Framing Out And Caulking Exterior Doorways

As exciting as it was to remove the sliding glass doors from our sunroom, it left a very unexciting task (by comparison) next on our list.

Removing all of the metal door frames left lots of exposed raw wood along the edges of each opening. Not only did it look unpolished, but it was recipe for rot (that recipe being rain water + raw wood = rot). So we jumped on this to-do right away.

When we got our house painted, this room had a lot of rot repair on the outside so we’re hyper-vigilant to the issue right now. So instead of filling those areas with wood, I splurged on PVC (i.e. plastic) since it holds up better to moisture. It was about $5 more per piece, but I figured it was worth knowing that it would last for decades without any rot. I did save about $25 by buying the pre-primed wood for the tops of the door openings (since they won’t likely come in direct contact with standing water).

Each of my boards measured 1″ x 6″ x 8′, which was just a smidge too wide for the gaps that I was filling. So in addition to cutting them a bit shorter, I had to rip a little off the sides using my table saw. Once I set my guide to the right measurement it made for pretty easy work.

Once everything was cut, I put some construction adhesive on the back of my board and the nail gunned it into place. It had been a while since I had a date with my nail gun, so it felt good to be back in the saddle. I made super handsome faces like this.

For the ceiling boards I also reinforced the hold with a few screws. I just didn’t totally trust adhesive + nails to keep it from falling on our heads at some point.

Installing the boards took me a couple of hours, only to be followed by an equally fun few hours of caulking. #YOLO

Our main mission was to caulk the gaps around the new boards (just say no to moisture creeping in there!) but we took the opportunity to fill any other cracks or gaps that we saw around the room. In addition to its rot-prevention benefits, this step also made the new frames look more finished.

When it came to caulking the bottoms, I learned from a similar experience on our last home’s porch makeover that I should use clear (not white) silicone caulk here. When caulking against brick it’s nearly impossible to get a straight looking line because the caulk gets smushed into the ragged surface of the brick. So clear caulk allows us to still seal things tightly, while the straight edge of the board still acts as the visual edge. Obviously it looks lumpy here since I didn’t smooth it with my finger yet, but once you do that it’s pretty clean looking.

I know, I know, riveting stuff. But at least it made the room look a little less unfinished.

And as you can see, someone is enjoying the new open space quite thoroughly.

We still need to paint the inside of the room (right now it’s cream, while the outside is white) but before we broke out our paintbrushes, we couldn’t keep ourselves from breaking into the ceiling…

More on that once we finish poking around in there. Here’s hoping we can actually loft this baby!


  1. says

    Things are really coming together! We are working on a built-in bookcase project right now where we are customizing an existing structure, so we are also using quite a bit of caulk to smooth out cracks.

    How will you deal with any snow that drifts in during the winter? Do you get snow in Virginia?

    • says

      We don’t get very much snow here (it doesn’t usually stick except for a few inches a year that usually melt by noon), but it’ll be a weather-proofed outdoor area just like the deck or an outoor patio. So it should hold up to rain or snow or hail. Now that you say that I’m excited to take a picture of it all covered by a dusting of snow if we get any this year!


    • Karyn says

      Ohhh.. I can just picture it for Christmas: little potted pines sitting near the bases of the vertical supports all covered in lights twinkling under a dusting of snow!

    • Meredith says

      I have a similar question for heavy rains/winds and the occasional inland hurricane. I suppose you’ll just bring the furniture inside? Looking great!

    • says

      Oh yes, we’ll treat it like the deck, so anything we’d bring in for a possible storm outside on the deck or in the sunroom will get stashed in the garage.


    • says

      “We don’t get very much snow here (it doesn’t usually stick except for a few inches a year that usually melt by noon),”

      Oh, real fine, there. When we get hit with Snomaggedon 2014 along the Mid-Atlantic this year, at least we’ll know who to blame!!

  2. says

    WHOA/WOOHOO to that last ceiling picture! I love demo. And, I also got to use a nail gun this week–my dad’s bajillion pound one that shoots out Regular Sized nails (read: big/scary). I felt powerful and made lots of funny faces.

  3. says

    I love your updates! We’re finally getting around to picking a floor for the kitchen… Can’t you two just come do it for us? That way I know it will be fabulous! ;)

    • says

      We love the idea of adding breezy outdoor curtains, and we’re open to adding screens if we need them down the line, but so far with the fan on the mosquitoes are saying “ain’t nobody got time for that!” and avoiding the wind current. Yesssss!


  4. says

    Those new boards definitely make the space feel more finished (or rather that there were never sliding doors to begin with!). Also, I’m very intrigued by this loft idea!

  5. Sarah says

    Ooooh! I want to see what you find in the ceiling. This is such an exciting project, probably one of my favorites that you guys have done. So awesome!!!!

  6. Rosemary says

    THIS IS VERY EXCITING. My fourth floor fire escape is my only “outdoor area,” so I’m living vicariously through you and your fancy veranda. It’s like a breath of fresh country air!

  7. Sarah says

    That last shot of John digging into the ceiling is like a season finale cliff hanger! AHHH! Can’t wait for more…

  8. says

    Is it weird I literally screamed when I saw John take down the ceiling!? I guess it was shocking because if you mentioned doing that before, I didn’t read it and I was all into the caulking (love to do it…weirdo) then BAM…rippin’ the ceiling!

    Waiting with baited breath to see more!

  9. says

    How cute is that candid shot of Clara throwing up the ball?! You guys should totally add that to the photo wall! Love it!

    The revamped sunroom/porch looks great too! Please tell us you are doing something super awesome with that ceiling?!

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