Evidently I didn’t to such a swift job at including all of the DIY details on this project, because y’all had lots of questions! And it was mostly the same few questions over and over, so I clearly left out a few steps. Let’s see if I can clarify some things. 🙂
(If you missed the big before and after of this French door project, you can see it here.)
First up, attaching the fretwork panel to the door.
I started out with a six panel door that I had cut the entire center portion out of. So the inside edges were just flat, or as flat as they could be after I cut the panels out. They were actually pretty rough, but there wasn’t any kind of rabbet or anything like that.
So to attach the fretwork panels, I simply placed a bead of wood glue around the outside edge of the fretwork panel, and then placed the panel inside the cut out on the door. I made sure that the front of the fretwork panel was flush with the front of the door, and then I used 1 1/5-inch 18 gauge finishing nails to nail the panel to the door. The arrows in the picture below show the direction I nailed the panel to the door.
Obviously that took care of the panel being attached to the door, but it didn’t leave a very pretty finished look since there were slight gaps in some areas between the panel and the door. So in order to cover those up, I used some small 1/2-inch-wide trim. I found this at Home Depot in the area where the trim is sold in whole 8-foot lengths. I attached this trim so that it barely covered the small gaps between the panel and the door, and I attached it using wood glue and 1/2-inch finishing nails, making sure that I shot the nails through the trim and into the door, and not into the fretwork panel.
Then you can see that I added some larger trim around the outer area of the door. Once all of that was attached, I wood filled all of the nail holes, sanded, caulked any areas where trim meets door/fretwork panel, primed, sanded, and painted.
Once the door was painted, I was ready to insert the glass. But first, I frosted my glass with Gila frosted window film. You can get this at Home Depot, Walmart, and probably Lowe’s. It’s a very simple process. Clean the glass, spray it thoroughly with Gila window solution, remove the plastic protective sheet from the film and place it on the glass, squeegee out the window solution. You can watch the Gila video here for more details. This is my third time to use this window film, and I just love it. It provides complete privacy, even at night with the light on in the room. I used it on our bedroom window at the condo, which faced a busy parking lot on the first floor, and I never bothered to close my window shades after that. Seriously.
And now, inserting the glass…
I spread out a canvas drop cloth on the floor and placed the door on the floor with the front facing down and the back of the door facing up. I carefully placed the piece of glass into the opening so that it was lying flat against the fretwork panel.
Next I applied a thick bead of clear silicone sealant around the edge of the glass, right in the corner where the glass meets the door. And then I cut pieces of 1/2-inch square dowel rods and placed them right on top of the glass and right next to the door. I then used 1 1/2-inch finishing nails to secure the dowel rods to the door. I actually realized this morning when I took these pictures that I forgot to finish painting the dowel rods on one of the doors, but it actually helps you to see what I’m talking about a bit better.
So you can see how those dowel rods are placed on top of the glass, and then they’re secured with nails driven through the dowels and into the door, much in the same way that the fretwork panel was attached.
Square dowel rods come in 36-inch lengths, so I used six dowels for each door — one for the top, one for the bottom, and two for each side — cut to size with my miter saw.
And now, here’s a view of the doors from the back side. Pay no attention to this ugly wall. All of this siding will be torn down and the room will be rebuilt eventually. But you can see that the fretwork panel is visible, but it’s very subtle. And it only really shows up if there’s a light on in the room, or if the sun is shining brightly through the front living room window. The sun through the living room window is why the fretwork panel on the door on the left is more visible in this picture.
But as far as privacy goes, again the window film offers complete privacy. In that picture above, I had my dog sit about 10 inches just on the other side of the door on the left, and you can’t see him at all in the picture. In fact, I thought that he had gotten impatient with me and had walked away, but when I opened the door he was still sitting there. He’s such an obedient boy. 🙂
And finally, the cost…
- Doors: free!
- MDF panel: $29
- 3/16″ tempered glass: $170 ($85 each)
- Window film: $21
- Trim: $145
- Caulk, wood filler, paint, primer: on hand
- Door pulls: $40
- TOTAL: $405 ($202.50 per door)
That’s not too bad for completely custom French doors, right?
That makes me wonder how much something like this would have cost if I had them commissioned by someone who does custom doors. Hmmmm. Anyone have a guess?