Exterior Door – Replacing a Window With a Door in the Workshop

3 Materials
2 Days

Exterior door installation, replacing a window in the workshop. Moving an outside door to a different room to save on heating costs. You’ve heard me mention my back hallway “dog spot” and its numerous problems many times. Its been on my “to do” list for over two years now and replacing its door has been on my list literally since I put that old crappy door in five years ago. I’m glad now though, looking back, that I hadn’t messed with it at all because its new plan now is completely different. That old door will be replaced but not with another door anymore.

In fact we’re moving the exterior door down the south side of the house to a different room all together.

The old exterior door’s location at the end of the hall was literally a straight shot from the pellet stove blowing heat out of the kitchen, through the living room and straight out the door/doggie door all winter long. What would be ideal instead would be putting the exterior door in the workshop!

More than ideal actually!

It would eliminate ALL of our heat loss (as long as its above freezing in the workshop I don’t care), provide us with easy access for hauling tools in and out etc. and the window we would be taking out we could use to replace the crappy old door.

(The original concrete steps where an old exterior door used to be were still there too… it felt like this was just meant to be.)So, it was time to tackle the first stage: replacing the window with an exterior door in the workshop.

First I moved the second table from the back wall to the other wall to create an L work bench.

Then I adjusted the task lighting above the work bench by swaging it farther down the ceiling into the corner.

Then I moved the outlet down from where it was using a new box because the old box is stuck in the wall with spray foam so it might as well be stuck in cement lol.

We moved outside then and Lodi built us a basic shelter with tarps. Somehow it just so happened that we did this literally the first day it snowed in late October *facepalm*.

With all of that nonsense finally done we got a good look at our nightmare. I had hoped we could remove a minimum amount of siding and simply pry the window off of the house but that was impossible without seriously risking the window.

We had no choice but to cut the window out.

Four Dewalt batteries, eight blades, five black and decker batteries, two skill saws and Lodi talking me out of just grabbing our chainsaw, we finally got the window out. I have no pictures of this moment, we were both quite over that whole day and painfully vibrating all over from cutting through 100 year old rough cut framing and siding. (Talk about a long day…)Moving out to the garage Lodi cut the door off and went ahead and cut the hole for the doggie door in the exterior door as well. (Hugely recommend you do any kind of steel cutting in a well ventilated area…)He made all of the cuts with our angle grinder and a cutting blade as I tackled the framing for the new door.

A trick I learned with doors: the most important board is the hinge side board. I made it absolutely perfectly level and attached it solidly with several screws. Then I stole the threshold from the door we’re getting rid of and installed it here before we hung the new exterior door in place.

Finally, nearly ten hours after we started, we had a door in the workshop!(We covered the whole thing up and called it a night…)

Is this a typical installation?

No, its actually quite overkill but that was my intention.

We won’t be using this door very much and this will totally stop the wind.(As you can see I had already installed the new doggie door which I also built this VERY long weekend – I will be posting here on how I made it I promise.)

Unfortunately the old concrete step was too low for our doggo or even us. BIIIIG BUMMERI kind of wanted to just sit down and cry as I now had to build a step too! I was SO beat after two days of this and, not to mention, cold as heck being outside in the elements through most of it. (You can see from the outside of the house pictures that we removed the old door and installed the window in the other space this same weekend as well. Next blog post will be all about that.)

While I built the step Lodi took out the old step and thoroughly cleaned up the yard, the house and the workshop which we had completely trashed getting all of this done in only two days. (God bless that man.)But we did it!

The new exterior door is just incredible compared to where we started and with the old door gone as well we could immediately tell a difference.

The draftiness in the house was gone!

Later, getting some much rest before our Monday day jobs the next day, we held our breath as Annie headed out to use her new doggie door.

Annie fully KNEW her door was moved however this was the first time, independently without us there, she would be doing it on her own…

First she headed to where the old doggie door and door used to be (tappy tappy) and then she wandered around awhile (more tappy tappy) and then she went into the workshop (so much more random tappy tappy WTH do dogs even do with their time?!) and then she did it!


I was worried about losing the window (the light) in the workshop but it doesn’t bother me at all. In fact, I like the workshop better now. Somehow with the work benches in an L shape the room feels bigger and I also took the opportunity at this point to move the table saw, air compressor and big shop vac out to the garage.

Even with it all SO much better (as far as heat loss goes) I still did a couple more things to help even more.

I installed a door stop on the workshop door so it stays only far enough open so Annie can go in and out. I also put up a curtain over the door so the majority of the opening is covered.

I also installed a door stop on the door between our living room and the hall so, again, it only remains open far enough for the dog.

And if we ever need to lock the dog up we just shut the workshop door which is a nice option to have!

Moving on: Next blog post all about removing that crappy old door and replacing it with the window we just took out of the workshop!

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  • Thea Thea on Jan 16, 2021

    Wow, this is the most edgy workshop I have ever seen. The tool colours pop against the dark. It’s never occurred to me that a workshop can be a design statement. Great fix too, one often underestimates the impact of glass.

    • GrandmasHouseDIY GrandmasHouseDIY on Jan 19, 2021

      Thank you very much Thea - everyone thought I was kind of nuts with my color choices when I converted this bedroom into a workshop but I totally love it!

  • Hope Hope on Jan 17, 2022

    I LOVE your workshop ceiling!! Gorgeous!! : )