Parlez-vous Fran├žais?

When you look at door installation information – as in, how, as a newbie to install a door – there’s one fairly consistent piece of advice. Don’t start with a French door. We are now in a position to understand that more.

On Monday we framed up our French Door’s rough frame – it ended up taking much longer than expected and we ended up getting home much later than intended, with the door still sat next to the hole. Part of that was the amount of time it took us to buy supplies – because while there’s a lot of variation in suggestions of how you should do it, a lot of that debate was made moot by the fact that around here when we tried to find the right kind of flashing no-one stocks it. No-one stocks the corner reinforcement that’s recommended. No one stocks about 3/4ths of the items we’d put on our list.


So then yesterday I spent the morning boning up on how to install a French Door – again – and trying to munge together items from the list of things we could buy, and how to create something much like what was recommended. Then I headed over to the house and prepped the frame for installation. Kathryn arrived after work and a mere SIX AND A HALF SODDING HOURS LATER we had the door installed.

There was a moment about 4 hours in where we both experienced premature celebration.

We’d screwed in both sides of the frame. It was level, plumb, square, true. We shut the doors and opened them with great pleasure. And then we thought we’d just ‘pop’ the screws in the top of the frame having shimmed it to keep it where it was…

…and lo, everything twisted and changed. The doors would not close properly. The gaps were all off.

An hour later we’d managed to get it all back in shape. Then came the joy of putting in the locking mechanisms.

And finally.

Fina-fucking-ly, it was done.


Today has been similarly traumatic. I attempted to drill a hole to run a pipe through – the only stretch of vent pipe that has to run through an exterior wall. Half way through I thought it sounded ‘odd’ – looked – and I’d managed to find a nail (that holds the siding on). Much drilling with my metal drill bits later, I managed to (using a combination of grinding with the drillbit – totally inappropriate use of it, and my tin-snips) cut the nail out and get it sufficiently out of the way that I could finish making the hole.

Our 90° drill is dead, so that needs to go back. It just stopped turning.

Then the toilet.

Now, see, our house as we may have mentioned appears to have been built by people with only a passing acquaintance with common tools, like measuring tapes and levels. And as a result, one of the ‘quirks’ is that the first beam is 4″ out of place. Approximately. I realized this when I was trying to cut new floorboards and that last section, by the front door, is 4″ longer than all the others.

Now this becomes important, because we left our bathroom wall where it was, and previously, the toilet seemed to be curiously further from the wall than you’d expect.

Now, today as I drilled my tiny pilot holes to work out where to put the new toilet flange* I kept going “what the hell”.

Because I realized that the reason the toilet was weirdly far from the bathroom wall is that if not, it’ll run into the beam. It took me a while to work that out because also, it turns out, where we’ve chosen to put the toilet is right on the join between the old flooring and the new, where I’d put an extra reinforcing 2×4 screwed under the floor.

Eventually I worked it out, chopped the hole in the floor and managed to get the flange in. The toilet is going to be irritatingly far from the wall (or we’ll need a special toilet). But… there’s not really a lot of choice. I considered rotating it, but I’ve already run all the other plumbing to there.

Still, it’s done.

One more toilet to go, the laundry floor drain, and I need to come up with some way to indicate under the floor roughly where the shower and bath drains will be; then I get to go grovel under the house again. I just have to connect up the dots, then cap the whole lot off so it can be filled and tested, along with my fresh water plumbing.

Which is to say, progress.

*toilets here sit on a plastic ring on the floor, on which is deposited a ring of wax, and then the toilet sort of… squishes it to make a seal**.
** Yes, I agree.