Replace vs. Repair? Complete Remodel vs. Makeover? by Mike Gosser

Replace vs. Repair

Do I repair my rear entry door or replace the entire unit with a pre-hung?   (NOTE – This question is not necessarily limited to doors and can be applied to almost anything on or in the house)

A pre-hung door unit consists of the jamb, weather-stripping, threshold and all the moldings, inside and out.

Here is a list of entry door components that you should consider when you are contemplating repair or replacement of the entire door unit.

  • Rotted or cracked jamb
  • Rotted or cracked exterior moldings/interior casings
  • Rotted, cracked or worn threshold
  • Damaged or missing weather-strip
  • Warped or damaged door slab


“Replace”  is often a key word used by many salesman for a fast easy sale. How do I know what is the best option for me?  How do I make the right decision about my project, whether I’m looking to change the style of my door or if I have various issues with any of the components listed above? An experienced carpenter can determine whether it is necessary to replace the entire door unit or if it can be rebuilt/repaired. Rebuilt jambs with new weather-stripping can function just as well as a new pre-hung door unit, with substantially less labor cost. With lower quality pre-hung door units, finding replacement parts is either impossible or can be an expensive operation.

“Repairs” are usually necessary if something is rotted or you just want to change the style, operation or function of  windows, bookcases, kitchens, baths and etc. An experienced and honest carpenter/remodeler can help determine the most efficient way to create these changes. The carpenter can also help in the design, selection of wood species and materials to ensure your end product will be aesthetically pleasing and preform/function correctly for years to come. In the end, you want an affordable and quality product that will be a good investment that will last.

“Remodeling or Makeover” questions always come up. Specifically, do I want to do a complete remodel or a makeover on my kitchen or bath? Here again, an experienced carpenter/remodeler can help you determine if you need to start from scratch or if a makeover is the right solution for you. Of course to what extent the makeover is accomplished will be determined by a partnership between a reliable remodeler and owner. Keep in mind, that a makeover can be a fraction of the cost of a complete remodel (see blog post “Cheap and Easy Kitchen Remodeling“).

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to find an experienced carpenter/remodeler to help evaluate your home needs and participate in solutions that will save you time and money. The goal is to produce a long lasting, good investment and pleasing outcome for you and your family.

Don’t forget it should not cost you anything to seek out good advice from a reliable professional! Its worth the phone call!

Mike Gosser, Master Carpenter/Remodeler with over 40 years on site experience. Go to my “Testimonials” page to read client reviews and watch my website video.

Mike Gosser Q & A

The following are site visitor questions that Mike Gosser, the owner of Gosser Construction Co., has answered. Feel free to submit your home and remodeling questions by filling out the form to the right and we will provide an answer as soon as we can.

1. How do I know I am choosing a reputable contractor and have a good carpenter or handyman on my job?
Answer – Get local referrals. If that contractor has a business in your community or nearby he has a reputation to protect. Even more so, in todays economy.

2. Should I request a contract when I am having work done on my house, even for a small job?
Answer – Yes. Even if its a small job you should have a written contract. With as much detail as possible, so you both understand each others expectations. Its so easy to loose this with a verbal contract , or by memory
. Always have the contractor send or email a certificate of insurance which shows working mans compensation. Its only a phone call for the contractor to his insurance Co.

3. How do I know when I need a handyman or a carpenter on the job.
Answer – You need to ask the handyman whether he has had any experience doing ” this kind of work”. And ask if he has any kind of supervision to over see him. Gosser Remodeling offers handyman service with supervision, if needed.

4. Kitchen makeover – Kitchen remodeling does not need to be a very expensive project. You usually can keep the cabinet boxes and just change the doors, drawer fronts and hardware, maybe new counters and faucet, maybe a new floor for a fraction for what it cost to do a complete kitchen remodeling. You would be very surprised at the outcome. See my blog and post ” CHEAP AND EASY KITCHEN REMODELING”

5. Is there any regular maintenance I should be doing to protect my home investment?
Answer – Yes. Besides your cleaning and inspection of your HVAC systems. You Should check your gutters, especially if you have a lot of trees nearby. Once you have determined the conditions of your gutters in spring and fall than you can determine if you need to be on a regular maintenance schedule. You should also check the chimney, and most important the chimney cap. If you notice any cracks on the cap and any deterioration of the brick you should have it inspected. ( Gosser Remodeling offers this inspection as a free service ) And always look around for any water damage or black deterioration on the siding, and or any other exterior parts of your home. This cold be a sign of mold growing. ( This is also a free inspection )

6. Windows – What are the best windows to purchase for my home. Vinyl, metal or wood?
Answer – According to Consumer digest vinyl windows are not meant for cold northern climates. By design they can’t really insulate very well. I always recommend a wood window with a clad exterior that you don’t have to paint or worry about rotting. Not only do they insulate well but they also soundproof well. ( Call for more details )

7. How to keep the cost down when remodeling a bathroom
Answer – Try to keep the tub! You can re glaze them! Keep tile work simple. Some of the most beautiful tile work I have seen is very simple. Try to stay away from trends. Traditional styles with some modern trends seem to work best and never go out of style. ( Call Gosser Remodeling for a bath quote and good design ideas )