The time has finally come for you to replace that old and worn out front door. You’ve done your research, browsed hundreds of front door replacements, picked the best one for your needs and budget, and arrived home. You’ve decided you want to install it yourself, but you’re not sure where to start. Here’s how to hang that new front door.
Take Precise Measurements!
This is arguably the most crucial step in the process. You must measure everything from the old door, to the new door, and the frame to ensure your door fits snugly and closes tightly. There is no room for error here because once you start trimming, you can’t put pieces back!
Measure your old door, write down its dimensions, and then measure the new door. See if they match. If they don’t match (you should do this before you buy the new door) you may need to trim a little off of the new door.
Set the old door on top of the new door and mark out where the handle goes with a pencil. Make any measurements necessary.
Add Your Hinges and Handle
Once you’ve measured and marked where the door hinges and the handle is going, go ahead and drill your pilot holes for the hinges. Next, using a hole saw drill bit for the door handle. Make sure you are very precise in your cutting and drilling, so as not to leave any gaps or weaknesses where the handle goes.
Once these holes are made, install your hardware using the pre-packaged screws. Follow the instructions carefully and make sure you’ve used all of the screws that came with your handle.
Set the Door and Put The Hinge Pins In Place
Now that you’ve installed your handle, hinges, and trimmed your new door to size, it’s time to place it in the frame. Set your door upright, and line up the door hinges with the frame. Once you’ve got these lined up, drop your hinge pins in place.
You may need to use a mallet to knock them all the way down into the hinges, but normally some WD-40 will help them slide into place with no issues.
Check For Gaps
Once you’ve got your door in place, you’ll need to close it and open it a few times, checking to ensure the proper motion of the door and that it latches. Make sure all the locks and the handle line up with the door frame.
Check the sides, top and bottom of the door for any gaps that could allow air to escape. Once this is complete, you can sit back and admire your new door and all of your hard work!
Pre-hung doors come packaged in their own frame, and so you’ll need to install the new frame itself rather than just the door. If you’re not familiar with construction and measurements, hiring a professional would be more beneficial to this project.
Measure Some More
Measure the new frame and the opening where the old frame used to go. When you put the new frame in place, you may find that there are gaps between your frame and the wall. It’s important to note the size of these gaps beforehand.
Once you’ve measured your frame and your opening, cut the frame or door down according to your requirements. With new doors, you may want to take an inch or two off the bottom of it if you have carpet, to allow proper opening and closing.
Shim The Trim
If there is a significant gap in between your door frame and the wall, you may need to use wood shims to close it. This is why it’s extremely important to measure beforehand. It’s much easier to take off material from the door or frame than it is to add to cover a gap.
If you need to add wood shims to your frame, make sure they’re nailed properly so that they lie flush with the wall and door frame.
Install the Door and Frame
Once you’ve measured, trimmed, and shimmed your frame, it’s time to install it. Stand the frame upright in the wall space, and line up all of the edges. Take any last measurements and make your adjustments before taking it in place with your framing nails.
If you find that you have gaps between your wall and door frame, you can fill it with expanding foam. This foam hardens and fills the gap, and also helps to support the door and keep it in place. After you’ve finished filling the gaps, install your trim so that the gap is hidden.
Whether you’re a DIY-er or a seasoned veteran, don’t try to rush through your door installation. The worst thing you can do is make a wrong measurement and wind having to go buy another door because you cut the wrong side or something doesn’t fit right.
Measure before and after you buy the door to ensure maximum accuracy. Use the right tools for the job as well. Generally, you’ll want to use a table or circular saw for trimming any excess from your door or frame. A tape measure and level can help you make the right measurements and ensure your door doesn’t get installed crookedly.
If you choose a pre-hung door, be prepared for a little extra measuring and cutting than a regular door. Take your time and you’ll have a beautiful new door in installed in just a few hours.