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
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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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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.
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.
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 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.
How much does it cost to buy and install a new front door?
Most stronger, longer-lasting front doors will run between $350 and $750 plus. If you want a higher quality brand, the cost may be a bit more. In addition, if you want someone to install the front door, this would vary based on contractor rates but may be around $200.
Do you need to paint a fiberglass door?
Yes, you should paint a fiberglass door. The edges are generally already primed, so they can be painted. If you choose not to paint these doors, they may start rotting or delaminating. The edges are usually made from wood which is why they may rot if not painted.
How do you fix a door frame?
To fix a door frame, you must first take off the broken part. You will then nail in the new frame, place the door stop, put the strike plate in and install the molding. This project does not take very long for most people.
Can you paint a vinyl front door?
Yes. You could paint your vinyl front door. However, you need to complete the adhesion process first. Once you have prepared the door, you can use an additive or primer, to assure the job is done properly.
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.
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