Video Transcript:

Quantum Door Services Presents: Commercial Door Repair – Splicing a Grouted Steel Door Frame – Presented by Zane Ketchum

Location: Riverton, Utah

Grouted frames are typically very durable.  But, they rust at the base of the frame.  Over time the rusting steel frame expands.  Doors can bind or not open at all.  Here’s a repair option for the door professional.

Zane – It’s important to get down to the concrete so you can have some consistency when you’re measuring up.  Looks like I’m going to have to take these seals off too.  Well as you can see, all the work that needs to be performed is going to be from this point down.  So I’m going to be doing a lot of work on my knees and laying down, so it’s a tough job, everything just utilizes your hands.

So what I do is I mark the frame.  Here’s the damage of the rust, and I’m going a couple of inches above that.  You can easily see where the rust is, but sometimes underneath here it doesn’t quite show itself, so when you go to weld it just melts really quick.  So you want to come up with some and get good steel.  You don’t want to go too high up because at that point you’re just removing a lot of the integrity of the frame.  The rust is expanded and the opening is less wide than the door, it causes it to bind.  In fact, you have to kick it open, its so forced in here that it’s literally swelled shut.  I’m going to leave this extremely strong frame in place and just cut the bottoms out.

Zane Begins Working on the Door

I’m going to set my frame up here, that’s my plunge line.  That will get me right where I need to be, once I put that frame back in.  I’m going to show you how I make sure that’s straight.

“Small laser level attached to opposite jamb”

I’ve got my laser setup.  So I’m going to make a bunch of dots.  Those dots are right on the laser line.

“I draw dots across the laser line that’s the cut line.”

Horizontal Frame Cut

An effective way to cut the grout filled steel frame is with a masonry blade attached to an angle grinder.  You can plunge it directly into the frame, and you can control its depth of cut.

“Be careful of grinder kicking back!”

And the width isn’t a problem either.  I’ve taken the guard off to show how effectively you can cut on a line.

“Sparks can cause fire and damaged glass.”

So try and have your power tools do the work for you; you can swing a sled around and break this out, you have a chance of breaking the concrete.  It could be more weathered than what it looks like on the outside, on the inside of the frame from all the moisture damage.  So if you break it free with some vibration with your roto hammer, let’s get that on hammer not drill.

“Removal from the side of the frame.”

This one’s actually working pretty well.  So the frames have a return that’s stuck in behind the concrete, so if you chip out enough concrete for this to lie flat, you can leave this portion in here as kind of a stem, support the way if you feel it’s necessary.

“Vertical frame cut.”

You just saw the horizontal cut portion and I’m gonna do a vertical cut portion now, just in case the site axis is limited or the wall’s really brittle; this limits damage in that way.  I just don’t do it all the time because you know it’s basically twice as much dust.

“Use tool guards – removed for video only”

Anyway as you can see you just kind of plunge into the floor, you don’t have to go all the way down because it’s probably rusted already anyway.  But what you want to do is peel the frame back so you can get in there with your roto hammer or grinder and have access to the returns because you want your new frame piece just to slide in easily that way if there’s any grinding of the bottom of the frame that you need to do it just removes easily.  So you just basically chisel away at both sides just removing about three-quarters, maybe an inch of the material.  Anything smooth on the concrete you want to remove, that will be a hindrance to your new frame matching up or aligning properly, it’ll just make it stick out a little bit so chisel that smooth stuff off and just kind of round it off and have a nice axis for your frame piece.

“Only grind the bottom of frame piece to match floor not top”

Now we try and fit the frame in there this side works but this side does not so I’m going to grind off the bottom of this, that’s the trick.  What they are is magnet holders for tools.  Make sure they’re clean.  They’re strong, but after you do this and you tuck your frame in place, it doesn’t go anywhere, and when it cools it doesn’t go anywhere, well it still does but not near as bad.  That’s what the inside of the frame looks like, it’s just literally eaten away.  They even used duck tape for some reason to trap extra moisture I guess.  So we’re going to do something these folks didn’t, that is we’re going to seal our frame.  I use an undercoating, W3M, I’m not sure it’s the best but I think it’s better than paint; it doesn’t chip off.  Put it on the bottom, just make sure it’s all in there, I got a little on the outside I’ll wipe that off but I’ll paint the inside like that and I don’t do the very top cause boy this stuff stinks when it gets hot from welding.  As you can see the bar magnets are holding the side piece in perfect alignment prior to my spot welding.  After spot welding, I’ll remove the magnets and continue with the spot welding around the frame.  So a little note about welding here i use spot welds.  I do not weld on the inside corners as it’s too difficult to remove with a grinder, and you do not want to use continuous welds because the heat will cause warping.  A 60 and a 120 flap disc will make that smooth work for you.

“Any good ideas? Leave a comment!”

Some magnets in a small tarp will help trap the heat for quicker bondo drying.  I have found that stainless steel countersunk coarse-thread screws and plastic sleeves work very well.  Unlike most other anchor types, these won’t rust and can be easily removed in the future if needed.  And the bondo is dry.

“Used a small palm sander to sand smooth.”

And here you have the completed frame splice repair, it’s very durable and will last for many years.

“Splicing a steel frame with hinge.”

Here is a heavily rusted frame that has actually damaged the hinge.  You can splice this new piece in easily by following these quick steps.  You reference the top of the hinge to a two inch cut mark and a top of a hinge to a four inch reference line.  That will be used in the future to align your new frame.  Your cut mark will be a level cutting line where you’ll make your plunge cut and that 4 inch reference mark will be a way to confirm that your new hinge frame is aligned with the old one because your door is not moving, so it has to be aligned perfectly or it won’t work properly.  This frame has been bondoed and sanded to a smooth finish and is ready for primer paint.  And here’s the completed frame prime paint and ready to go.

“Be safe out there.”