Adding a new fiberglass, wood, or steel entry door to your home adds security and safety. It can also help with enhancing the look of your home from the outside. A prehung door is a great way for you to give your guest a first impression that is positive. It also gives you to the opportunity to have fun with a lengthy DIY (do-it-yourself) project. You should know that this is a moderately difficult task. That being said, you don't want to use this your first DIY project. If you haven't made repairs before, then you should enlist the help of a friend or family member who has experience with past projects. The steps below will walk you through just what you need to do in order to measure and order your new door, remove your old door, and ensure that you get the new door perfectly in place, square, level, and fastened securely.
Measure The Old Door
One mistake the homeowners often make is grabbing a door right off the shelf at their local store without every getting measurements. When you do this, you often find that the door is not the right fit. That being said, the first thing that you need to do is measure your current door. First, measure the width as well as the height of the door.
Now, pry off the interior trim using a pry bar. Try to be gentle. Pry a bit and move up to the next section, pry, and then move up again. If you happen to break the trim don't panic, chances are you can fix it with just a bit of wood glue, and it won't be likely that anyone will even notice the break. You need to measure the rough opening of the door. This is the width between your studs and the distance between the floor and the header.
Next, you will measure starting at the back of the brick molding, or outside trim, to the interior wall face. This will give you the jamb width. Remember, when you are measuring you should always measure two or even three times and measure from different places to ensure that you get the right measurement. You want the jamb width of the new door to be right so that you can be sure that it fits without the need for jamb extensions.
Finally, you will need to go back outside. You will measure the width from the outside brick molding as well as the height from the top exterior trim to the top of the sill. Ordering a door assembly that fills the space well will help you to avoid the task of patching siding. You may need to ask for exterior trim that is special and wider than the standard brick molding that is 2 inches wide.
With the measurements that you took in hand, you can now start door shopping. Take into consideration the type of door that will provide you the best security but also be appealing to you. Also, make sure that the measurements you have written down are correct before making any purchase. If you are unsure about it then you should. Most doors do come in standard sizes, and you will most likely be able to find one that fits the dimensions that you have measured.
Remove The Old Door And Frame
Remove the existing trim from the exterior of the door. You should cut the caulk around the brick molding using your utility knife, this will make it easier for you to remove it. You removed the interior trim when taking your measurements if you reinstalled the trim while waiting on your new door to arrive then carefully pry it off again. Some entry doors come with the exterior trim already attached if this is the case you can discard your old exterior trim when removing it. Remove the insulation that surrounds the frame of the door as well.
Now, you need to remove the door from the hinges. To do this you will use a nail or a screwdriver and a hammer. Place the nail or screwdriver in the hole located at the hinge pin bottom and strike upward with your hammer. Keep doing this until the pin is removed. Do this for all the hinges. You should now be able to remove the door from the frame. Use your screwdriver to remove the hinges from the frame once you have the door off.
Finally, you are ready to take out the frame. For this, you will remove the nails, or screws, that are attaching the house frame to the jamb or sill. If needed, you can use a reciprocating to cut any nails that are between the sill or the jamb and the house frame. If you see any shims, they are small pieces of wood, remove them from between the house from and the jamb. Now, you can remove the frame for the door from the frame of the house. It may be necessary to pry under the sill with a pry bar.
Installing The New Door
Start by dry-fitting the front entry door into position to be sure it fits. Look at where the door will sit, this is the subsill, you want to make sure that it is level and square. Follow the instructions that you have from the manufacturer and use shims to adjust it as needed. You also need to make sure you have a plumb and square rough opening. You should call a professional to assist you if you are not sure whether the rough opening is actually square and plumb.
You should look for any pest damage or dry rot on the house fame. If you see any repairs that need to be made, make them now. Check now to see that the front entry door is able to clear the floor. To do this you can measure the existing flooring and also then measure from the bottom of the new door sill to the bottom of your new door. If you find that the door will not clear the flooring then you need to raise up the entire frame. You can do this by adding treated wood to the subfloor and securing it with screws and caulk. Now, you need to make the subsill weatherproof. To do this apply a caulk bead about an inch from the rough opening rear and about an inch from the front. In between, you should use a zig-zag or wave patter. The door sill underside should have caulk applied to it also.
Working from outside place the bottom part of the entry door at the opening, then you need to raise the frame up into place. You should insert shims temporarily, near the frame top to hold the door. Use the shims to make sure the frame is plumb and square. Also, place shims between the studs and the door frame where the hinges are located. The shims aid in keeping the door square and plumb, as well as level, in your rough opening. You want to make sure that between the rough frame and the jamb there is a clearance of at least an eighth of an inch.
For this part, you can use your drill. Place screws through the shims and the hinges. Check to make sure that your manufacturer doesn't recommend placing the screws below your shims. Now place shims on the bottom and top of the jamb on the side where the door lock is. Place screws through these shims and the jamb.
Check to ensure that the spacing around the doorjamb is even. Go to the inside and make sure that the spacing is even at the reveal. Now going back outside, make sure that you have between 3/8 and ½ inch space between the top, bottom, and middle of the jamb stop and the door. If any adjustments need to be made to the door frame you can make them now.
Follow the manufacturer's instructions for the door and around the frame insert additional shims. For extra strength, you can add shims at the deadbolt and the lockset positions. Now, remove any shipping braces.
Close the door and then open it. Make sure that it swings nicely. If it needs adjustments, make them. Check the instructions to see if your door has a sill that is adjustable.
Any shims you have added will need to have screws place through them at this time. Use a utility knife and score the shims, this will allow you to snap off any excess. Follow, your manufacturer's instructions regarding how to secure the sill. For this step, you will need to make sure that you wear rubber gloves. You don't want to get the insulation on your skin. Fill in any gaps you find around the frame use a foam insulation spray that is minimal expanding and allow this to dry. After it is dry, use a putty knife to remove any excess. Now you can reattach the trim to the entry door.
Painting The Door
If the door was not pre-finished, then you can now apply paint or stain using the manufacturer's recommendations. You can remove the door from its hinges and use sawhorses, painting outdoors. Also, make sure to check the recommendation the manufacturer regarding painting the door's bottom. Don't forget to stain or paint your trim is you desire. Reattach the door once the paint has dried.
Make sure that you remove the hardware that you can from the door before painting. You don't want it painted. The hardware that cannot be removed, you can simply use painters tape to cover. If the door has a peep hole you should cover it as well. For any glass, you can mask the panes perimeter with tape to ensure that the paint line is uniform. Everything you don't want to paint needs to be taped now.
Remember that it is best if you paint when the outside temp is expected to be between 50 and 90 degrees. If you paint when the sun is shining directly on the door you may find that the heat caused the paint to blister, so try and keep this in mind as well.
As you paint make sure to look for any spots where the paint may be pooling and any drips that may occur. You want to always catch these quickly while the paint is wet. Make sure you allow the door time to dry completely before painting the other side.
Installing The Lockset
Your door more than likely came without locks. This being said, you can either install new lockset for the door, or if you want you can reuse the lockset that you already had. All you need to do is place the plates on using the your screwdriver and screws that came with the new one, or the ones that removed taking the lockset off your old door. You will also use the screwdriver to attach the deadbolt and the door knob. If you have a new lockset and are not sure exactly how you should install it, you can check the manufacturer's instructions that should have come with it. This process should only take you a few minutes.
Check again now with everything in place, to make sure the door swings correctly, latches, and locks as it should. If any other adjustments need to be made, you should make them now. Finally, you should have a completely new front entry door that is fully function.