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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Boston area
    Posts
    99

    Default Casing around un-plumb door

    I bought an 1865 Second Empire filled with large period trim, except around the front door which is tiny, featureless junk from the 70s or 80s. The door assembly has wood panels on both sides and a glass panel at the top, so the entire unit is almost 9'x6', maybe it was a replacement for a double door? Maybe in the 20s or meant to look like it? Half the porch looks period and the other half looks Craftsman... Anyway, I found appropriate trim and tore the ugly stuff off only to find the door leans in, a lot. It's about flush with the wall at the top, but a the bottom the door frame it sunk least 1/2 inch into the wall, maybe 3/4. The wall is pretty much plumb, but the door frame is WAY off.

    Now what? Do I cut a 9 foot long sliver of wood to fill the gap and hope no one notices? Do I dare try to remove and re-install the door which would require pulling up some of the wood floor as well and likely make the fiance unhappy? I don't think putting in the trim at a crazy angle would look good.

    Every frame in the house has a bead detail, then a victorian piece of trim, then an ogee back bead. If I made a wedge of wood it would be between the trim and the bead detail, and I fear obvious.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,842

    Default Re: Casing around un-plumb door

    Unfortunately working with crap ends up looking like crap. I would suggest removing the unit and reinstalling it properly.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Boston area
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: Casing around un-plumb door

    That may not be an option. I just checked the outside of the house and the door is flush, so I checked if it was plumb and the entire exterior wall is leaning inward part of an inch. I guess the installer had to pick one side to be flush with and went with the outside? But how the heck is the inner wall plumb, that means it's wider at the base....?!?!

    Very confused...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,842

    Default Re: Casing around un-plumb door

    Just a guess, but I would say your level wasn't long enogh.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Boston area
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: Casing around un-plumb door

    It was a 4' level and I tried in several places up the wall and casing, but I will double check with a weight and string tonight.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    6,758

    Default Re: Casing around un-plumb door

    Considering the limitations you have right now, it looks like you have some decisions to make. One option of course is what jlmcdaniel suggested. Another one is to find an experienced finish carpenter near you who might be able to help you.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    1,214

    Default Re: Casing around un-plumb door

    Hi,
    you must either cut a tapering shim so the trim follows the wall, or carve/plane material from the backside of the outer part of the trim so it (the unplaned full edge) follows the door frame. The latter I think is best.
    Casey
    Remove not the ancient landmark, which your fathers have set.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2,203

    Default Re: Casing around un-plumb door

    I don't always follow the "doors must be perfectly plumb" approach. If they're working fine then they need not be bothered with just to make them plumb. But with a whole inch variation on one side, you're going to easily see the difference which is not a good thing. If you're up to the job, what I'd suggest here is to set the door halfway between both the inside and the outside (which will be more plumb than it is now) and ripping the needed tapered filler to fit on both sides instead of just one, thus halving the problem visually. If this still doesn't look good, maybe you can apply a narrow molding across the tapered areas, dividing the difference similarly, so that no one place has more than 1/4" of taper involved. You can also have the door molding not fit flat to the walls on the sides, but taper there a bit as well. That should handle it so well that only us pro's and you will ever see it.

    Ideally one would fix the walls and the door, but this is not always an ideal world!

    Phil

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    27

    Default Re: Casing around un-plumb door

    With a lath and plaster wall, the plaster behind the casing can be cut loose from the lath to allow the casing to meet the jamb without a jamb extension.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Boston area
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: Casing around un-plumb door

    Since I'm sure you're all dying with anticipation to find out what I did here is a follow-up:

    I was going to cut a wedge to cover the jam, but realized there was no way I could have it merge with the bead detail. I considered cutting it to only cover half the jam but thought it would be ugly and obvious. So I split the difference and bought a bunch of square dowels (3/8" I think) and lined the outer edge of the jam. I shaved some of the plaster and lath down at the bottom of the door, cut back some wood, and used a lot of brute force to make the back band hold the trim down. The back band was a few 8ths of an inch too tall for the trim and I was originally going to rip it, but instead the tension of my wacky walls holds the trim up against it. I nailed it all together and there are very few gaps.

    It definitely looks not bad, maybe even pretty good. I'm happy. I can post a picture if anyone wants to see.

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