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Replacing a Basement Door for Free

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Replacing a basement door for free, and changing out the old door knob and door hinges.

You would think that replacing a basement door would be a simple weekend project, right?

You would be so wrong because, in this house, no project is ever quick or easy.

This one took us 3 months to finish. Yup, we started way back in January.

We didn’t work on it the whole time, but it did take a lot longer than we thought.

new basement door with new glass door knob

This is where we began.

The interior basement door is in our small living room so we have to look at it every night when we watch tv.

It really doesn’t look all that bad in the photo but it was. The dog/cat door was big and bulky, chewed up and glued shut.

old, dirty basement door with pet door

The inside of the door was plain old nasty.

I think the previous owners locked their dog in the basement and it chewed and clawed the door.

You can also see the lovely pink spray foam insulation. Insulation is a good thing and has its place, but this stuff is everywhere in our house.

All I know is that whoever sprayed it certainly did a thorough job. Yikes!

inside of old basement door

The first thing we had to do was to remove that ugly door.

Both the door and the frame had metal stripping around them, to make a good seal, so it all had to be removed too.

After we removed all of the metal strips, we had to scrape the old, chippy paint and repair all the holes.

closeup damage of old basement door

We had planned on buying a new door but found an old one in the basement that fit the opening of the doorway.

That was a huge bonus but…

There’s always a but. 😉

The only problem was that the door was a mess. It needed to be scraped and sanded on both sides before it could be painted.

Even after we sanded and painted the door it was far from perfect but, when you have an old home, nothing is perfect.

old door sitting against garage door

So, instead of looking at the ugly door, we looked at an open doorway and 2 boxes for 3 months.

The boxes were our idea of a cheap baby gate to keep Finn from following us into the basement.

living room view of basement door opening

Finally the “new” door went up.

The fit isn’t perfect because the doorway isn’t perfectly square but, as I said…

Old house=nothing is perfect.

new basement door with new glass door knob

I tried to recycle everything when I could, including the hardware, but it just wasn’t salvageable.

The door knob was old but not original glass like the others in the house and the metal door hinges were caked with paint.

I replaced the old broken knob with another one from Nostalgic Warehouse and it matches the glass door knobs I installed in the bathroom.

I can’t tell you how much I love them.

new basement door with new glass door knob

We had to modify the door a bit to get the new door knobs to fit.

Luckily the new door knob plate covers the ugly holes.

hole in door where old glass knob was installed

I think it looks so much better than it did before. Like it’s been here all along.

new basement door with new glass door knob

I’m so glad that we found this door in the basement.

Finding a new door that matched the others would have been tough, and expensive.

small potted plant with doorknob in background

See our tips and tricks we learned replacing our 70 year old glass door knobs.


  1. The “found” door looks great and definitely looks at home there. None of our doors/jambs are square, and this is a nearly new build. Also that poor dog.

    1. Thanks! I think we lucked out in finding the door. There’s more dog damage to the woodwork in other rooms (an out deck) so it will need to be changed too.

      I appreciate you stopping in.

  2. Brenda Lane says:

    Brenda, Florida

    What a difference the new door makes in your living room! Great job. I was noticing how beautiful the wood floors are too. I wish I was going to the flea market with you. Is that the big one in Greensboro? Been there, such fun.

    1. Thanks Brenda, it definitely improved the look of the living room. So glad it’s done. πŸ™‚

      I’d love it if you could come to the flea market too. It’s actually in Liberty and they have it twice a year. I’ve been looking forward to going for weeks.

      Hope your weekend is a good one. πŸ™‚

  3. Pat DonBrosky says:

    Well, I for one am saying “WOW!” It has mad a huge difference, and as usual, you did a beautiful job. Now where is this antique show?!

    1. Thanks so much Pat, I appreciate your “WOW!”. πŸ˜‰ I think it made a huge difference too.

      The antique show is in Liberty, NC. They have it twice a year and it’s really a great show.

      Happy weekend!

  4. Your house is so pretty. I’m sure it feels great to have that door project completed. It may be low impact decorating, but it really does make a difference! And that doorknob hardware is great. Have a good weekend!

    1. Thanks so much Julie! It does feel great to have it done. Hubs especially hated that door so he is thrilled that the old door is gone. I, on the other hand, am thrilled about the door knob. πŸ™‚

      Hope your weekend is great!

  5. You guys did a great job bringing that old door back to life. It looks wonderful and nearly brand new. Of course your new door knob takes it to another level and I’m still amazed at how you made your fireplace mantel look as though it was originally made with a two level wood piece. You guys are so good. I absolutely love everything you’ve done there.

    1. Thanks so much Pat, I appreciate your sweet comment. It’s been a challenge but we’re learning a lot and slowly making progress. I’m happy with the way it’s shaping up in the living room.

      Thanks for following along. Hope you have a great weekend!

  6. I totally get the old = nothing is perfect thing! Been there. I just call it charm and your door has tons of it! πŸ™‚ Great knob!

    1. Yes, charm would be a good word to use. I’ll have to remember that the next time we’re replacing a door or a knob. Phew…no project has been easy in this old “charmer”. πŸ˜‰

      Happy weekend my friend!

  7. The door looks great, Kristi. How fortuitous to find a door in the basement that fit the opening. Of course, the door knob is sensational. Well done! xo

    1. Thanks so much, Nancy. I’m surprised we found a door that was just the right size. We usually aren’t that lucky. πŸ˜‰

      Hope you’re getting some nice spring weather. Happy weekend!

  8. I say wow because if I had seen that door I would have run the other way. LOL I can’t imagine you looking at that door every night. Great job on the refinish of an old door. I look forward to your pictures from the antique flea market. This week end I am going to try and install the window AC in my studio. Wish me luck, because I will need it!

    1. Thanks! It was definitely one ugly door. LOL I’m glad it’s gone but there are bigger fish to fry (believe it or not). πŸ˜‰

      Hope you have a great weekend Debbie. Good luck with putting your AC in.

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