how to install a front door

People Installing A Front Door On A Gorgeous Home
Tools Needed
1 Safety Glasses
2 Utility Knife
3 Tape Measure
4 Putty Knife
5 Hammer
6 Nail Set
7 Pry Bar
8 Silicone Caulk
9 Caulking Gun
10 4-ft. Level
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Materials Needed
1 New door
2 Door latch/door lock
3 Wood Shims
4 2” Casing nails
5 Expanding foam
6 Plywood planks
7 2” Hinge Screws
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Total Cost
$100-$500
Find a handyman
Estimated Time
3-5 Hours
Skill Level: Expert
The total cost and duration may vary when hiring a handyman!

Project Overview

People Installing A Door

Installing a new front door adds privacy, safety, and appeal to your home. Before you call a handyman for the job, browse the step-by-step instructions below and learn how to install a front door yourself. These simple instructions indicate the job is a great DIY project most any homeowner can complete.

Read the instructions included with your new door. You should follow any specific instructions set forth in those instructions. However, the step-by-step installation instructions below should suffice for most homeowners who want to install their own front door.

Step-By-Step Instructions

1

Take Measurements

Measuring Front Door With Tape Measure

You’ll need to collect four sets of measurements to correctly measure the door.

  • Door Size: The height and width of the old door should be measured.
  • Jamb Width:  From the backside of the interior trim to the backside of the exterior trim should be measured to get the jamb width. This number is one you’ll need to mention when ordering your new door to ensure the interior trim fits into the wall flush without the need for jamb extensions.
  • Rough Opening: Removing the interior trim helps get the most accurate measurements of the rough opening. Placing a putty knife against the frame before using the box cutter to remove the trim can save the paint -and the need to repaint the area. Measure the opening width between the frame and from the bottom of the sill to the top of the opening, comparing measurements ensures proper fit.
  • Exterior Opening: Measure from the exterior casing and again from the bottom of the sill to the trim top. Compare the measurements using a standard 2-inch wide brick molding trim. If the door is too small to fit the space when framed, there are a few options available. You can purchase a wider door,  add decorative molding to overtop the trim, or fill the gaps with wood strips.
2

Order a New Door

People Ordering A New Front Door

Using the collected measurements, visit the door supplier of your choice to order a new door.  Wood, steel, and fiberglass material are popular choices for entry doors. Using rounded measurements is best. For example, if your door measures 34 ½ inches in height, order a 35-inch door.

To ensure the hinges align properly, you’ll need to choose from a left-swing or a right-swing door. To determine which swing you need, open the existing door with your back standing against it. If the door opens to the right, order a right-swing door. If the door opens to the left, order a left-swing door.

When the door arrives, keep it inside the packaging until you’re ready to hang unless pretreating is desirable. Bracing is also on the door, used to keep the door square. Allow the bracing to remain in place until installed.

Should you wish to treat the door, it is easier before the door is installed. Consider adding paint, stain, etc. before continuing with the door installation.

3

Remove the Old Door

Person Taking From Door Down

Using a nail set, tap the hinge pins on the door until they come out. Remove the door from the hinges. Remove the lockset/deadbolt on the door if reusing the set.

You’ll notice paint between the exterior and interior door casing and your home’s siding or brick. Use your utility knife to remove the paint.

Check the door sill. Doors exposed to weather elements oftentimes become damaged and need replaced along with the door. If the door isn’t damaged but still unlevel, placing a strip of thin plywood provides a quick solution to level the floor.

Place your pry bar between the jamb and the door casing. Use the hammer to loosen the door from the frame. Pry the door from the casing, careful not to scrap the siding. Remove the hinges, the door latch, the deadbolt strike plate and the door jambs.

4

Attach the New Door

Installing A New Door In The Frame

Ensure the the studs are square and plumb before you begin attaching the new door. If there’s a second set of hands around, asking for a little help right now is ideal because the door can be rather heavy.

Apply a thin layer of silicone caulk to the outer edge of the sill, followed by another half-inch layer around the first. Caulk should also be placed around the exterior opening.

Remove the braces from the new door. Drill holes in the brick mold in the exterior door casing. Place the top of the new door on the sill, working the door into a standing position. Using a level, align the door until it is square and plumb.

Use 3” galvanized or stainless steel casing nails into the pre-drilled holes. Leave the nail heads protruding in case the door needs adjusting. Shims can be placed behind any hinges with a gap between the stud and door jamb.

Open and close the door, ensuring that it fits properly and that the door is square. If the door isn’t, make any necessary adjustments now.

The hinge screws in the door jamb should be replaced with hinge screws that penetrate at least 1” into the stud. Put shims between the stud and the door frame side to fill any remaining gaps. Hammer the finishing nails into the stud. Put shims between the latch side of the door frame and at the lock and deadbolt locations.

Use 2” finishing nails, install the interior door casing. Ensure there’s a ⅛” to a 3/16” wide reveal on each of the three sides of the casing and door jamb. Set the nails below the surface of the door using a nail set using  painter’s putty or a wood filler.

Place trimming on the exterior of the new door. Caulk around the brick molding of the door to seal the exterior. Repeat the process on the interior of the door frame.

5

The Finishing Touches

person admiring and looking at the front door they just installed

Doesn't it feel great to have just installed a new front door at your home? Now, for a few final touches!

The door casing and brick or siding should now be caulked and the holes touched up with paint. When finished, install the lockset and deadbolt, ensuring the latch screws reach through the casing into the stud 1” or more.

Using spray foam before reattaching the trim is also helpful when installing a new front door at your home. The spray foam can be used to seal the gaps between the door frame and the door jamb. Once the insulation is sprayed, trim away the excess using your putty knife

Conclusion

Why hire a professional door installer when you can easily turn this task into a fun DIY project? With the above how to install a front door instructions, any homeowner can instantly become a handyman pro!

How To Install A Front Door

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    Forta Doors Single Door with Single Sidelite-Left and Segment Head Transom in a Cedar Color
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    Forta Doors Double Door with Single Sidelite-Left and Elliptical Transom in a Fir Color
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    Forta Doors Single Door with No Sidelite and Half Round Transom in a Fir Color
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    Forta Doors Double Door with Double Sidelite and No Transom in a Fir Color
    The most important feature of your home is a beautiful front door. Forta Doors add character and style and come in a variety of options. Improve the curb appeal of your home with a Forta Front Door and create the warm and welcoming ambiance your guests deserve every time they visit. Forta Doors enhance the appearance of a home with sophistication while portraying a timeless splendor for any season. A Forta Entry Door makes a great first impression.Embrace your front entry appearance with the craftsmanship and high-quality products only Forta can provide. With an endless array of customizable selections you can achieve any desirable style. Complement your existing home exterior with a unique front door, creating the perfect level of sophistication, elegance, and grace.
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  5. Forta Doors Double Door with Single Sidelite-Right and No Transom in a Cedar Colorview
    Forta Doors Double Door with Single Sidelite-Right and No Transom in a Cedar Color
    The most important feature of your home is a beautiful front door. Forta Doors add character and style and come in a variety of options. Improve the curb appeal of your home with a Forta Front Door and create the warm and welcoming ambiance your guests deserve every time they visit. Forta Doors enhance the appearance of a home with sophistication while portraying a timeless splendor for any season. A Forta Entry Door makes a great first impression.Embrace your front entry appearance with the craftsmanship and high-quality products only Forta can provide. With an endless array of customizable selections you can achieve any desirable style. Complement your existing home exterior with a unique front door, creating the perfect level of sophistication, elegance, and grace.
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    The most important feature of your home is a beautiful front door. Forta Doors add character and style and come in a variety of options. Improve the curb appeal of your home with a Forta Front Door and create the warm and welcoming ambiance your guests deserve every time they visit. Forta Doors enhance the appearance of a home with sophistication while portraying a timeless splendor for any season. A Forta Entry Door makes a great first impression.Embrace your front entry appearance with the craftsmanship and high-quality products only Forta can provide. With an endless array of customizable selections you can achieve any desirable style. Complement your existing home exterior with a unique front door, creating the perfect level of sophistication, elegance, and grace.
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    Forta Doors Single Door with Single Sidelite-Left and No Transom in a Cedar Color
    The most important feature of your home is a beautiful front door. Forta Doors add character and style and come in a variety of options. Improve the curb appeal of your home with a Forta Front Door and create the warm and welcoming ambiance your guests deserve every time they visit. Forta Doors enhance the appearance of a home with sophistication while portraying a timeless splendor for any season. A Forta Entry Door makes a great first impression.Embrace your front entry appearance with the craftsmanship and high-quality products only Forta can provide. With an endless array of customizable selections you can achieve any desirable style. Complement your existing home exterior with a unique front door, creating the perfect level of sophistication, elegance, and grace.
    Estimated Price: $499.00+
  11. Forta Doors Double Door with No Sidelite and Rectangular Transom in a Fir Colorview
    Forta Doors Double Door with No Sidelite and Rectangular Transom in a Fir Color
    The most important feature of your home is a beautiful front door. Forta Doors add character and style and come in a variety of options. Improve the curb appeal of your home with a Forta Front Door and create the warm and welcoming ambiance your guests deserve every time they visit. Forta Doors enhance the appearance of a home with sophistication while portraying a timeless splendor for any season. A Forta Entry Door makes a great first impression.Embrace your front entry appearance with the craftsmanship and high-quality products only Forta can provide. With an endless array of customizable selections you can achieve any desirable style. Complement your existing home exterior with a unique front door, creating the perfect level of sophistication, elegance, and grace.
    Estimated Price: $499.00+
  12. Forta Doors Single Door with Double Sidelite and Segment Head Transom in a Cedar Colorview
    Forta Doors Single Door with Double Sidelite and Segment Head Transom in a Cedar Color
    The most important feature of your home is a beautiful front door. Forta Doors add character and style and come in a variety of options. Improve the curb appeal of your home with a Forta Front Door and create the warm and welcoming ambiance your guests deserve every time they visit. Forta Doors enhance the appearance of a home with sophistication while portraying a timeless splendor for any season. A Forta Entry Door makes a great first impression.Embrace your front entry appearance with the craftsmanship and high-quality products only Forta can provide. With an endless array of customizable selections you can achieve any desirable style. Complement your existing home exterior with a unique front door, creating the perfect level of sophistication, elegance, and grace.
    Estimated Price: $499.00+
  13. Forta Doors Double Door with Double Sidelite and Elliptical Transom in a Oak Colorview
    Forta Doors Double Door with Double Sidelite and Elliptical Transom in a Oak Color
    The most important feature of your home is a beautiful front door. Forta Doors add character and style and come in a variety of options. Improve the curb appeal of your home with a Forta Front Door and create the warm and welcoming ambiance your guests deserve every time they visit. Forta Doors enhance the appearance of a home with sophistication while portraying a timeless splendor for any season. A Forta Entry Door makes a great first impression.Embrace your front entry appearance with the craftsmanship and high-quality products only Forta can provide. With an endless array of customizable selections you can achieve any desirable style. Complement your existing home exterior with a unique front door, creating the perfect level of sophistication, elegance, and grace.
    Estimated Price: $499.00+
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Questions And Answers

What is the best color for a front door?

There is some logic, along with some science, in color selection. A color wheel is the best place for you to start choosing your color. You can mix various colors quickly and easily to find the perfect color scheme for your entry door and the exterior of your home.

Is a steel or fiberglass door better?

Fiberglass doors and steel doors are both great doors. If struck hard enough a fiberglass door can crack, steel does not. Other than that, these doors are both really great options. Steel is the more affordable of the two but fiberglass may be slightly better in all other aspects.

What is the best color to paint your front door?

Most importantly, you want the color of your door to blend with the rest of the exterior. White and red seem to be the most commonly used colors for a front door. After red and white, it is found that is brown, blue, and green come next in popularity.

How much does it cost to replace a door and door frame?

The cost of replacing a door and frame will vary greatly. It is going to depend on the type of material the door is made of and how customized it is. You sho.d expect to spend at minimum $500 for an exterior door and at least $300 for interior replacement.

What color should your front door be if it is facing north?

If your door is facing North, feng shui colors for your door are as follows: blue, white, black, and gray. You should avoid the color of deep pink, purple, orange, yellow, green, red, and brown on a front door that facing North.

What kind of paint do you use on a front door?

First, you need to know whether the door has oil-based or latex paint. You don't want to mix and match, it needs to be the same. Next, you need an exterior paint. Finally, most people prefer a glossy paint for their exterior door. It tends to highlight the architectural features.

How much does it cost to install a new door?

On average the cost of a new entry door is between $500 and $700. The price varies greatly depending on things such as the material of the door, the brand, the type of door, the company installing the door, and more. Installing the door yourself will reduce the cost.

How much does it cost to install a door frame?

A lot of the cost of your door frame will depend on what the current frame looks like. For example, rotting wood would be most costly as things need to be repaired and replaced. For a single door frame, you will need to plan for a minimum of $150.

What is a good feng shui color for the front door?

Your entry door, in feng shui, is how your house is able to receive energy for nourishment. The energy quality determines the energy that your home has. Often, the color you choose is based on the direction in which your door faces. For example, North, South, West, East.

Can you paint a PVC door?

Yes, you most certainly can. You will want to be sure that you clean the door before painting and be sure that it is dry completely. You then will prime and paint. Be sure to use a good set of rollers when painting your door.

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INTERESTING RESOURCES

wood door with top view sidelites and a rectangular transom

Hardwood Front Doors

When you are making home improvements, one major one you can make is changing your front door. It may not seem like it would do as much as remodeling an entire room but that is where you might need some more information. Changing your front door gives your home a new look, improved security and so much more. Many homeowners go with hardwood front doors and you should consider them too. There are many things that you may want to think about before upgrading or altering your front door. Because these hardwood doors are solid and made from a natural material, you’ll see that no two are exactly the same. Sure, oak is oak, but the grain is different, and the many shades of sealant and stains will help with that unique look. However, when you go with hardwood front doors, you will be well on your way to an overall better-looking home. read more

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dutch style front door with glass windows and a picket fence

Higher Property Value

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Front Exterior Doors For Homes

The entry door to your house says a lot about your personal style and design aesthetic. It will be the first thing your guests see and will set the tone for your visit with them. Ugly, unkept front doors might mean an uneasy time together. Be sure you set it right with a door that is welcoming. But, many buyers struggle to choose one based on the sheer number of options for front exterior doors for homes. However, there are key points about the products currently available that can make the decision easier. . Each option comes with its own benefits and drawbacks and fall at different price points. You have set your budget and know the maximum you’ll be investing, so just out the options what will let you customize it for yourself and is completely yours. Additionally, factors like energy efficiency and maintenance requirements often come into play, as well as the final look of the door once it is finished and installed. Investing to update the front door can have benefits such as decreasing your energy bill while changing up the look completely. read more

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Front Exterior Door For Home

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Double Glazed Front Doors

Glass tends to be poor when it comes to insulation and this is due to the fact that a pane of glass is commonly less than an inch in thickness. Double glazing is designed to help combat this use, it uses two panes and forms a gap in between that is airtight. Having the air gap plus two layers of glass helps to make the windows stronger when it comes to insulating ability and thus allowing for a more regulated temperature. Insulating the home with glass in the door is a good option but double glazing reduced your energy costs. Standard double glazing is what we referred to above. Smart glass has an anti-glare protective film that helps to reduce the heat gain in months that are warm as well as reflecting the harsh sunlight. Then there is thermal glazing which is ideal for climates that are extreme or climates where the temperatures vary widely. Depending on where you live as well as what your budget is can help you make the decision of which one to invest in. read more

Retrofit or Replace?

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Window Moisture

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