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. Zvezda says

    Petersiks it’s amazing how much you’d already tackled on the outside of the house. It looks great, kudos!

    Has it rained yet, with the former-sunroom now being open? Does the area stay relatively dry? I was curious with the day bed being outside, how the matress and sheet combo was holding up to the outdoors…

    • says

      It rained between opening things up and adding the trim pieces. Thankfully almost everything under the roof stayed pretty dry except for about 6″ around the perimeter. I’m sure if it really blew things under there could get damp though, so our plan is to waterproof all the furniture (using deck or patio furniture so we don’t have to worry about it).


  2. Lisa says

    This is your most cliffhanger-season finale like blog post ever! Whoa! Didn’t see that coming! Can’t wait for the follow up.

    True confessions… did you just do this to the sunroom/veranda over the last few days, virtually real time to the blog posts, or are we a week or two behind what has really been happening to the veranda?

  3. Lindsay says

    LOVE it! The open-ish of the patio reminds me of a patio on a vacation house. DREAM! Can’t wait to see if you can “loft it” Good work guys!

  4. Lizzy says

    I love the open space! We used one of those PVC boards for the window trim that sits directly behind our kitchen sink – you’d never know it’s not real wood.

  5. lynn says

    I love this project. Already it’s such a great transformation and I look forward to seeing how you finish the space. You’ve mentioned the living room being dark because of the “veranda” and it loos a bit dark in these photos. Have you considered skylights to brighten the whole space and living room up?

    • says

      So funny you should say that! We were just talking about that but we’re not sure if we like the shade that the “veranda” provides (if we want sun we can just sit out on the deck, so we like the idea of being able to hide under the roof to get shade for now). We’ll have to see though. We could definitely add those down the line!


  6. Julie says

    Wow! I love how this project is coming along. I wish I lived in a warmer climate where this would be a good option for us. Can’t wait to see it finished!

    • says

      I love that brick border! Unfortunately it’s covered in glue and holes from those sliders being installed (boo!) so we are thinking when we tile the floor (we want something rough so it’s not slippery like the concrete) we’ll just go flush to the deck with the new tile. It’s inspiring me to add a border detail though, so we might go for that!


    • says

      That does sound pretty! Not sure since the facade of the house is brick if that would clash, but we can’t wait to bring some samples home and see what we like!


  7. Sarah says

    I’m having a tough time selecting the links in the header for some reason. I wonder if anyone else is having the same issue or if it’s just me.

  8. Susan says

    I love how you guys are putting more Clara in your pictures. I am not usre if it’s on purpose or not : trying to get a three year old to stay out of a shot I can imagine is difficult. But it just makes everything seem more homey! Thanks for sharing little glimpses of your life.

  9. Karyn says

    I am curious about 2 things:

    1. You can still see some exposed wood around the edges of the new tops that you put in each opening (pic #6), any plans on painting that or something else to protect that wood?

    2. What are your plans for the concrete floor now that this will be an open sunroom (how will it differ from the approach to the concrete floor you had in house #1’s sunroom)? Will you try to blend it with the brick edging? In the full shots (like pic #1 & #10) the brick edging is tricking my eye in that it looks like a strip of unstained deck boards.

    • says

      Oh yes, we still have to paint the edges and the entire interior of the room! As for the floor, we’re planning to tile it just because the concrete is really slick and we want something with more grip. I think it’ll look like one of those swanky tiled cabanas when we get to that step!


  10. Jess says

    Caulking is horrible work, but the payoff is amazing. And the ceiling is a Bravo cliffhanger if there ever was one. Off topic, but Gretchen’s face when she was trying to cry on the part two of the reunion was SCARY. Let it be a lesson about the dangers of Botox, children. .

    • jillian says

      Ohmygosh, I thought the same thing! I wasn’t sure if I was being judgmental, though. Very scary looking. I’m glad someone else thought that, too.

    • Abby says

      I thought so too! It was almost like she was forcing herself to cry, but maybe that’s the dangers of Botox! It’s been a crazy interesting reunion! I’d love a Real Housewives post through Sherry’s eyes…just sayin’ ;)

    • says

      Haha! I feel like my commentary would go something like this: “and then ___ and ___ started fighting and I was like “what’s going on?!” and then _____ came in wearing something crazy and it made me smile and then ____ was crying in the background and I felt bad but then I wondered if it was even real. My underlying thoughts are “is this really happening?!” “how did this happen?” and “is this for real?”


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