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