Roof status, plus how to replace a doorknob in 8 simple steps

Most of the roof now looks like this, with double-layer asphalt shingles:

The gutters aren’t back up yet and there are various bits of fascia and trim and woodwork that need to be replaced, but it’s come a long way.

Meanwhile, this week we decided we really ought to get a new front door lock and doorknob. At some point before we got the house, Banco Santander or their agents deliberately broke the lock so you can only enter the house from the back door. This isn’t malice on their part, of course, just standard procedure with foreclosed properties with lockboxes- they just pick one door for entry and make the other exit-only. But it does mean we need a new lock. So, off to Lowe’s, which is slightly further away from our house but carries prettier doorknobs, which should go nicely with the huge old solid-wood front door.

Of course, this turns out to be less than simple. This old door has a mortise-lock doorknob, not the cylinder type that’s used in most doors nowadays. Those are kind of a specialty item, and they’re a little tricky to size because you need to know the exact width of the slot they’re inserted into as well as the usual things like the backset (distance from the door edge to the key slot).

So, I called the local specialty key and lock place, Commonwealth Lock. These guys are good, and very well reviewed. Sure, it’ll cost a little extra to buy hardware there, but it’ll help us preserve this awesome old slab of door, and it’s a local business which I do like to support.

When I spoke with them they confirmed that they do carry a line of mortise locks, although we’ll probably have to special-order one to fit exactly. Their advice is to take the lock off the door and bring it in so they can figure out exactly what should replace it… and also they’re only open on weekdays. Apparently if you shop there you either have the sort of job where you can take time off to shop for doorknobs, or have the kind of money that lets you send your architect over to select doorknobs for you. Maybe this is going to cost more than a little extra.

Anyway, the procedure to replace our doorknob and front door lock is now turning out to be:

  1. Take a day off work.
  2. Remove the lock set and doorknob from the house.
  3. Leave the house unlocked while we go to the lock store.
  4. Select and order a new lock and doorknob.
  5. Return to the house and re-install the lock and doorknob
  6. Wait for the thing to arrive.
  7. Get out of work early or arrive late to go get it.
  8. Install the new lock.

And there you have it: Replacing a doorknob in 8 simple steps.

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