In order to resist the elements, solid-wood doors need to be used for this project; however, the two doors can vary in heights and finishes as long as they have the same width. In order to ensure a level installation, both doors must stand at exactly the same height. Heights can be easily adjusted by using a measuring tape and a pencil to mark the doors to size, then cutting the doors to the exact same height using a circular saw.
In order to make the arbor open and airy, cut out the top panels of the doors. Doors with recessed panels simply require cutting around the inside edge of the paneling using a circular saw. When using solid wood doors without paneling, measure and mark the intended opening size with measuring tape and pencil, then cut with circular saw.
Standard exterior entry doors are 36 inches wide. An excellent size for the opening, based on proper scale and proportion of two doors placed across from one another, is 24 inches, leaving approximately six inches of door on each side of the opening.
Measure and mark the opening of the newly cut door directly to the strip of 1x3 x 6’ lumber, allowing enough space for a one-inch overhang on both sides to accommodate a decorative ledge.
Use a hand saw to cut the strip, then place it along the bottom of the door opening. Secure the ledge into place using wood glue, nails and a hammer.
For a more decorative look, add pressure-treated crown molding under ledge.
On the 2x6 plank of pine or cedar, mark the width of the door span, adding one additional inch to each side to account for proper overhang. Cut a notch in the wood using a jigsaw, then use a wood chisel and hammer to remove the appropriate width necessary to accommodate the doors.
Create a quarter circle template by tracing a round edge onto two pieces of scrap pine or cedar boards, then cut the pattern onto the 2x6 plank using the jigsaw.
Position the outside pieces of wood so that they are flush with the edge of each door. Tap the wood with the hammer to secure a snug fit, then attach with 2-1/2” outdoor wood screws using the drill.
Once the outside pieces are secured into place, measure for the center, and install the third board.
Create four corner braces from planks of 2x8 pine or cedar by cutting each plank at a 45-degree angle with the circular saw.
Pre-drill the braces with a 1/8” drill bit, then attach them using 2-1/2" wood screws.