Carpentry, Home, Repairs

How to hang a front door: step by step guide

How to Hang a door

This guide outlines the steps for how to hang a door, and the factors for choosing a front door for your home.

A good front door to your home is important for several reasons. It provides a nice welcome to guests and makes you feel happy to return home. But perhaps more importantly, it gives you the security you need to keep you safe from intruders. So, when your front door starts to look shabby or begins to rot away, it’s important to repair or replace it. And if your front door does need replacing, it could be the ideal DIY project. So, this guide looks at what door you should fit and how to hang a door yourself.

What type of front door should I fit?

A front door needs to be strong and if you’re worried about kerb appeal, it needs to be attractive too. Doors come in a range of styles and materials, so picking a suitable one is the first task.

Exterior doors can be made from uPVC, composite material or wood. Each has its own pros and cons. Durable uPVC is usually the most affordable and low-maintenance option. However, it’s not always the most attractive choice and with limited styles available, these doors don’t suit every home.

Wooden doors are more expensive but are attractive and do give your entrance a high-end feel. However, they require seasonal maintenance to keep them in good condition and can expand and contract with the weather. So, wooden doors do require more skill to install and take more time to look after.

Composite doors are becoming increasingly popular as they have the aesthetic appeal of wooden doors and plenty of style options. Plus, they’re easy to maintain. However, they’re not always cheap.

How to hang a door: step by step

Fitting a new front door can be quite a skilled task but it can be done by a competent DIYer. The easiest way to install a new front door is to choose a pre-hung door or door set kit. This means that the door is already fitted to the frame for you. Look for a supplier that gives you options for pre-fitted locks and handles, so the hardest work is already done.

How to hang a door: equipment

Be aware of the equipment and items you may need for how to hang a door :

tape meaure
stops/shims
hinges
linings
locks
pencil
screwdriver
drill
chisel

How to hang a door: Preparation

  • Choose a door suitable for the available space, adapting it if necessary. Also consider the jambs, that is, the side woods where the hinges are fitted, as they also take up space on the wall.
  • You also need to adjust the bottom, which should be between 6 and 12mm off the floor. See if the door will pass through the smooth floor or through some type of carpet or rug. In that case, consider them.
  • In addition, also consider the model. Many doors and jambs are already pre-assembled and easier to install. However, there are others that need more work, such as assembling the stop, for example.

How to hang a door: steps

As the first step for how to hang a door, you’ll need to measure up accurately to get the correct size kit. You’ll need the height and width of your frame. To get an accurate width measurement, it’s a good idea to take measurements from the bottom, middle and top of your opening.

Once you have your door measurements, it’s time to remove your old front door. Start with the external and internal trim or architrave. This is purely decorative, so it should be easy to prise away from the frame.

Remove the hinge pins and lift your door from the frame. Next, you’ll need to remove the door jambs from the top, latch and hinge sides of the frame. You may also have a sill section at the bottom to remove. You should now be left with just the framework of your opening.

Fitting a new door set will vary slightly, depending on the manufacturer. So, get your installation instructions and follow these carefully. It’s likely that you’ll need to install a sill first. This should be included in your kit but it’s worth checking before you start.

Insert the stops

Stops/shims are allocated to available space. Ideally, only small spaces remain between them and the wall, later filled by the expansive foam.
After allocating the stops on the wall, use a piece of wood to fit between one side stop and another in order to prevent the foam from altering and damaging them.
To check the accuracy of fitting the stops to the wall and prevent them from getting out of adjustment, use the plumb bob to measure this. Make sure the bottom weight is flush with the jamb: not too close, not too far, but almost touching.

Check that the base or sill is level, and the sides of your frame are plumb. If not, you’ll need to spend a bit of time getting your door and jambs straight. The easiest way to do this is by lifting your door set into place and checking all sides with a spirit level to see how it’s sitting. Then, use wooden shims to level the jambs and fill in any significant gaps. If there’s a lot of manoeuvring to do, you may need to unscrew and take out the door, to make it easier to adjust.

Test the door in the space

Ask someone for help to test the door in space and check some points, such as:

  • Check if the door will open into the room;
  • Light switches cannot be covered by the open door, that is, always place them on the handle side and not on the hinges.
  • Note the size of the door, if it actually fits between the jambs.

Mark the hinges

  • Lay the door on its side, hinged side up. Make a 15cm mark from the top and bottom edges to mark the location of the door hinges.
  • Open the hinge and place it in line with the mark. Then make a new mark, this time to indicate the exact location of the hinge on all sides.
  • With the chisel, mark the hinge entrances and gradually remove the wood from the place. However, be very careful not to remove too much wood and end up ruining the door and the hinge fitting in place.

Put the hinges on the doors

  • Reinsert the hinge into the proper location and then mark the holes with the pencil. With the position of the holes indicated, use the drill with a bit smaller than the screws to make the entries.
  • With the door upright, keep the drill bit horizontal and straight against the side of the door. With the holes made, insert the hinge in the indicated location and screw.

Fit the door into the jambs

With the hinges already in place, you can now also insert them into the jambs, with the help of someone to hold the door upright while you screw them. Once the door set is in place and any large gaps are filled, you can use the supplied fixings to secure it to the framework. Make sure it’s flush and not jutting out, before securing fully. You may need to use a filler or sealant between the jamb and frame to minimize draughts.

Then, you can cover over the framework with your choice of trim or architrave. Wooden architrave can be attached with metal pins or nails, but plastic trim is better glued in place and finished with silicone sealant. Alternatively, clip-on trim may come with your door set.

If you’re not confident you can fit a new door in one day, it’s best to leave this task to a professional so you don’t leave your home unsecured at night.

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