How to Install a Door Jamb How to Install a Door Jamb

What You'll Need
Replacement door jamb (pre-made or custom)
Level
Carpenters square
Wooden shims
Wood screws
Screwdriver
Pry bar (optional)
Tape measure
Pencil

If you have recently begun construction or repairs at home, you may find yourself needing to replace a door jamb. Door jambs can and will work their selves loose which can cause damage. This type of repair will have you gathering some basic carpentry knowledge on how to handle this moderately simple repair.

Step 1. Remove the Standing Door

The first step is to remove the existing or standing door. It needs to be removed for full access. Luckily it is a simple task; remove the hinge pins and lift the door from its hinges. Place the door safely out of the way.

Step 2. Remove the Door Trim

Removing the trim is an easy task, but you must take care not to do any more damage. To proceed without damage, place the screwdriver or pry bar between the drywall and the trim. Then slowly and gently pry the trim away a little at a time. Once removed, set it aside with the door.

Step 3. Remove Door Jamb

In most cases, a door jamb will be held down with nails so removing it will take simple prying. However, in newer homes it can be held down with wood screws. Either way, pay attention to how the door jamb is removed so you can preserve the hinged sides. Now remove it from its place.

Step 4. Measure for the New Door Jamb

Proceed by measuring the width and height of the door, all while staying within the side studs and door header/footer. With a pencil, mark the location of hinges on the opening by using the old door jamb as reference. Make sure to measure from the center of each hinge location.

With these measurements, you can go to a local hardware store and pick up a pre-made door jamb or have a custom one cut for a little extra money. The custom fit door jamb will fit better, but you may have to wait a day before the hardware store has it complete. If you opt to get a pre-made door jamb, which is great for newer homes, it will come in three pieces and will need to be assembled before use.


Step 5. Test, Level, and Plumb

Lay the new door jamb in place, only lightly secured at the hinged sides if you feel it is necessary. Place the level atop your installation. If unlevel use the shims to get the desired result. The carpenter’s square can be used to see if the install is plumb.

Step 6. Make it Permanent

When you are satisfied with the level and plumb, continue screwing it into place and begin reattaching the trim and existing door.

Extra Tips:

  • Remember to wear safety glasses when cutting wood.
  • Sanding the wooden pieces of the jamb before installation can save work when you are ready to paint or stain.
  • Do not leave power tools plugged in without supervision.

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