Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Bifold Project: Big Reveal

I've said it before, and I'll no doubt say it again: when it comes to DIY projects, we'll always choose good and cheap over fast results. A case in point is the new bifold doors for the office closet, which we finally got installed last week. It took us about 12 weeks, all told, to shop for them, make the necessary modifications to the closet opening so it would fit them, and get them stained, finished, and installed - but aren't they gawgeous?

Besides looking much better than the old sliding doors, the new ones are a lot more functional. For starters, they're much easier to open and close. Since they have proper knobs rather than tiny little holes big enough to accommodate only the tip of one finger, it's much easier to grasp them to open them—and since they also have proper mounting hardware, unlike the makeshift doohickey that held the old sliding doors in place, they don't get stuck once you've opened them an inch. Plus, it's now possible to open both doors at once to access the full contents of the closet, which makes it a great deal easier to slide large items in and out (like that box in the bottom left corner, which holds gifts we're saving for holidays and birthdays).

With all their advantages, the new doors do have some flaws. Although opening both doors gives us a wider closet entrance than we used to have, the opening with just one door open is narrower, because the folded door takes up a good four and a half inches of space. This means we now have to open both doors to get the laundry basket down from its shelf. Also, the hardware that keeps the doors in place when they're closed sticks out an inch or so from the bottom when they're open, so we both have to watch out for this little dingus to avoid tripping over it or snagging things on it when we're accessing the closet. But overall, the new doors are still much better than the old ones, both to look at and to use.

So this leaves just two questions: first, how much did this project end up costing us? And second, now that we've done the doors, does this mean we need to tackle the rest of the room as well?

The first question is pretty straightforward. We spent $190 on the doors themselves, $11 on a quart of stain (which we'll also be using to refinish the rest of the interior doors on the main floor), and $55 on the new molding we had to have custom-cut to skin the jambs (I just love using that phrase). So altogether, we spent $256 on these new doors, making this easily the most expensive birthday present I've ever asked for.

The second is a little more complicated. In the process of installing these new doors, we had to rip out, replace, and repaint all the trim on that side of the room—so the rest of the trim in the room now looks a bit dingy by comparison. And the main door to the room, which is probably the most battered of the motley lot we've got on this hallway, now sticks out even more next to these nice closet doors. But on the other hand, they don't really look any worse now than they did before, and considering how long it took us just to get the new doors installed, refinishing the rest of the room could easily take us months, if not years.

So I think what we're planning to do at this point is to handle this room piecemeal, as much as possible. We can tackle small jobs like refinishing that door or replacing the outlets without having to tear apart the rest of the room, so we can continue to use it normally. Only after we've done all the little jobs will we take on the big, disruptive ones, like repairing and painting the walls. That's a process took about a month from start to finish in the guest room, but we're hoping the lessons we learned there—like pounding in nails that are bulging out of the wall and then adding a wood screw to hold the wallboard in place, rather than trying to remove the nail and taking chunks of the wall with it—will make it a bit speedier in this room. But we can still expect it to displace us from the office for at least a week, so we'd prefer to put it off until everything else is taken care of.
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