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

    Wow! You guys know how to do a lot of stuff! I want to vault the ceiling in our living room, but I DO believe that would be a bit more intense. It looks like that outdoor space won’t have any insulation/electrical issues when you loft that baby? Also, Sherry, I wanted you to take a look at our house tour. Thanks for all the inspiration Young House Lovers!

  2. Dena says

    Nice caulking job – I always make a mess of it and often go back, remove certain areas and redo. I also love the nice sneak in of the #YOLO hashtag, by the way.

  3. says

    We are currently adding trim to our screened in porch, so I hear ya on the finishing deets not being quite as exciting :) It looks really great though – this room would look a-mazing with a nice vaulted ceiling.

  4. says

    Been thinking of you guys & that ceiling. We are in the process of putting bead board panels on our porch’s ceiling. It’s lofted and I didn’t think we would EVER get the panels installed all the way to the top of the peak. Can’t wait to see how yours turns out. Great work so far.

  5. Vanessa says

    Is it wrong that I am SO excited about this project. I do not even live with you guys and I am SO excited. :)
    The picture with Clara is just beautiful, you are so lucky to have that not only that big beautiful deck but now this area as well. I love every single thing you are doing with this house. This is like the dream house. I cannot wait to see where you go with the ceiling. I am sure it will be great. I would love to just sit out there in the shade and NAP! LOL

  6. emily says

    You know, I’m always a fan of y’all’s projects, but this one might be my favorite. What an inspiring project. It makes the space look so… expensive!

    • says

      It was just sort of an off-handed mention in Monday’s post (we linked to a room with a pretty blue beadboard ceiling that had been lofted). Oh man, here’s hoping we can do it because I’m in love.


  7. meg says

    I’m confused – isn’t it a problem to have the drywall just open to the elements, even on the inside side? I’m in Canada and I can’t imagine that that would be ok, but maybe it’s ok where you are?

    • says

      Sorry Meg, we touched on that in the bottom of the post on Monday but forgot to refer to it again here. It’s actually not drywall on those walls – it’s wood with exterior paint on it! We believe this used to be a screened porch, so it’s made with outdoor-friendly elements.


  8. Laura says

    So completely off topic, I had a dream last night that I ran into Sherry and John in a park with Burger. I went to pet Burger and accidentally ‘shocked’ him with a little static electricity. Sherry was so mad and grabbed him and stormed off and I was so upset with myself lol. Where do our brains come up with this stuff??

    I love the veranda, in more related news :-)

    • says

      Boo! So sorry guys. Don’t know what’s going on. It would be helpful to know your broswer info, if you’re on a smart phone, and if things work again if you clear your cache/cookies/data. Thanks!


  9. says

    WOW, I really love this. It’s one of those things that I would have NEVER thought of…but it’s amazing. I feel like it actually elevates the house. I think that’s one of the best things about having experience moving doors, walls, etc…you can start thinking outside of the box.

    It’s also so great how having a problem leads to a creative solution that you may have not designed yourself if you were doing it in the first place…but ends up being so ideal in the end! Nice job guys! :)


  10. Renee says

    Clara looks like a little woodland fairy in that last picture of her w/the ball! she’s so cute!!

    also, where did you get your white outdoor table w/the chairs and umbrella? looking for one like that myself and just can’t seem to find it! thanks! :)

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