Is the exterior door on your home hanging off the hinges like an old barn door? Has dry rot caused the corners of the door to crumble away? Are the metal doors you thought would last forever by your pool rusting away? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you need a new door. Do you hire and expensive contractor to replace them, or can you do it yourself? If you have a little bit of strength, time and a little carpentry skills, then you can do it yourself with these helpful tips and advice.
Measure you door first and go to the local supply company for choices and designs for your new door. In some cases, a salesman from the store can come to your hoe to measure them for you if you have more than one door. There are numerous designs available as well as a large selection of door materials. Typically the new fiberglass doors are built to last for a lifetime, but even metal and wooden doors can last for a long time if properly cared for. Pre-hung doors are the standard for most doors, but in the case where your door jambs are still in excellent condition then you don’t really need to buy the casing and jambs that come with a pre-hung door. You can save yourself some time and money by not having to replace the entire jamb and do costly remodeling on the exterior of your home.
Once the door or doors have been ordered to be delivered to your home, or you pick them up yourself, you should check to see how well they fit. First remove the door from the jamb by removing the hinge pins from the old door with a hammer and a nail punch. Remove the bottom pins first and work your way up. Be careful not to let the door fall out. If you keep the door shut when you remove the hinge pins may help if you’re by yourself and have no one who can help you to hold the door. Once the hinge pins are removed place the new door in the opening to see how it fits. If it seems to open and there is a slight gap around the door, then you may be able to attach the door directly to the hinges without chiseling out for the hinges to recess. This step is more than likely not to occur and the door is going to require some chiseling.
Using several shims, put under the door to make the door fit in the opening neatly. The tops and bottom reveal should be the same. There should be no light from the top or bottom of the door. Once the door is shimmed properly, use a pencil to mark the existing hinges on the new door. Also mark the striker plate and dead bolt position on the other side of the door. Remove the door and place it in an area where it can be worked on.
Once it is on its side, chisel out about a ¼ inch from the marked areas on the hinges. Once a smooth surface has been achieved using the chisel, attach the hinges. Put just two of the four screws into the hinge. This is so you can adjust the hinges as need when re-hanging the door. Place the door in the existing hinges. Start from the top and work your way down. Once the first hinge is on, then attach the middle. Tap with a hammer until it fits on the hinge. Install the hinge pin and do the same for the lower one until it is attached properly. Open and close the door to assure it closes properly. If all goes well move to the next step. If it doesn’t close, then adjust the hinges by removing the door and chiseling out the necessary amount. You can fill in the excess with caulk or wood putty before painting to fix any major mistakes from over chiseling the hinges.
Once you have the door positioned correctly inside the opening, you need to drill out for the handles and deadbolt. At most local hardware stores, you can purchase a keyhole saw kit for door handles. If they don’t sell them at your home improvement center, then you need to purchase two hole saws. These fit in your drill and are less than $50 in most cases. After you drill the holes, attach the handles and deadbolt. Check for a proper fit of the striker plate and deadbolt lock. Adjust the striker plates to fit if necessary.
With a little luck and some skill, you should have a neatly opening and closing door. Adjust as necessary, but be careful not to over adjust. Take small baby steps when adjusting and only remove small amounts when chiseling hinges out. Don’t paint anything until the door is completely installed properly. Good luck and remember to take your time and your project should go smooth.