August 8, 2012

Finishing the side doors

For real this time!  We talked about covering the edges of the doors with T-molding in this post about the door construction, but after a little over a month of sitting in the garage, the edges got bent and the more we looked at the overlapping detail, the less we liked it.  Unfortunately this meant we had to order new T-molding, but we figured it was a live and learn experience – and we have a lot of those.

While the new T-molding was on order, we still needed to sand down the door to get the correct spacing between the door and the side wall.  We decided to sand enough off to leave roughly a ¼” all the way around.  Then the door was fit in place with shims so that we could figure out the hinge.  The hinge was cut down to size and temporally screwed into place on both the door and wall of the trailer (we did three screws on each side).

After this we removed the hinge and sanded the face of the door down.  Then I was able to stain and protect the door with spar urethane in the same process we described here.

When the new T-molding arrived we decided to work as a team to figure this out.  We first slowly bent the top T along the edge of the door but installing stainless steel screws along the door and bending as we went.  The first time I think we bent it too quickly and it had a number of stress marks.  Luckily with the slower bending, they were much less noticeable.

For the corners, since we didn’t like the overlapping detail (and after asking advice from Grant of lil bear) we figured we have a go at mitering the corners.  I was able to locate an old protractor and to calculate the angle, you simply measure the angle and divide it in half.  We then traced the angle onto the molding and cut both the top and side molding with a hack saw.  After a bit of sanding with a rasp, it fit.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was a much better detail that what we had before.
We also mitered the trim at the bottom, a simple 45 degree angle.  On the hinge side of the door, both the curved top molding and straight bottom molding were cut flush with the edge of the door.

Next we carefully removed all of the T-molding so that we could attach some aluminum trim Darrell fabricated at his work.  This was done at the same time as the trim he made for the door opening.  This trim was glued on with construction adhesive with the corners overlapping to prevent leaking.  For the curved top we decided for a more simple fix and just cut a flat piece of aluminum to cover the exposed edge without trying to wrap around face of the door.  With this installed, we ran a bead of caulk along the T-molding and re-screwed it into place.  After all of this the hinge went back on and we attached it to the trailer!

Installing the 12x18 window proved to be a bit more of a challenge since it didn’t come with any instructions.  After pressure fitting the window and the frame in place, we were left with a gap leaving the door sandwich exposed.  There were screw holes on the inside frame but not the window itself, so we turned to website we ordered the window from to try and figure out how to attach the two pieces together.  It seemed to indicate that you needed to drill a hole into a small channel on the inside of the window frame.  So this is what we did and then we screwed them together.

We later figured out that by doing this we actually were drilling into the weep channel of the window.  During our water test water was definitely coming in!  AHHHH!  So to fix this, Darrell basically filled all of the holes he drilled with caulk and filled the underside of the window below the weep channel with additional caulk.  After it cured, we water tested again and had no leaks… yay!  There was still an ugly gap left, but we were able to buy some inexpensive foam tubing to fill it up.  It can easily be removed, which seemed like a good idea so we can periodically check on the window to see how the caulk is holding up.

The door handles were last on the list.  To do this we first had to decide on the position we wanted, then a hole had to be drilled through the door for the turning mechanism to push through.  After the weather stripping was installed (which I’ll talk about in the next post) the doors were too far out from the face of the interior wall for the latch to work.  We solved this problem by cutting small pieces of ¼” plywood to fit behind the inside latch.  This pushed it out far enough to have the latch engage while still keeping a tight seal.

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