Hanging a door can be a frustrating process the first time or two. Taking the time to check the plumb / square / level throughout the project will avoid frustration and achieve good results.
Remove an existing door
Remove the door from the hinges or rails.
Remove the door casing (trim) on both sides.
Using a reciprocating saw or mini hacksaw, cut the nails that hold the jambs together.
If the door has a sill plate, pry or cut it.
Framing a rough opening
On the exterior and load-bearing walls, you will remove some existing wall studs that support the house. Therefore, the unfinished opening frame of the door should take over the load.
In most cases, 2×4 or 2×6 lumber is used for the side framing and two 2x10s (or larger) lumber form the header. Mark the outline of the doorway: 6 “wider and 3” higher to accommodate the frame. Make sure to remove any baseboards along the way.
Cut or chisel the existing drywall / plasterboard. Cut the existing wall studs in the new opening where the top of the frame header will be, or remove them completely if the header reaches the top wall plate.
Remove the sole at the threshold. A reciprocating saw or hand saw is helpful for this job. Cut two 2×4 (or 2×6) king studs to cover the entire length of the wall, or use an existing wall stud if possible.
Attach a scab on the trimmer bolts to the king pins to support the head. Cut and place the head on the trimmer bolts and nail the head to the king pins.
Door Jamb Installation
If you are installing a pre-hung door, the door jamb installation is now ready for you. You just need to fit the jambs correctly into the frame. Whether you are installing each jamb separately or installing a pre-hung door, putting the jambs in place is done in basically the same way.
Shim plumb / square side jambs with opening and secure in place. Test the head jamb adjustment and when square, secure the side jambs.
NOTE: Shim behind the hinge and contact plate areas for a secure hold, especially lockable or exterior doors.
Recheck for squareness, shim if necessary, and nail head jamb in place.
Placing the door
These are the additional steps required if you don’t have a pre-hung door. Compare the squareness of the jamb frame to the door. If it is not square or you are fitting an old door, the door may need to be trimmed to fit.
TIP: Consider installing the doorknob if it isn’t already. It can help you control the door while testing assembly and tampering. (For more on this, see our Door Knob Tips.)
When the door and jamb frame are square, adjust the gaps between the door and the jambs, usually 1/16 “at the top, 1/8” on the knob side, and up to 1/4 “at the top. the bottom carpet later, tuck it into the bottom free space.
Position the door, block it with shims and check the gaps; brush the door if necessary. When the door fits properly, you are ready to mark the hinges.
Hanging a hinged door
Most doors have three hinges. A heavy or extra secure door may require more hinges. In this case, we will install the hinges to the jamb before attaching the hinges to the door. But some people screw them to the door first.
Mark and embed the jamb hinges, usually 7 “from the top of the top hinge to the top of the door, and 11” from the bottom of the bottom hinge to the bottom of the door. Center the middle hinge.
Position the hinges so that they protrude slightly from the jamb so they are not “pinched” when opening / closing. Then position the door and trace around the door hinge pieces (hinge sheet). Mortise the door and fasten the hinges.
TIP: Do not fully tighten the screws to allow the hinges to “play” while positioning the hinge pins.
Hit the door pins and test the door. If it opens / closes freely, you are ready to attach the door stop and latch hardware.
A newly hung door can bind or warp a bit because the jamb is not plumb. Or making the hinge mortise too deep accidentally creates an uneven gap along the latch side of the door.
Both of these problems can be easily corrected by wedging one or two hinges with a cut piece of cardboard, a thin piece of flooring, or, in some cases, a shim cut to fit behind the hinge.
Close the door and check the gaps. If the door sticks to the upper hinge, wedge the upper hinge and adjust the lower hinge, and vice versa for a door that sticks to the lower hinge.
If the door sticks in the upper corner of the knob side, tighten the upper hinge and wedge the lower hinge, and vice versa for a door that sticks in the lower corner of the knob side.
Remove the hinge that is in front of the space you want to close. Place the shim in the mortise and replace the hinge over it. Notice how much the door spacing has changed and shim other hinges accordingly if necessary. However, too thick a fit will often make the fit visible.
Tips for door knobs
Do not attempt to install a doorknob without a properly sized hole saw. Go buy one and a good quality chisel for mortising.
Most latch and knob kits have instructions and a handy template to use, so we won’t discuss the actual installation here. In most cases, the knob and latch are 3 ‘from the bottom of the door.
With the knob turned on, locate the strike plate location by transposing the knob location measurements. A less conventional method is to “color” the knob latch point with pencil lead, turn the knob to retract the latch, position the door closed, and release the knob to mark the edge of the strike plate on the side jamb. .