How to Replace a Front Door

hands using drill to replace hardware in front door
  • 3 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 800
What You'll Need
New door
Measuring tape
Pry bar
Circular saw
Door frames
Finishing nails
Paint or stain
Paint brushes

Every home needs a facelift now and then, and replacing a front door is a simple way to make a big impact. Whether your front door is old or damaged or is just getting old and drafty, you may want to look into replacing it yourself. Replacing a front door isn't very difficult, especially if you have help. Not only do you get to flex your mad DIY skills when you replace a door yourself, but you also save yourself a lot of money in labor costs.

Step 1 - Purchase Your New Door

Before you go out to purchase your new door, it's important that you take accurate measurements of your current door, door frame, and opening. If your measurements are even a little off, you may end up with a new door that won't fit. So like a true contractor, measure at least twice, and write your measurements down. If your current door is drafty, and potentially too small for your current door frame, keep that in mind for when you order your door. Consider talking to a local hardware store to see if they would recommend that you get a larger door.

Once you have taken the measurements, take them to a home and garden store or a hardware store to purchase a new door, keeping in mind all the upgrades you wish to have. If your local hardware store doesn't have what you're looking for, consider getting a custom door built for your space. If your current door was a custom build, that may be your only option.

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Step 2 - Remove the Old Door

hand removing door hinge pin with pliers

Take a hammer and carefully tap the pins out of the door hinges. Once they are out enough from the hinge, remove them and carefully take the door off the hinges.

    Then use a screwdriver to unscrew the screws from the hinges in the door jamb and remove the jamb from the door. Take your time here. If it is seemingly impossible to remove the door jamb manually, use a circular saw to cut into it and remove it that way.

    If you want to remove the molding from the old door, use a pry bar to clear it off. Use protective eyewear.

    Step 3 - Prepare for Installation

    With someone else's help, lift the new door into place and make sure that it fits the space between the door frames. You may also want to simulate it moving to make sure it doesn't hit anything in the way. If the door is level, and the door frame is placed how it should be, place shims (small pieces of scrap wood) between the walls of your home and the door frame. This will prevent any shifting that may occur while you are installing your door.

    If any part of the frame are not in alignment, place a shim behind the area and using a hammer, nail a finishing nail through the frame and the shim. You can also make sure your door is secure by nailing finishing nails through the rest of the frames and shims.

    Step 4: Install

    Once you have finished your simulation, caulk the bottom of the opening of the door frame and place the door frame or the threshold into place.

    Before you put the trim onto the door, you may want to paint or stain it so that it matches both the interior and the exterior of the rest of your home. The best way to do this without making a mess is by laying them out on newspaper and painting them with brushes.

    Once the trim is ready to be attached to the opening, you will want to place insulation between the door jamb and the wall's opening. Then place the door back into the frame, to make sure it hangs correctly at about midway through the opening.

    Step 4 - Replace the Door's Hardware

    man replacing door hardware with drill

    Make sure the hinges are in place and use screws to attach the door to the jamb. Take your time to make sure that your screws go in nice and flat. Once the hinges are attached to the door, remove the shims, and give your door a good test. If everything looks good, add your doorknob and locks.

    The process of adding a doorknob is probably the hardest part of replacing your own door, but it's definitely doable. Follow the instructions that came with your doorknob carefully, and just know that if you install it backward, it's easy to take apart and install correctly.

    Once you've got your new front door boosting your curb appeal, it's time to give the rest of your front yard a little DIY love.

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