Door Replacement Doesn’t Require a Degree in Rocket Science

Do you dream of replacing your old, banged-up door with a lovely new model?  Today’s exterior doors include a variety of inviting features like between-the-glass mini-blinds and decorative glass in an amazing number of patterns.  If you’ve been putting up with a cracked wooden door that’s been hanging in your entryway for years, a steel model can give your home an entirely new look plus additional security features.  Don’t like the look and feel of steel?  Try a lightweight, fiberglass product that provides the look of wood, exceptional durability, and security features that rival steel.

On the inside of your home, consider replacing those contractor specials with solid doors made from rich hardwood

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materials.  After making your choice, think about the installation.  Do you really want to pay someone else to do it for you or would you rather tackle this simple project on your own?  Let’s take a look at two different ways a do-it-yourselfer can easily replace a door:

Replacing Just the Door Panel

For interior doors, many homeowners use this procedure to replace only the door panel without completely gutting the doorway:

  1. Choose a door that matches the dimensions of your current door exactly. If the door knob hole is pre-drilled, it should be on the same side and at the exact same height as the current fixture
  2. Use a hammer and screwdriver or chisel to remove the door from the hinges.
  3. Compare the new door to the old one. Using the old door as a pattern, attach hinges and use a hole saw and power drill to create a holes for the door knob assembly if they weren’t pre-drilled. You may have to chisel sections for the hinges to allow this piece of hardware to lay flush with the door.
  4. If the new door is a little too long or two wide compared to the old door, use a planer to shave off slivers of wood until it matches exactly.
  5. Hang the new door on the hinges.
  6. Install a new door knob.
  7. Make any adjustments necessary to ensure a smoothly operating door.

Replacing the Entire Door Unit

If there is any damage to the doorframe, you’d like to completely replace the decorative trim, or you’re changing out an

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exterior door, you should purchase the entire door unit.  This configuration includes a door panel mounted in a doorframe along with trim for one side of the doorway.   For exterior doors, it also includes the door sill.  Removing the old doorframe is easier than most people think, and you won’t have to worry about using the hole saw or installing the hinges.  Here are the basic steps you’ll need to follow to complete this job:

  1. Unless you want to take on a more complicated construction process, choose a door unit that matches the width and height of your current door. In most cases, you should purchase a left- or right-opening door to match your current doorway.
  2. Remove the interior trim.
  3. Remove the old door unit.  You may need to pull back some siding or trim to see the nails.  Once the nails are removed, the door assembly should pull out fairly easily. If it’s stuck, gently tap from the inside with a small piece of 2X4 and a hammer.
  4. Slide the new door unit into place to ensure a snug fit.
  5. Remove the door, place caulk or other sealant under the door sill, and slide the new door unit back into place.
  6. Level the door horizontally and vertically using shims.
  7. Open and close the door panel to make sure it works smoothly.
  8. Nail the door in place from the outside and apply special sealing tape to the top to prevent any water leaks.
  9. Check the door operation again and adjust the door if needed.
  10. Replace the interior trim.
  11. Install a new door knob and lock in the pre-drilled holes.

Like most home-improvement projects, replacing a door isn’t rocket science.  If you pay attention to the details and follow the instructions, you’ll be walking through a brand-new door in no time!


This guest post is brought to you by DIY Home Center, an online retailer specializing in Deckorators and FastenMaster home building products and accessories.

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