Planning for Your Door

There are many options for cabin doors, and we chose a prehung, insulated metal door with a window. Yes, it’s modern, but it doesn’t look out of place on the cabin. It also swings really nicely on ball-bearing hinges and the magnetic weatherstripping seals as tightly as a submarine hatch. One important thing to keep in mind regardless of the door you choose is to give some thought to the door size,  and not just for obvious reasons.

If you skip forward to Section 10: Insulating the Floor for a second and you’ll learn about the way we used the same kind of insulating panels on the subfloor that we did on the roof. This is a great way to create a floor that’s warm in the coldest winter weather, but the approach does mean you need to frame the rough door opening in a unique way, as you’ll see on the next video.

VIDEO: Raised Door Threshold

If you plan on installing a 3/4”-thick finished floor, for instance, and you’re using the same kind of 2 7/16”-thick insulation panels we did, you’ll need to install at least 3 1/4” of solid wood blocking at the bottom of your rough door frame opening. This raises the door up above the level of the finished floor, as you need it to be. Actually, you’ll be better off with 3 1/2” or 3 3/4”, to keep the door threshold slightly higher than the bare minimum.

Here’s how you prepare for window and door installation:

1. Obtain window units with an outer dimension that’s 1 1/4” to 1 1/2” smaller than the rough openings in your wall frames, and a door with a frame that’s 1 1/4” to 1 1/2” narrower and 3/4” shorter than its opening. The rough frame openings shown on the plans are: small windows 36” x 36”; large windows 36” x 59 1/4”; door 36” x 85”

2. Cut or buy wooden wedges for filling the space between windows/doors and the rough frame that surrounds them.

3. Obtain the right kind of spray foam for filling and sealing the gaps completely, plus a can of foam solvent. Foam is sticky and solvent is the only way to clean it off.

4. Gather a 24” level, a small handsaw and some thick paper towels for clean up.