How to Hang a Door

Three Methods:Initial StepsAlter The DoorHang The Door

Hanging a door in a door frame seems like a simple task, but doing it incorrectly can result in uneven gaps in the spaces around the door or worse, a door that won't even latch. Following these steps will help you to avoid possible problems.

Method 1
Initial Steps

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    Measure the door opening. Using a tape measure, measure the height and width of the door opening. Write the measurements down.
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    Check the floor. Check the floor for level and the jambs for plumb. Measure the exact amount that the floor is off-level. The opposite jamb must be cut by this amount to level the door in the opening.
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    Purchase a door. The door should be 2" smaller than the rough opening (jack studs). It should be slightly (1/4") smaller than the finished opening to allow a margin for closing the door. There is some leeway to also purchase a door that is a little larger since you will be trimming it.
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    Mark the door for trimming. Use a pencil to apply the measurements. Generally, allow for a 2mm (1/16 inch) space between the door and the top and sides. The bottom of the door should be 6-12mm (1/4-1/2 inch) up from the floor ( If your measurements were 1992 mm (83 inches) high and 768 mm (32 inches) wide, for example, mark the door so that it's 1984 mm (82 2/3 inches) tall (1992 mm minus 2 mm for the top and 6 mm for the bottom) and 764 mm (31.8 inches) wide (768 minus 2 mm for each side).
    • Keep in mind whether your door will be going over a carpet or a wooden floor.

Method 2
Alter The Door

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    Trim the jamb. Mark and cut the jamb on the high side with your saw. If you cut more than 1/4 in. from the jamb, you might need to trim the bottom of the door so it conforms to the floor slope.
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    Trim the door. Saw or plane up to the pencil marks, then sand the edges until they are smooth. Keep in mind that you're better off trimming too little rather than too much.
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    Check if the door fits. With shallow wedges underneath the door and someone else to help you hold it up, place the door in the frame and see if it fits properly. If it doesn't, you will need to trim again until the fit is perfect.
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    Place the hinges.
    • Determine in which direction the door will open. The door should open in to the room and hinge placement should be such that the light switch is accessible on the side opposite the hinges. If, as you enter the room, the light switch is inside on the wall to your right, then the hinges should be on the left. As you push the door open to enter the room, the switch should be immediately accessible on the knob side of the door.
    • Place the door on its side with the hinge side upwards. Measure and mark 15 cm (6 inches) from the top and bottom of the door. This mark represents the bottom of the hinge at the bottom of the door, and the top of the hinge at the top.
    • Open a hinge and place it on the door in line with the mark you have just made. Draw around it with a pencil. Repeat this for the other hinge.
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    Cut hinge recesses (mortises). Use a chisel to make shallow recesses, called mortises, in the door within the pencil marks. Strip away the surplus wood and trim the recess until the hinge is flush with the wood.
    • Be conservative. If you chisel out too much, it will be very hard to fix.
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    Drill pilot holes. With each hinge flap in its mortise, mark the screw positions with a pencil. Remove the hinges and use a drill bit that is slightly narrower than your screws to drill pilot holes where they are marked by the pencil. To center the pilot holes perfectly, use a special bit called a Vix-Bit, available at any hardware store or home center. When using a Vix-Bit, drill through the hinge's screw holes with the hinge in its proper location on the door. Keep the bit perpendicular to the door.

Method 3
Hang The Door

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    Screw on the hinges. This is best done with a drill, but can also be accomplished with a screwdriver if necessary.
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    Mark the hinge positions on the frame. Place objects such as screwdrivers or shallow wedges at the bottom of the doorway. Have somebody hold the door in the frame in exactly the position that you want it to hang. The hinge knuckles should be parallel with the frame. Draw around the hinges with a pencil.
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    Chisel hinge recesses. After carefully putting the door aside, cut mortises in the door frame in the same way that you did on the door itself. Hold the door against the frame again to test the placement and make sure the hinges are flush.
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    Fix hinges to the frame. Mark pilot holes on the frame with a pencil and then drill through these marks in the same way you did for the door. Put the screws through the pilot holes to affix the hinges on the frame.


  • When using the plane, avoid chipping out the corners by working inwards from each edge towards the center.
  • Only put one screw in each hinge to begin with so you can test that the door closes easily in the frame. If you are happy, then screw in the remaining screws.
  • Add the doorstop if you are concerned about the door bumping into and marking the wall behind it. There are many different types of doorstops. One of them can be constructed as follows:
    • With the door shut, mark around the frame at the point where the doorstop needs to be fixed. Measure across the top of the frame and transfer this measurement to the wood for the doorstop.
    • Cut to size. Place the wood across a portable bench or a sturdy surface and cut the wood according to your measurements.
    • Screw the doorstop to the frame. Place the top of the doorstop in position and drill it in place. Use at least three screws to secure the doorstop to the frame. When you have successfully fitted the top piece, repeat this process for the two remaining sides of the doorstop.


  • Drill Safety: Wear goggles and keep loose items of clothing, hair and jewelry tucked away. Clear the area of any potential hazards and find a steady standing position.
  • Chisel Safety: Make sure that you are wearing safety goggles and clear the area of potential hazards. Find a steady standing position and remember to watch your fingers when you do start chiseling.
  • Saw Safety: Put on your goggles. Make sure all loose items of clothing, hair and jewelry are tucked away. Clear the area of any potential hazards. Find a steady standing position and remember to watch your fingers when you do start sawing.

Things You'll Need

  • Hinges
  • Screws
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Panel saw
  • Carpenter's plane
  • Narrow chisel
  • Medium chisel
  • Hammer
  • Battery-powered drill, with drill bits
  • Sandpaper
  • Wooden wedges
  • Safety goggles
  • Supports to rest the door on, such as sawhorses
  • Narrow strips of wood for a doorstop

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