Rot Door Frame in Entry

A few days I woke up early to bring out the trash and noticed the door frame in the entry leading down to the basement was all gouged out. I came stomping up the stairs yelling, “What the heck are doing ruining 18th-century molding?” I knew I had heard him downstairs late that night making some kind of mess and I was rather annoyed.

As Greg explains he was removing the rot. The wood was so soft that the door would never hang. My rebuttal, “Well we never open that door and don’t you think it’s better to preserve it?” Anytime I want to fix something he always throws the preservation zinger in my face. Yes, I was acting childish but it felt the right moment to throw it back at him. I asked, “What are you gonna do fill it with wood putty?” You hear the annoyance in my voice but I’ve become extremely frustrated with the picking and picking of every project. To him it will never be perfect…The den molding we’ve been painting; He decided to re-sand a few spots and fill with putty because the gouges were annoying him. In my head I’m screaming, Just finish a damn project!!!

The damage has been done to the door frame and now we need to come up with a solution. He removed the molding covering the top of the rotted frame. The wood is one solid piece extending the whole width of the wall. I guess we cut out the rot wood and replace it with a new piece. Hopefully, once the jam is painted and the door rehung with HL hinges we’ll hardly notice the difference.

Ah the trials of a house renovation…

Related Posts:
Front Entry Progress
Restoring Door Jamb in Den
Learning More About HL Hinges

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  1. Hey guys,

    Greg thinks he figured out a solution to fix the frame. He asked me to note the rot was from powder post beetles….common in old homes.

    Stay tuned for more. Sorry for the lack of renovation posts. With the new year we made a promise to be better about other adult things like setting up life insurance, saving plans and retirement funds. Fun! Not, but necessary for me to sleep at night.

    My goal for 2012 is to finish the exterior. So some of the interior side projects might be curbed to put all our funds into the exterior project. I need one big project done rather then a bunch of pieces…cause I’m going crazy.


  2. I just found your old house blog and I love the pictures and stories. My wife and I are on our second 18th century house in Connecticut, so we definitely feel your pain! Our current house is a 1741 center chimney colonial that was restored back to its colonial “glory” back in the 1960’s. You can see it here:
    Of course that was 50 yrs ago so much of it needs restoring again. There are many areas that were never touched so we are continuously finding artifacts and curiosities – including an 1870s gold pocket watch and a 1787 Connecticut copper coin. I look forward to reading about your discoveries.


  3. Katy-How about some replacement molding from Anderson McQuaid in Cambridge? We have a historic house in Salem, and AM carries a number of simple profiles that match what we’ve already got in the house. Some of our replacement millwork will be custom, but we’ve used their millwork in places and it’s high quality and reasonably priced. I replaced trim around a doorway situation similar to yours myself with nowhere near Greg’s skill level!


  4. Can hear the frustration in your words Hang in there, Katy. It will all be beautiful and more finished eventually. But thank you for being honest enough to share this perspective of home renovation, too, warts and all.


  5. oh goodness – boys. that’s what i always say when i’m frustrated because my husband and i are just not seeing it from the same angle. we’ve only done cosmetic re-do’s in the places we’ve lived and we work well together but even then you run into little snags. boys! (and they’re surely yelling to themselves “girls!!”)


  6. I have an expert renovator friend whose motto/watchword to live by is “one room at a time.” He’s been doing two rooms a year or something and is almost done now that he’s lived in his house six years. But he works on it full time.

    Meanwhile, we’re still doing structure and doing things over that were supposed to be fixed two years ago. So we haven’t even gotten to “one room at a time” yet. Sometimes I fantasize about which room I’ll start first.


  7. Love your blog Katy- from a follower in Maine.

    Ah, yes, the trials of home renovation! My husband and I bought a 100 year old home in Maine last year and our patience with each other has been tested a gazillion times over. Can totally relate. I’ve taken a low blow at him more times than I can count. Ah, the good times.

    We always joke that the house is just like a marriage in the sense that it’s a process. You aim for the goal of beauty and after you fall on your butt a dozen times you realize you’ve learned patience along the way. Sort of.

    Good luck… hang in there!


  8. Thanks for sharing Emily. House renovation is not easy, some days your fine and have the patience of a saint and other days you feel like a crazy person yelling and being cranky about the silliest of things.


  9. I can readily admit that I too have had my childish moments during our renovation, in which we’ve lost nearly everything of potential historic value in the name of “structural integrity.” Which, let’s face it, is pretty important in a house that you intend to live in!

    After 3 long years of living in a kitchenless house, hoping it would be worth it, I sat down and cried like a spoiled child when my 110-year-old fireplace — my favorite feature — had to be torn down and rebuilt in a completely different fashion. (

    But, months later, I admit it actually looks okay in my almost-done kitchen, so my heartbreak and childishness has come full circle. (

    Fortunately, our house was such a worthless wreck to begin with that despite these losses, it’s becoming actually habitable and therefore much more valuable. Very different from your scenario, where preservation is deeply meaningful. Hang in there! You’re entitled to frustrations now and again!