Exterior Front Door Installation Instructions

What You'll Need
silicone sealant
small caulking gun
15lb felt paper
Vycor, copper or led 'pan' shims
2 1/4" finish nails
2 1/4" stainless steel wood screws
staples or roofing nails

Your exterior front door is the center piece of your home. It brings character and charm, welcoming your family and friends inside. Regardless of what style you choose, the last thing you want is a front door that leaks or does not function properly. Follow these installation Instructions for installing a pre-cased, pre-hung exterior door.

Step 1

Make sure your rough framing dimensions are correct. They should be 1/2" to 1 1/2" wider than the outside dimensions of the door frame and 1/2" to 1" taller than your door frame. Make sure the threashold and sides are level and plum and that all sheathing is completely nailed off, tight to the frame. 

Step 2

Create a 'pan.' This can be done with copper, lead, or Vycor (in descending order of cost but all functional if done properly). Using 8" Vycor Ice and Water Shield for example, stretch the material across the threshold, rising up each side 6". Your pan should extend past the interior framing (inside) one inch. This will leave you with approximately 3 1/2" of material to fold down over the exterior sheathing. Pre-cut 2 3"x 4" Vycor squares and place at the exterior corners of the threshold. Remove the paper backing and press firmly onto the sheathing. After your corner squares are installed, remove the paper backing from your pan and carefully smooth onto the threshold. Cut a slice at each corner and fold over the exterior sheathing and your corner squares. A few staples may be necessary if done in a colder climate. (this stuff is sticky so take your time)

Step 3

Cut 8" strips of 15lb felt paper. Other products like Tyvek and Typar are available, but felt paper has withstood the test of time and is still the best product for this installation. Run a strip down each side of your rough opening, and then one across the top, overlapping the sides. Tack the paper with staples, making sure to overlap all your pieces from the bottom up. 

Step 4

Using silicone sealant, run a healthy bead 1" away from the rough opening. Start at one bottom corner and run up and over. Do not run a bead across the bottom exterior of the threshold. If any water does get in, this is where it can escape. Instead, come in 2" and run a healthy bead along the flat surface of the threshold and up 4" on each side.

Step 5

Place your door in the rough opening. Having your hinge side tight to the framing will ensure a sturdier function, so press the door to the hinge side. Once you've got your door shimmed and plum, tack your exterior casing with a few finish nails. Check the function of the door and shim as necessary. 

Step 6

Once you are happy with the function of your door (an equal reveal around, no binding and a flush fit when closed) install exterior wood screws through the trim into the sheathing (Approximately 8 2 1/4" screws equally spaced) Check your door function early on during this process. Make sure to pre-drill and avoid splitting trim.  

Step 7

Don't forget to insulate between the framing and door frame before installing drywall.