Windows and Door Arrive!...Doors Installed!!!!
The doors that I ordered were pretty much the best that Kohler could offer. The door frame is made of cellular PVC so there will never be any real maintenance issues like for vinyl clad with wood jambs where there is some risk for the wood rotting over time. The door slabs are fiberglass. In the front of the house we opted for a half glazed door since there were no windows in the main entry. In the porch, a half glazed door allows some natural light to spill from the side porch on the house. The south side of the house has a door with full glazing. The house doors are all triple glazed energlas plus (high solar gain on the south side, low solar gain on the north) corresponding to total door R-values of about 5 ( See Kohler energy efficiency ratings ). They don't really provide any information about how this is measured but I assume its measured at the center of the door since they list different U-values depending on glazing coverage. For example a door with no glazing has an imperial U-value of 0.16 but one with full glass has a U-value of 0.21 I am sure they would provide the information if I were to investigate further....and I will investigate further. I ordered the doors with triple point locking hardware in hopes that minor installation issues would still lead to tight fitting seals around the doors when the triple point lock is engaged. R-value isn't everything. A leaky door is as good as an open one. All the R-value in the world won't keep your house warm with an open door in the middle of winter.
Kohler's instructions for door installation is fairly typical. We applied a couple of thick beads of acoustical sealant on the sill pan and 6" up the door jamb. From the outside we tipped the sill of the door onto the sill pan of the rough opening and centered it approximately. We then tipped the door in place so the back of the vinyl brick mould was flush with the exterior. We made further adjustments to the centering of the sill so when the jamb was level, the door box had an even spacing with the rough opening all the way around. There is no such thing as a square rough opening so we just made sure I would have room for spray foam, backer rod, and caulking. We levelled the hinge jamb, inserted shims behind the top hinge and secured door with a 3" screw in through the hinge until the door frame was secure. It was apparent that over tightening lead to the PVC frame warping so we made sure that the shims were slightly overtightened before driving a screw into the hinge. Working Once the hinge side was completed we moved on to securing the other anchoring points. The PVC frames are only somewhat straight. Shims were used to even the reveal (about 3/16") between the PVC frame so the reveal around the door was the same as the hinge side (Photo 1-3). The install went pretty quickly and evening the reveal took some time and patience. Photo 1-1 shows one of the installed doors (front entry). In Photo 1-2 you can see the three panes of glass. This window is Energlass Plus (triple glazed) with low solar gain glass. The R-value is marginally better than the same door with high solar gain glass. Photo 1-3 to 1-5 show the triple point Trillium lockset. It is nice hardware and comes pre-installed. This set is nickel plated. There are three strikers and 3 latches; all of which are controlled by a single lever and a single dead bolt knob. The deadbolt is quick release from the inside. If you need to gain quick exit you just need to push the door lever downwards and it releases the deadbolt lock. As you engage the lockset deadbolt you can see the upper and lower parts of the door pull towards the weather stripping. I am hoping this means a tighter seal and less issues the door air seal if it ever warps since the locking mechanism will pull the door shut.
One issue with using shims is how to air seal around them. There is no real elegant solution here. you really need the shims for support but they get in the way for air sealing. My solution is to back cut the shims on a slight angle from the rough opening towards the door (Photo 1-6). I will spray foam and apply backer rod between the rows of shims and then caulk the face of the back cut shim so that no air can leak through...and then I'll cross my fingers!
NOTE: This entry has been half completed for a while and is actually supposed to be the posting after my entry here: http://flatrockpassivehouse.blogspot.ca/2017/08/windows-and-doors-arrivewindows.html
Photo 1-1 front entry door installed.