Installing an interior or exterior door can be a troublesome task if you do not have the right tools or guidance on how to do it. However, if you have a clear understanding of the whole process of installing a door, you can easily do it yourself.
Below is a general guide for installing a door. The technicalities may differ based on the exact kind of door you are trying to install, but the general process remains the same. If installing a light-weight door, you can easily do it yourself without any help.
However, in the case of a heavier door such as wooden or metal doors, you would need someone else to help you to hold the door during installation as its weight might be too much for one person to bear.
Gather All The Tools
The first step is to gather all the tools to ensure that the process of installation will not be stalled due to the unavailability of any tool or other material. Some of the tools necessary for a door installation are listed below:
- Set of screwdrivers
- Safety glasses
- Tape measure
- Power drill
- Drip edge
- Insulation material
- All the accessories that come with the door
Prepare The Area For Installation
The first step is to wear safety glasses and gloves to minimize any chance of injury. The next step is to measure the opening and adjust it according to the size of the door. The width of the opening should be approximately 2 inches more than the door width and 2.5 inches more than its height. We have to leave this extra space to install the door frame.
Then, remove the door from its packaging. Do not remove the brackets or shipping braces yet as they help to keep the door closed during installation. Once the door has been shimmed into its position only then should the braces or brackets be removed.
Trace and Check If The Door Fits Properly
The next step is to test if the door fits properly in the rough opening. Center the door and shim underneath to make sure that the door is plumb. Adjust the shims to ensure that the door is properly centered and fits in the opening.
With the door test-fitted in the opening, trace the outline of the moulding onto the siding. Keep extra space in the outline for any extra trim that might be required. Once the tracing has been completed, remove the door and keep aside while you work on the next steps of installation.
Level The Floor
The next step is leveling of the floor. This is the most crucial step as the bottom of each door jamb should be leveled properly. For this purpose, you would need to place a level and place it on the floor to check if it is leveled properly or not. Use shims to level it, then measure the height of the shim.
This height measurement would have to be cut off the jamb at the opposite side of the opening. The jamb could be cut off by using a circular saw. Cutting the correct length of jamb is very important to ensure that the door will be leveled correctly.
Attach Temporary Blocks to Jambs
Next you will have to attach temporary blocks to the jamb so that they will hold properly with the wall before it is permanently fastened. Usually, two to three blocks are nailed on each of the latch side and hinge side.
Center The Door
Then comes the step of centering the door in the opening. The door should be centered perfectly so that there is a similar amount of gap on each side of the door and the top jamb is leveled. The temporary blocks that we attached with the jamb are then screwed to the wall.
These blocks allow the door to be temporarily attached to the wall which helps in screwing the hinges and fine-tuning the adjustment of the door. The gaps at the door stops are then checked to ensure that when the door is closed, the complete door comes in contact with the stop at the same time.
If any part of the door touches the stop before the other, you will have to adjust the jambs on the opposite side of the door so that the door opens and closes properly.
In this step, you start with the top most hinge. The center screws are taken out and shims are slid behind the screw hole. The screws are then nailed in to install the hinges with the door frame. The process should be closely observed so that the jamb is always perpendicular to the wall.
If at any time, they are not perpendicular, you will have to adjust the shims so that the hinges could be properly screwed to the frame. While screwing the hinges, pay close attention so as not to push the hinge too much that it throws off the balance of the jamb.
After screwing each hinge, try to open and close the door to ensure that there are no leveling issues and consistent gaps remain on each side of the door. If you are unable to DIY, you may choose to engage a door specialist to install the hinges for you.
Once the hinges have been screwed in place, you can remove the retaining brackets or braces. After removing them, again check the swinging of the door by opening and closing it. Cut the extra shim using a knife. All the nail holes should then be filled with caulk and painted accordingly.
Install The Lock and Handle
The next step is to install the lock and knob. This can easily be done by inserting the latch through the hole in the door designed for the door knob. The lock is then inserted in between. Both of the handles are then placed on either side of the latch and screwed together using a screwdriver. Then the strike plate will have to be screwed on the jamb. Once it has been screwed, close the door and lock/unlock to ensure that everything is in the right place and working properly.
Check If Any Insulation Required Or Not?
Once the door has been successfully installed, you might want to consider whether it needs to be insulated or not. Insulation has its benefits of keeping the heat inside as well as noise. This is especially necessary in the case of a front door where you would want to keep the outside noise from entering your home.
For insulating the door, you will have to insulate the door frame through low expansion foam or fiberglass insulation. On the interior side of the door, you could install a trim. A weather strip can be attached at the base of the door to further provide good insulation.
By following the above mentioned steps closely, you can easily install a new door or replace your old door with a new one without hiring any help. Although, depending on the type of door, there might be a few changes on how it is to be installed. These might be available in the installation guide that comes with a new door. However, the general process of installation is the same for all doors which has been described in detail above.