Entry Door and Transom Window Replacement
Replacing an Entry Door and Transom Window
By Matt Weber
Our latest door-replacement project was a taller order than usual. This particular entry upgrade came with an overhead transom. Essentially an extra window above the door, the transom opens up the living space, and along with the new door’s insulated glass option, brings much more natural light into the home. The transom first had to be attached to the pre-hung door for installation, and here’s how we tackled the project.
Out with the Old
The homeowner had a few problems with the old metal door. Over time, impact damage to a metal door can result in dents and dings that hard are to ignore, and this door had a few. Furthermore, a previous homeowner had painted the door (improperly), and the afternoon sun that blazed down upon the black paint each afternoon would cook the coating and cause it to peel. Lastly, the homeowner simply didn’t like the big dark slab that blocked out the light and the outdoor scenery.
The new door and transom were ordered from Therma-tru. The pre-hung insulated entry door comes from the company’s Smooth Star product line and is made of rugged compression-molded fiberglass with deep, detailed panels. The design creates attractive shadow lines and contours on the door’s surface, and the fiberglass resists damage from day-to-day traffic and will never rust or corrode.
The homeowner selected “chord” style glass from Therma-tru’s many glass options, and used it for both the door and transom.
The old entryway included a storm door, which we unscrewed from the jamb and removed. We then took out the old entry door, which was a little more complicated. Keep in mind any electronics that are associated with the door, such as a hard-wired security system. Disconnect the system and be careful not to accidentally cut the wire. It may help to tape the wire out of the way while you replace the door.
Take the door off its hinges and then back out the hinge screws to remove the long stud screws that hold the jamb to the framing. Remove screws from the sill as well as the bolts of the door strike. Use a razor to cut loose all caulked joints. Pry off either the casing on the inside or the brick molding on the outside to allow removal of the jamb. If the jamb is still not loose in the framing, then additional fasteners must be holding it to the house. Run a reciprocating saw with a long blade between the jamb and framing to cut through any remaining fasteners. This should free the door so you can tip it out of the rough opening for removal.
We donated the old storm door and metal entry door to our local Habitat for Humanity branch, where they will be reconditioned and repurposed by other homeowners.
The entryway in this project was protected from rain by a deep overhang, plus the jamb was set off the ground on the lip of the mortared house wall. This design keeps the bottom of the door from exposure to pooling water, but if this is not the case for your door then we recommend installing a sill pan in the rough opening beneath the new door.