How to Install Entry Doors

Two Parts:Getting StartedInstalling the Door

The installation of new entry doors is fairly simple project, but mistakes will cost you. If hung incorrectly, your minor repair project may actually result in unnecessary air leaks or damage to the door frame. This article will provide some useful tips on how to install new doors

Part 1
Getting Started

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    Remove the old door and the surrounding trim, molding, and door jamb. You must remove everything covering the "rough frame" of the doorway.[1]
    • The majority of doors for sale on the market today come pre-hung--that is, they are already mounted on a door jamb. When installed correctly, they provide the tightest possible seal to keep out the elements.
    • The door jamb is usually held in place with nails, screws, and caulk. The screws shouldn't be difficult to remove, though the caulk can sometimes be a challenge to strip out. Certain silicone-based caulks or sealants can be loosed with specialized chemical applications available at many hardware stores.
    • Exterior molding may come off only with great difficulty; there is usually no special trick to it, just the application of leverage via a pry bar.
    • Pry off interior trim carefully, so as not to damage the surrounding wall paint or paper. Along with a pry bar, it may be helpful to use a putty knife to get between the trim and wall with minimal damage.[2]
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    Determine if the doorway is level. Use a level to measure the sill (bottom), sides, and top of the frame. If it is not as it should be, you may need to add wood around the frame to make it level.[3]
    • The most common cause of difficulties is the sill. If it is exposed to weather, it is the most likely portion to be warped or rotted. In this case, remove the existing materials and replace them with like-sized boards.
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    Measure the doorway. You must measure the height, width, and depth in order to know the precise size you must have for the door you will purchase.
    • Do not underestimate the importance of measuring the depth. If the distance between the interior and exterior walls is great but the depth of door jamb on the new door you purchase is small, you will have to add jamb extensions. This shouldn't be too much of a problem unless the distance you have to make up is especially large, but it is something to be aware of.
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    Purchase the necessary materials and tools. Aside from the pre-hung door, there are a few other things you will need:
    • Wooden shims to hold the new door in place as you attach it to the frame.
    • Screws or nails to secure the door in place. Make sure the nails or screws you select are of an appropriate length for the jamb and frame you will be nailing through.
    • An electric drill set to pre-drill any holes and drive in the screws that will attach the door.
    • Caulk or other form of exterior sealant to prevent leaks around the edges of the jamb.
    • A drip cap and sill pan (optional), to protect the upper and lower portions of any doorway that be exposed directly to the elements.

Part 2
Installing the Door

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    Pre-caulk the hard to reach areas inside the frame of the door. After you have the door in place you will no longer have access to these areas. In particular, look for any remaining uneven spots that can be filled in to prevent air leaks or the collection of water. Especially focus on the sill area. The caulk will dry slowly, so it should still be pliable when you fit the new door into place.[4]
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    Set the door in place. It is usually easiest to move the bottom of the door to the doorway and then raise the whole door unit into the frame.
    • Push shims into the spaces along the sides and top of the jamb to make the door fit snugly in place. You may only be able to do this from the interior side of the house as many exterior doors have molding around the exterior side of the jamb that will limit access to any gap.[5]
    • Check to make sure the door is level before you nail or screw the door into its final position.
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    Secure the door into the frame. Nail or screw through the jamb into the frame at several points to ensure that it is held firmly in place.
    • Most pre-hung doors will also come with a few long screws that are specifically designed to anchor the door itself into the frame. Remove a few of the short screws that attach the door to the jamb and replace these with the long screws.
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    Install the sill pan and drip cap. The sill pan will just screw or nail into place over the sill region, and the cap will have to be attached where the exterior molding meets the outside wall.
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    Caulk around the edges to make sure the seal it complete. You must cover any remaining gaps to prevent air leaks or water damage.

Article Info

Categories: Doors and Windows