Parent Q&A

Side Door Recommendations Jul 14, 2021 (3 responses below)
Replacing Washi Paper in Door Panels Mar 4, 2021 (1 responses below)
Interior barn door Aug 5, 2020 (2 responses below)
Back Door Replacement Jun 25, 2020 (1 responses below)
Installing a pocket door Jul 10, 2019 (1 responses below)
Contractor for new doorway Jun 3, 2019 (3 responses below)
Glass Sliding Door to French Door Project Jan 18, 2018 (2 responses below)
Edwardian front door? Where to find besides salvage? May 22, 2017 (4 responses below)
  • Side Door Recommendations

    (3 replies)

    Hello BPN,

    We would like to replace two back doors and are looking into fiberglass or aluminum. In particular we badly need a side door to a dark hallway and we were hoping to get at least half glass but are concerned about safety. We live in Redwood Heights and, although we love our street and neighborhood, there is crime and burglaries have occurred not too far away. We’ve looked at some options at Lowe’s and Home Depot. Does anyone know a specialty store that might have more options? Also, if installing a metal security door, does it need to be coordinated with the regular door? Thanks. 

    RE: Side Door Recommendations ()

    Ashby Lumber in Berkeley has a windows/door store.  They gave me a catalogue a year or two ago that had a lot of options.  No idea re security doors though.

    RE: Side Door Recommendations ()

    You might want to try getting Lexan instead of glass. But it is kind of pointless if there are other windows that they can use to break in. 

    RE: Side Door Recommendations ()

    We have an exterior door with a half window in it, and even if we replaced it with something more secure, it's next to another window which someone could break and then reach in and open the door from the inside. The solution our handyman proposed was a keyed deadbolt, which we lock and then store the key nearby where we can get it easily when we need to get out, but it's not accessible to someone leaning in through either the window or the door glass. Might that be an option?

  • Replacing Washi Paper in Door Panels

    (1 reply)

    I am hoping to find a craftsman who knows how to replace the washi paper in our Japanese sliding doors from the 1950's. Thank you so much for any recommendations!

    There's a Japanese paper store on 4th St, or there was a few years ago.  They might know.

  • Interior barn door

    (2 replies)

    Looking for advice of where to purchase a large barn door and who to hire to install it.  It will separate a TV room from a living room where there is currently an arched open doorway.  The arched opening measures 90" x 40".   Want to ensure the wall can handle the weight of the door before investing in the door.  

    RE: Interior barn door ()

    Check Economy Lumber in Oakland. We got custom-made 9'x9' double connected pocket doors there and they're amazing. I think they can do a wide range of doors. I'd imagine most contractors could install it.

    RE: Interior barn door ()

    Rusty Dobbs in Alameda made and installed a beautiful barn door in our house: His work is not cheap, but it's well worth it. 

  • Back Door Replacement

    (1 reply)

    I'm looking to having my back door replaced. Excluding the cost of the actual door itself can anyone tell me approximately how much it would cost a contractor or handyman to do this? I'd be happy to have recommendations for someone to do this as well.

    RE: Back Door Replacement ()

    We actually just replaced our back door a few weeks ago.  We ordered the door from Ashby Lumber and used their contractor to install it.  The installation cost about $700.

  • Installing a pocket door

    (1 reply)

    I am interested of installing a pocket door for our tiny bathroom. The current door swing inward and it’s just taking so much space to open and close the door. The problem is we have a linen closet next to the door, and we don’t want to lose this closet. So beside installing a pocket door, the work also involve move the opening of the close to inside the bathroom. I heard pocket door has a bad rep, as long as installed properly with quality hardware, it should last. Anyone has recommendation of contractor or carpenter with pocket door experience? Thank you.

    RE: Installing a pocket door ()

    I had the same issue and learned that installing a pocket door means taking out the entire wall. In your case losing the closet. My architect was here on another matter, and suggested reversing the door swing. My boyfriend did it, it swings out now, and resolved the problem.

  • Contractor for new doorway

    (3 replies)

    When we moved into our house, we noted that our back (external) door was smaller than expected--to interior door measures--and an interior door is currently installed, which is thin plywood.  We would like to replace this with an exterior door and need to widen the doorway.  What type of contractor does this work?  We aren't even sure where to start or how much to budget for this, so any help would be great.

    RE: Contractor for new doorway ()

    If you want to actually widen the doorway, you will need to go through the permitting process and work with a licensed contractor. Most can do this work, but the trick will be finding someone to take on a small job. I'd call a few nearby with good reviews and see what you find. But I'd also note that you don't necessarily need to widen the doorway if the goal is just to put in an exterior vs. interior door. Our back door is also sized to interior door dimensions (which is very common in most older homes in the area), and we just purchased a new exterior door from Truitt and White that was the correct size and thickness but designed for the elements. It's been in for 10 years with no problems.

    RE: Contractor for new doorway ()

    415-350-6215. Call Regina. They are small licensed contractors with affordable prices. Will do everything you need on remodeling including electricity. I always hire them .

    RE: Contractor for new doorway ()

    It will be hard to get a general contractor interested in a very small project, so I recommend working with someone who specializes in doors. I had a good experience with Jason Griffin of Windows Doors & More. He replaced a pair of french doors in my house (from ones with decorative glass lites, to a pair of more substantial doors that provided more privacy and sound protection). I know he installs exterior doors, though I'm not positive about whether he can do the wall demo in order to install a wider door - but it's worth contacting him to ask.  

    wdmremodels [at]


  • Glass Sliding Door to French Door Project

    (2 replies)

    Hi - we would like to get an old, malfunctioning glass slider replaced with a set of french doors in our house. Is this a glass company job, a handyman job, or a contractor job? Any professional in those categories you would recommend? Is this is the $2-3K ballpark? Thank you!

    If it's a non-standard size you'll need a window/door maker who can make the doors for you and install them. We had to shop around a lot to find someone who could do it and we hired Wooden Window ( and liked them. We paid about $3k, including installation - our doors are small, so it might be a bit more for more normal sized doors. I think if it's a standard size you could probably buy doors at home depot or something and hire a handyman, and I'm sure it would be cheaper! 

    I'd call Mike Flynn of Smith Weatherstrip. He knows everything about doors and windows. He did great work for us on our french doors, and I'm pretty sure he can build them as well as repair them.  510-547-6224.  

    I got a quote from Wooden Window to fix one of our windows and it was literally 10x what Mike charged, FYI.

  • Our Edwardian duplex could use two new front doors, and I am  coming up short on where to find something appropriate-- it seems Early Home Depot or Craftsman are the only choices out there. There are companies in the UK you can order from, but I'd love to find something that isn't going to cost us 4k. 

    Any one have a resource? I'd love to hear from you. 


    Consider a new door by contacting Truitt and White Lumber Co at 510-841-0511 as they can order many types and styles of doors from catalogs you can look at. Also talk with Frameworks at 510-653-7075 as they can make a custom door to your specifications. I have purchased doors from both businesses and they are of high quality.

    I'm not sure what you mean by "Edwardian." However, many styles are available in fiberglass. The Thermatru Smoothstar S90 looks a lot like many old front doors in our neighborhood. You might want to consider that. It is fiberglass, which stands up to the weather. But it is more difficult to modify or hang curtains on.

    Check out Urban Ore (900 Murray St across from Ashby Lumber) or Ohmega Salvage (2400 San Pablo Ave)
    Urban Ore has hundreds (perhaps thousands) of doors - but they are not always easy to access.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Questions Related Pages

Front Door Stainer/Painter Needed

Nov 2011

We've been working with Frameworks in Oakland to make a Craftsman style front door which better fits the style of our house than our current door. The door itself is wider than usual (also making it heavier than usual), and is of Douglas Fir. We want it to be stained to match our interior Doug Fir doors. We're just having a hard time finding someone to do the staining. (The person recommend by Frameworks would charge almost as much as the door itself costs. Yipes.) If you can recommend someone who does a good job, without costing a fortune, and who can also (hopefully) stain the door while it's on the hinges, we'd love to hear about him/her. Thanks in advance.

I'd highly recommend Ken White at (415) 533-0999 - he painted our interior, exterior, lacquered our cabinets and is about to paint our front door. He also epoxied our garage floor (which is way cooler to do than it sounds - LOL) Anyway, he'll come in low on the bid because he's been doing it for 30 years and he works for himself. He quick, professional and just a nice guy. Good luck! fresh paint
We had a new door (and windows) made by Frameworks (isn't Ralph the best?) and we loved the painters we used (we had entire exterior of the house painted at the same time). Antonio Chavarria of De Colores Painting was great to work with and did a fabulous job staining our door. Check out his yelp review (; picture #7 of 7 is our house and we are the review from Alameda. His price was competitive and the door looks *great*--we are always getting compliments on it. Anon
I think you should ask Hans Stahlschmidt for a bid. www.stahlschmidt- His guys did the most amazing job staining and refinishing the wood panels in our dining room, a 100 year old Craftsman. He is licensed and mid-range in cost, but well worth it. You would be very happy if he did your front door. Ginger

Door repair & replacement

(Also see reviews for Window replacement/repair )
Jan 2008

We have a beautiful old leaded glass front door that needs some repair. We have installed a new lock but it looks like there needs to be some veneer work done. The glass is all intact and in very good shape so I believe we are only in need of wood repair. I wonder if anyone can recommend a good carpenter for such a project? carrie

I can highly recommend Carl Gaard for this and any finished carpentry work- He has over 35 years of experience and has an incredible design sense- He is also a color expert- He is a great problem solver- he not only does carpentry, he designs too- He has completely redone my house- and it looks stunning- it is transformed- the colors he advised on and mixed (custom) look incredible- as well as the moldings- and general changing around. He is a one in a million! His number is 510-410-6812
(editor: phone number corrected 7/5/2009)
Oct 2007

Hi everyone. I just bought a condo and I need to change three windows and a sliding door. For the sliding door I would love to put a wooden French door. I know those are expensive and I'm on a VERY low budget (I'm a single mom). But a French door has always been my dream! Do you have any recommendations for someone who wouldn't charge too much (the less the better) and a place where I could find good, nice wooden French doors for the least possible. Also, I should point out my door is about 10 feet long. I appreciate any help. French-door lover

I would suggest going to door stores and pick out the brand and style number of the doors you want. Phone many of the door companies and check to get their pricing for the same door. I found a large difference between companies on the pricing for the same manufacturer. The cheapest I found and ordered was from Dolan in Pinole, even cheaper than the other Dolan stores. Checking around can save a bunch of money. happy Dolan shopper
August 2006

Re: Window replacemnet
I recently had a door installed by Ecore Contract (Bob Hodgson, 510-499-9234). They did great work, were very tidy and were very considerate and polite. I bought the door from V & W Patio Door, but I would NOT recommend them. After they gave me a door that was not the one I ordered, they told me basically that the fault was all mine and that I had agreed to this other door, which was of course not true. All rendered in a really offensive manner over the phone. Then they refused to take back the door, so I'm stuck with it. Awful customer service, complete lack of communication--don't buy windows or doors from them! Oakland

Adding another back door to the house

June 2008

We are interested in adding a second back door to our house. Can someone tell me what this would entail? Do we need to get permits? What kind of person would do this work - just a general contractor? Any and all input welcome since we don't know where to start. Thanks! Valerie

You should use a general contractor, and I am pretty sure that when you create a new opening on any wall of your house, you need a permit. You'll most certainly need an engineer to approve your plans. We just completed a large-ish remodel. Part of it entailed adding a door out of our dining room and adding small windows on either side of our fireplace in the living room. That part of the project was a bigger deal than I expected it to be. A few inspections we required before we could close up the walls. My contractor said that any time you open a hole in a wall, you compromise the structural integrity of that wall and the county building depts are picky about it being done right.

Making an arched doorway out of a square one

May 2008

I have a square doorway that I want to make an arch. I am not sure if it is even possible due to where the support beam may or may not be placed. There is maple wood paneling on one side and plaster on the other. Who do I call for a job like this? Do I need a contractor or just a handyman? Any recommendations? Needs a contractor?

Generally speaking, since you are not changing the width of the doorway, duplicating the existing header framing but moving it higher should do the trick. Sometimes it is wise to put up temporary bracing to support the opening until the framing is finished (not a big deal). There are various ways on how the actual arch is created. You can get a prefabricated archway, such as Easy Arch: Which can be ordered through either Piedmont Lumber or Ashby Lumber. The framing part has a difficulty rating of say, 6 or 7 on a scale of 10. The finishing part however, requires both patience and experience, I'd say an 8 or 9 on the difficulty scale. A building permit is probably required and you'll definitely want someone experienced to do this. A licensed contractor may be more expensive, but they are insured and you have redress in case of a dispute. People who specialize in remodeling are preferable because it requires patience to blend the old with the new. Have them show you an example of having had done this before and ask whether it was remodeled work or new construction. A picture is worth a thousand words. Good luck! Erich
Hi, I posed your question to my husband, a licensed General Contractor. He said that if you want the top of your arch to be above the level of your current doorway-top, it's likely that you would need a General Contractor to do the work, make a seamless transition to your existing walls, etc. If, on the other hand you want the top of your arch to be level with your current doorway-top, it's possible you could do the frame-removal, build and patching yourself because it would likely be a simpler project. Good luck with your project! Abby