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By 33frog
Hi, first post on here. I'm considering building my own replacement front door. The door is to be 45mm thick, flush, with a single window and letter opening beneath. It will have a paint finish as per the current door but to be awkward I wan't to be able to incorporate a flexible conduit within it for a wired video doorbell system. A concealed door loop will be used between the door and frame.

Given the need to conceal the cable and the doors simple design I got to thinking that I may be able to make this door myself but before I charge off and potentially waste time and money I'd like some advice as to whether my plans and choice of materials are appropriate or not.

My initial thoughts were to create a mortice and tenon frame similar to the image below using Meranti with a finished size of 27x106mm and face the frame on both sides with 9mm marine ply to give a finished thickness of 45mm. Was planning on gluing the ply to the frame. Obviously I'll need to ensure there's sufficient timber in the lock areas and I thought it may also be sensible to fill any voids with 25mm polystyrene sheet or cellotex type insulation. I intend to seal the ply edges and then fix a hardwood lipping to all edges. Any suggestions on thickness of lipping or is it a bad idea in the first place?

Incidentally, the existing door which dates from late 30s/early 40s appears to have been constructed in a similar way to that I've outlined. It's definitely hollow where framing isn't present but from what I can see the frame is thicker and the facing panels are much thinner (approx 3mm) and rather than a single sheet there are separate top, bottom and two sides on each face but there doesn't seem to be any lipping on the edges of the door. It's not rotten at all but the door shuts into a rebated frame and I suspect the accumulated dirt, paint and ill fitting draught excluders have caused the door to warp. The door is North facing but is quite sheltered by a porch overhang which may have helped it survive?

Appreciate any thoughts on my proposed construction.

Thank you.
Front Door plan.png
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By AndyT
I think the life expectancy of a new front door will be much greater than the life expectancy of a currently available video system, so you may be making things hard for yourself.

Would it not be possible to install the video bell in the door frame and avoid any need for flexible connections?

Or for a really negative (but possibly helpful) discussion of the things, have a look at this YT video
By 33frog
Thanks for replying Andy. I've not watched the video yet but I take your point. Forgetting the door bell would an external solid core door with apertures cut for the window and letter opening and hardwood lipping be an appropriate replacement for the warped original?

Out of interest, I understand it may be needlessly complicated but was my proposed construction flawed?
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By AndyT
It looks sound to me, but I suggest you wait for someone with experience of making external doors to comment on your plans.
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By Chip shop
Soz, but I'd never make an external front door like the one in your drawing. All rails need to be thru-tenoned into the outer stiles, and you really need a lock rail
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By Lons
33frog wrote:This is the route I've chosen to take.

Nothing at all wrong with wanting to make your own but can I ask why? It's not something I would do especially if being painted, ( unless I was using it as an excuse to buy some new "essential" toys :lol: )

I've used a number of standard external and fire door blanks and they've been trouble free for years, solid all the way through it would be simple enough to cut out a window aperture and lip it to accept the glass. Should be cheaper to boot. They are damn heavy to handle though.

By Adam9453
Exterior grade ply faced door blank (either 44mm or 54mm thick) is the way I'd go for a flush door with a vision panel and wireway etc. Cheaper, more stable, plus can be built to a fire rating level if required.
Sorry but I think making it yourself is a false economy and will likely produce an inferior product in this instance.
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By thetyreman
I would personally buy a firedoor blank, it's the best option and will be extremely stable, then again it depends if you want character or something more modern.
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By MikeG.
Insulation, people, insulation. Don't think of solid door blanks and so on when you're talking about an external door. You need to fit as much insulation in as you can.

To the OP: don't forget that your glazing must be laminated or toughened, and of course, double glazed. Be aware that external beading is easy to remove and thus a security risk for your house, but internal beading means there is a straightforward path for water to leak in. Building doors looks easy, but it isn't trivial. And 27mm timber looks a bit skinny to me, when you think of doing a through tenon. That would give you an approx 9 or 10mm tenon. However, If you make a decent external frame, those inner timbers don't need to be 105+, which of course will leave you more room for insulation. Oh, and don't forget your seals.
By Adam9453
Ok if insulation is a concern then use a moralt blank which is essentially made of insulation, plywood faced for exterior suitability.
Regarding the beads, Just make and fit security beads with the correct glazing system.
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By Lons
I don't think a 27mm frame would cause a problem as the m&t joints would be very strong once
9mm ext ply is fixed to the framework.
I think the seals on a door are the most important when it comes to insulation anyway. You can have a very efficient door construction but lose masses of heat through badly fitted or poor seals.

You're probably aware that external door replacement is a controlled fitting under building regs regarding thermal efficiency and safety so although I doubt you'd have a problem it is notifiable.

I'd still buy rather than make though unless I wanted an excuse to aquire some new router cutters or an additional router for that matter. :D