DIY Dutch Door for $63
An intrepid homeowner saves the cost of a new Dutch door to contain her dogs—by cutting her existing front door in half
Most dog lovers know what it’s like to greet a guest at the door with two excited pups scrambling at their feet, trying to break free. That’s exactly what spurred homeowner Lori Spiak to begin pricing out Dutch doors for her North Tustin, California, home—until she found they cost nearly $3,000 and weren’t even the style she wanted. Acknowledging that it was a risky move, Lori decided instead to cut her existing wood front door in half, just above its two large lower panels. Before taking it down, she installed a fourth hinge to support what would become the door’s upper portion and added an extra dead bolt. Then she laid the door flat, made a jig using clamps and scrap wood—as she had seen Norm Abram do on TOH TV—and made a straight cut with a circular saw, despite never having used one before. With both halves of the door rehung, she added a decorative ledge on the exterior and weatherstripping and molding on the interior to conceal the seam. Then she concealed the screw holes and touched up the existing paint.
Lori is thrilled that she took the leap. “I feel much more hospitable now that I don’t have to talk to my neighbors through a crack in the door,” she says. “Most important, the dogs are safe.”
After: Lori’s DIY-Dutch-door solution gave her a custom look for very little cash. The two-part door also offers the bonus of a nice cross-breeze in the evening, when the upper portion is open.
In the past, Lori Spiak’s two mixed breeds, Lana and Andy, would try to run outside whenever she opened her front door.
THE PROJECT TALLY
Installed a fourth hinge to support what would be the upper portion of the door $5
Purchased a dead-bolt jig and added a second dead bolt $30
Crafted a poplar shelf using a router with a 1/2-inch roundover bit and corbels detailed with a 1/4-inch Roman ogee $7
Attached the shelf using wood screws to conceal the seam on the exterior, then covered the holes with wood plugs $8
Hid the seam on the interior with weatherstripping and molding $8
Added a slide latch on the inside to join both halves of the door together $5