When we installed the door over the summer, we measured the interior dimensions of the door opening and the exterior and counted our lucky stars that the doors sold at Home Depot were the same size. We had installed french doors in our old house, so we figured we had this down. Home Depot offers installation, but the doors were $400 and so was installation, and we just couldn't justify spending the same to have someone install the doors as we did to buy them in the first place.
We'll call that our second mistake. The first was one we wouldn't uncover until we were a few hours into demolition of the old doors and installation of the new ones.
Anyhow, we had my mom help us haul the doors home on the bed of her pickup truck, and when we were ready we first had to remove the old sliders. They had been installed when the home was built, and while popping out the doors themselves was easy and pulling down the vertical blinds on the inside was amazingly gratifying, the metal frame itself was a whole other issue. This is where we started to suspect maybe we'd made our first mistake: measuring. Because as we pulled the frame away from the wall with a crowbar, we discovered that the door had apparently been installed before the exterior wall had been completely finished, and while we could pull the frame out of the wall there was a piece of drywall overlapping the opening. So when we had finally prepped ourselves to pop the doors into place (shims at the ready, door caulking prepped, window and door seal glue spread out and ready to grip to the kickplate), we were disappointed to discover that the french doors wouldn't fit. They were sized for the same width as the sliders, but the drywall and stucco edge was blocking the door from sliding into place.
About an hour later, after using various tools to cut away at the drywall and stucco (which, p.s., had a layer of chicken wire between them), we finally had enough space to get the doors into place. But we were left with a very messy exterior and a gap between the top of the frame and the doorway. That gap was easily filled with a piece of wood cut to size and foam used to fill in the gaps, but by then we'd lost steam and figured we'd fix the finishing issues later.
That was in July.
So last night, we hit Home Depot again for some trim and door caulking. The interior was the easy part, with just a trim piece that is 1 5/8" nailed in with finishing nails and some caulk to fill in the gaps between the top of that board and the doorframe. The exterior was a little trickier, however. At the time we put in the door, we'd chosen to limit our sawing to one side of the door rather than going from left to right and back again. As a result, the gaps and exposed drywall/stucco edges were uneven from the left side to the right. We started with the top, filling the top edge out until it was flush with the door by nailing in 3 small boards (1" x 3/4"), then adding a piece identical to the trim piece we'd used on the inside. The sides required some quarter rounds placed flush against the door and caulking to fill them out. Then my mother-in-law did a light coat of paint over all of it. We'll have to go back on the exterior with colors that match the house's colors, but it's already so much better!
The exterior. MUCH improved.
Close up of the exterior. This is actually MUCh improved from how it was before but still in need of some finessing. Where the trim piece is above was all exposed wood, and where the quarter round is on the side was exposed drywall, stucco, and chicken wire.