Replacing front exterior door


Old 12-08-12, 07:33 AM
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Question Replacing front exterior door

I found an excellent deal on a new, pretty wood front exterior door for our house. It seems to measure exactly the same. I have never replaced a front door

It's solid wood, and very heavy (150lbs maybe), and has no weather strip on the bottom and/or hing cut-outs or holes for knobs/locks. The existing door is metal.

What tools/things might I need (details please) to get this door swapped out?

Also, any tips/suggestions on how to line up the hinges and door knob holes?

I tried searching the forum but didn't see a definitive answer/guide on door installation. If there is a topic out there, please refer me to that....

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Old 12-08-12, 08:38 AM
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Remove the existing door, use it as a template to align elements of the new door. Put the new door on a pair of saw horses, remove the hinges from the old door and lay it on top of the old door. Clamp it together and transfer hinge/lockset measurements with a speed square from old to new. Use the hinges you removed as your template to align hole/mortise location on the new door.
Old 12-08-12, 09:07 AM
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It's very important to paint all 6 sides of a wooden exterior door including the top and bottom. Use either an oil base primer or poly depending on your finishing plans for the door.
Old 12-08-12, 03:10 PM
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mark when you say poly does that mean you would just rely on the doors natural wood look? So you wouldn't paint or stain but just bring out the woods natural wood beauty?
Old 12-08-12, 03:20 PM
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I was mainly referring to the tops and bottoms of exterior doors. The main thing is to seal the top/bottom so it can't absorb moisture. What to use to finish a door depends on the customer/homeowner. When I stain a door I don't stain the top/bottom but will give it a coat or two of poly. The only time I bother to stain the top edge of the door is when there is a stair case nearby that will allow you to see the top edge when the door is open.

There isn't a right or wrong answer as to stain or not stain. It all depends on the wishes of the homeowner and what looks good for that particular home.
Old 12-08-12, 03:29 PM
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Thanks mark. That is really good information that I'm adding to my knowledge base.
Old 12-08-12, 04:18 PM
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You'll need a couple of hole saws for the lockset. DeWalt makes a kit with template for under $30. A router and hinge template will make installing the hinges easier but if you don't already have a router you can mortise the hinges with a wood chisel.

If you're not familiar with hinge mortising it's easy to do, just practice a bit on some scrap wood. The same is true with boring the holes for the lockset.
Old 12-09-12, 05:04 PM
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On your new door decide what is the top of the door. Example on a six panel door the small panels go to the top. On a slab door the top may be marked if it isn’t then it will make no difference.
I have hung about 100 doors as a repair not construction. I will try to help you as best as I can.
With your old door in place check the fit. Most fits are OK. Fit is the reveal on the top bottom and sides of the door. With the old door still in place mark it top and back. The back is the side with the hinge pins. Mark the new door top and back this is for your reference it is very easy to get turned around doing this. Pull the pins on the old door and remove all the hardware including the hinge leafs. Do not remove hinge leafs on the door jamb. Measure the old door and cut the new one to that length be careful not to splinter the new door, score the door or clamp a piece of scrap wood on the side where the saw blade leaves the wood.
Set the old door on the side with the hinge mortise up. Line up the new door at the top of the old one. The back of one should be against the front of the other. With a combo square scribe the mortise of the old door to the new door. Now take one of the hinge leafs and trace the hinge between the mortise lines you just drew remember the pins on the hinge go to the back of the door. The hinge leaf is probably marked on the back side from paint or varnish, use this line to guide you when tracing the hinge. An interior door is 1 3/8”The hinge will set about 1 1/4” across the door. Use a router to cut out the mortise if you use a chisel be careful cut only across the grain of the door style or you will split it.
Install the leafs on the new door with only one screw on each leaf make sure to drill a pilot hole for the screw or you WILL SPLIT the door. If the door has 3 hinges , leave the middle one off until you fit the door.
Place the new door in the jamb put the top pin in first then the bottom pin, you may have to adjust the bottom leaf a little tap it up or down to make it fit. That’s why I use only one screw at first. With both pins installed, drill your pilot holes and put in the rest of screws in the top and bottom hinges.
Put a screw on the front of the door where the knob will go, you need the screw to pull the door closed so you can mark the door where it hits the jamb. Remove the strike plate off the door jamb. With a pencil mark the door where it hits the jamb. Remove the door and plane down to the line, take your time. You may have to mark the door 2 or 3 times to get the fit.
With a pencil, mark on the back side door casing, the center of the hole located on the door jamb used for the door lock Close the door and transfer the mark to the door. With a combo square use that mark to scribe a line on both sides of door about 3” long and across the style.
Now find the back set of the lock you are using. A new lock will tell you, if you use the old lock, measure the old door from the edge to the center of the hole. 2 3/8” and 2 3/4 are common sizes. Measure also the size of the hole you will need 2 1/8’’is common.
If the back set is 2 3/8. On the line you drew on the door make a mark 2 3/8 on each side of the door. If the hole is 2 1/8, use a 2 1/8 hole saw, cut half way through the door and finish the cut from the other side do not plunge straight through you will splinter the door. Mark the center of style and drill a hole to fit the door latch use a small as possible hole to fit the latch you don’t have much room to spare. Some latches need to be mortised to fit if this is the case put the latch in the hole and trace the face of it then remove the needed amount of wood and install it. Remember to drill pilot holes. Install the lockset and the third hinge if needed. Now wasn’t that easy?

Good Luck, Woodbutcher

PS. this is a very hard job for someone who has never done it.

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