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BY GOLLY the last couple of weeks have been packed. While I’m
working on pulling together a post for the wild and wholly ride
restoring the side of my house (it’s done! finally! mostly!),
I wanted to pop in and share a smaller project I tackled last week
on my long-suffering garage! We took
a brief and enlightening tour of the garage’s status back in
August, including a bunch of work that I’ve put into it over
the years, so feel free to catch yourself up if you’re
In a nutshell: I have, over time, made small and large-ish
gestures toward improving my garage. I have also, over time,
generally failed to really see these garage-centric projects
through to polished completion. Why? Because there’s a whole lot
of house that keeps me more than occupied enough, so the garage
takes a back seat. Various smaller tasks have been put off until
some later date TBD, which is fine and par for the course except
for the part where seeing those unfinished items bothers you every
single day for months or years. Ya know. It’s not fun having that
stuff hanging over you.
SO. Having wrapped up the majority of what I wanted to get done
this fall on the side of the house AND being blessed with a few
more days of nice fall weather, I took the opportunity to tie up
some of these loose ends on the garage! I FEEL SO MUCH BETTER!
Allow me to explain myself.
Last time we saw the garage, I’d painted it black, gutted the
interior, added a ton of lumber storage, redone the electric, and
added a set of 5′ wide french doors to the back to provide easier
access for large and unwieldy items that frequently get moved in
and out. Of course, in this time I’ve also
torn off the back of the house twice, the
side of the house once,
brought massive amounts of soil into the yard,
built raised beds, hauled as much wood in as I’ve brought
out…the garage has taken kind of a beating and the time was nigh
to give it a little attention.
With all that work behind me you might think there wouldn’t be
that much in front of me, but you’d be so adorably wrong, you
cute sweet thing. Haven’t we gotten the hang of this by now? The
rule is, there’s always more to do. So there are some parts I’m
not mentioning, like how that little old deadbolt on that little
skinny old door above Mekko’s head in that first picture
is…well, we’ll generously call it decorative. It used to work.
By some miracle the key actually was conveyed to me at the house
closing, and by some additional miracle I didn’t lose it. But at
some point it stopped latching, and no amount of fiddling seemed to
Instead of fixing this security-breach-waiting-to-happen, I went
ahead and installed
a set of french doors that come with no hardware whatsoever! I
elegantly painted one coat on the exterior of the doors, and then
only scraped the glass on one of them, leaving the decidedly “in
progress” look you see above. Which kind of stops being
acceptable after a couple of years.
SO. With a broken deadbolt on one door, and the other set of
doors being held closed inside the garage with a heavy object that
successfully defeated the wind blowing the doors open but wasn’t
likely to stump a person, we have some issues. SECURITY CONCERNS,
you may call them. NOT SMART, DANIEL. Particularly as I have
steadily filled the garage with lots of lumber but also various
valuable outdoor power equipment that I’d be super duper
incredibly bummed to have walk off. Unfortunately this concern has
actual basis—the garage did get robbed once, years ago. I
hadn’t owned the house long and there wasn’t much out there,
but this is why I no longer own a bike! I miss my bike. Some jerk
has my bike.
So. Let’s try to avoid that happening again.
Here we’ll be replacing an old surface-mount deadbolt with a
new, regular through-the-door deadbolt, so the first order of
business was removing the old one! Obviously different brands/eras
will mean different designs and parts, but generally you can do
this as long as you have access to both sides of the door and a
My surface-mount deadbolt was mounted to the door with a
bracket, and then the lock housing was attached with three flat
After removing all of the parts from the inside of the door,
removing the exterior trim was easy-peasy. Insert key and pull.
Here’s where things get slightly tricky. Because most of the
surface-mount deadbolt’s guts are in the surface-mount housing,
the hole in the door is way too small for a modern deadbolt where
the guts are housed inside the door. This hole was 1.5″ or so,
but my new lock called for a 2 1/8″ hole. At this point I could
have decided to just drill a new hole below the existing one and
patch the old hole, but that’s one of those solutions that’s
somehow lazy and also more work.
For larger holes like this, you’ll need a hole saw. Over the
years I’ve just bought them piecemeal as-needed, but it’s nice
a snazzy set with a little carrying case if you’re fancy like
that. In case you’ve never used one, essentially that part in
the bottom fits into your drill, and that drill bit in the center
kind of acts as a pilot to anchor your hole saw in place while you
drill. Without that small bit (it’s removable in case it breaks),
it’s pretty much impossible to keep the hole saw in
place—instead it’ll jump all over the place, damaging your
surface and making you so sad.
So. The problem is thus. There’s already a hole where that bit
needs to drive in to keep my hole saw from walking as I drill.
Never gonna work.
a speed-square to mark the location of the existing hole for
reference, I then attached a small piece of scrap wood temporarily
to the door. A couple of drywall screws does the trick, and those
holes are small enough to patch super easily.
Then, continue as usual.
The deadbolt will almost certainly come with a simple paper
template, which makes quick work of figuring out exactly where to
drill. Many, like
this Schlage one I’m using, allow for a couple of different
options for the center point, in case your door has narrow stiles
(like this one!) or you need to align with other existing
Because my scrap wood block throws off the thickness off the
door, I opted to drill my pilot hole and then remove the paper
template, so I could reuse it after removing the temporary block.
Remember I’ll also need to drill a hole through the side of the
door for the bolt to go in and out of.
See how nicely that works? The temporary block continues to keep
the hole saw in that spot until you’ve made it all the way
through the door. Then just unscrew it and you have a perfect hole!
Then it was just a matter of taping the paper template back up and
drilling the 1″ hole through the side with a different drill bit,
where the paper template instructed. I used
a forstner bit, but a spade or auger bit would work, too.
Congrats on your perfect hole. One down, one to go!
For the french doors, I decided to keep it really simple and
this nice Schlage keyed entry door handle, so the lock and the
handle are one piece of hardware. It installs very similarly to the
deadbolt, and because there weren’t any weird existing conditions
to work around it went pretty fast!
So that was the project. But then…you know…one thing leads
to another. Instead of just installing the new hardware and walking
away, I decided to spend a little extra time finally finishing
the new french doors, and repainting the old side door. Because
each of those french doors has 15 lites, it’s kind of nice that
the glass comes with a protective plastic film that you can just
cut away and dispose of after painting and be left with very little
to razor blade off the glass.
I also figured there was no time like the present to give the
original doorknobs from the side door a little TLC. There wasn’t
a ton of old paint but it was stubborn, so I threw them in my
dedicated old hardware crock pot to loosen it all and then scrubbed
them clean. Works like a charm.
A note about those knobs and the door they came from: I noticed
during this adventure that the rim lock on the inside of the garage
door has a patent date on it from 1869! That aligns pretty closely
with when the house was likely built (1865, until proven
otherwise), but I can’t imagine this garage pre-dates the early
20th century, just looking at the framing, materials, foundation,
windows, etc. Most of the doorknobs in my house are white
porcelain, but these kind of marbled faux-bois ones are used in a
few places like the inside of closets (presumably they weren’t
considered as fancy?). It makes me wonder if there used to be a
different barn/shed/outbuilding of some kind that got demolished,
with parts like this door getting reused for the newer
Who knows, but it’s things like that which make me feel
very…comfortable in this house? I totally would have done the
same thing a hundred years ago. Love a recycling project!
Sooooooooooooooooo. Before I know it, I have all the tools and
ladders out and am just casually repainting half the garage in a
day, as one does. There were a couple little areas of peeling
paint, plus some caulk splitting, plus I used a satin finish this
time instead of a matte finish, which to me looks a little nicer
and feels easier to keep clean and avoid scuffing. It took about a
Valspar Duramax exterior latex in satin, which I had
color-matched to the same color I used the first time around, Ben
One of my new painting must-haves is this particular paintable
Big Stretch caulk by Sashco, which is now available at
Lowe’s! I was so excited when I saw it there, since it used to be
kind of difficult to find. It’s great stuff. I hate it when I
finish a painting job only to have the caulk crack after a few
months, not to mention the damage that can cause when it’s on an
Oh right, also! I had all but forgotten that when I roughed in
the electric in the garage, I left a wire for another exterior
light over the french doors! I picked up
this simple and classic light, which I opted to spray paint
black. All black everything garage! I considered a pop of color but
then thought…nah, better not.
I used some Rust-o-leum spray paint I had half a can of down in
the basement (this
one is similar!), and it looks so nice! One VERY COOL feature
of this light is that it has a light sensor on the canopy, which
automatically turns it on when it gets dark out. Why don’t all
exterior lights have those?! You can actually
buy a similar part and retrofit almost any fixture fairly
easily—I’m already thinking I might do that for the lights on
the street-facing side of the garage, since I can’t seem to
program the timer switch to save my life. I can’t handle advanced
And THEN, taking a step back from my work, it occurred to me
that even though those french doors bring a lot of nice light into
the garage, once the glass has been scraped and cleaned they also
REALLY expose the yard to a view of all the mayhem inside. NOPE. I
HAVE NOT COME THIS FAR FOR THIS. Too much realness. I just want to
keep up appearances, damn it!
So THEN, I picked up two of
these affordable curtains from Lowe’s, plus
four of these rods so I could kind of stretch and pleat the
fabric on the back of the doors without having flappy curtain
fabric in a place where they’d likely get dirty or caught on
something. The curtains themselves are a pretty sheer polyester
with kind of a linen look, so they should hold up well to this kind
of use. The rods are also easily removable from the brackets,
meaning the curtains can be taken down with little effort and
thrown in the wash to my heart’s content.
(Sorry for the scary nighttime pictures—it gets dark early now
and my momentum cannot wait for things like natural daylight.)
The curtains were a bit too long for my doors, so I had to hem
them about 10″. OH YES HE DID BREAK OUT THE SEWING MACHINE.
He’s drilling through doors! He’s painting the garage! He’s
stripping hardware! He’s refinishing a light! He’s installing
electric boxes! He’s sewing curtains! These are the days I’m
really hoping no neighbors are watching me from their windows,
because I seem patently unhinged. Is this…the blogger lifestyle?
Am I finally doing it right?!
The curtains worked out really well, though. I’m kind of
proud. GETTIN. IT. DONE!
Hey hey, garage! Looking pretty slick! You may note that CLEARLY
I am unconcerned with the garage showing its age in the from of
layers and layers and layers of old paint. Am I the only one who
kinda…digs that? Like I think I actually prefer it on a building
I love the way that old doorknob really pops against the black,
especially now that it’s clean.
So. Real talk. If I had to choose my favorite thing about the
past few years of world history, I can tell you one thing that
would rank. It used to be that finding matte black hardware for
anything was near impossible, and often meant resorting to spray
paint. NO LONGER. The powers that be have deemed matte black a FULL
ON TREND and now the options are vast! I love that major brands
Schlage have caught on so quickly and made this option
available—I know it’s JUST A DEADBOLT but I’ll still agonize
over how it looks, and
this one looks handsome and inconspicuous and legitimately
makes me happy. Also it WORKS! VERY WELL! Obviously I wasn’t
obsessing over the security of my garage before this, but it
bothered me and now it doesn’t. I have room in my head for all
sorts of other things to bother me now!!
I’m also really pleased with the
Schlage keyed entry handle on the french doors! I installed a
simple slide bolt at the top of the left side door inside to keep
it stationary, and the right side door now does all of these door
things that are very exciting. It opens! It closes! It latches! It
locks! The improvement is night and day. Also can we appreciate how
nice those curtains look? I SEWED. FOR YOU. Mostly for me but also
I’m not mad about this 5 year progress! In case you’re
looking for flaws…I decided to extend the sill under the french
doors to the edges of the casing (it should have been done that way
to begin with; I’m not sure what we were thinking), so the wood
epoxy covering the patch was still curing and not ready for paint
when I took these pictures. The window on the side also needs a lot
of work, so I’m saving that for another day. So there are still
some problem areas, but the improvement achieved in this short
exciting whirlwind has me feeling SO much happier with the whole
thing in the meantime.
Super thrilled with how
this light came out! The factory finish on the inside of the
shade was white, which I considered leaving alone but I’m glad I
sprayed it black. That combined with this adorable (and honestly
Source: FS – All – Real Estate News 1
Fall Checklist: Installing Locks, Lights, and a Few Garage Updates!