Reframing a door can seem like a daunting task and may take a good chunk of your weekend to complete, but it can make a huge difference when it comes to your home. You may need to reframe your doors while replacing them with a different sized door or it could just be because of time and age. Regardless, replacing doors and reframing them can add value and improved insulation to your home.
Measure Old Door
You are going to want the best fit possible, so be sure to get the most precise measurements you can. In many cases, you can order a replacement door with the same measurements. If not, there is a little more work that needs to be done. To measure correctly, there are four parts that should be measured.
The first part is the door size. This is simple. You just measure the height and width of the door. Round this number up, and that is the door size you will need to order. Then you will want to measure the jamb width. To do this, measure from the back of the interior trim to the back of the exterior trim. To get your third measurement, the rough opening, you will remove your trim. Measure from the each framing member to the other and from the bottom of the sill to the top of the door space. The fourth measurement you will need to reframe your exterior door is the measurement of the exterior opening. To get this measurement, you want measure the exterior casing outside and measure from the sill’s bottom to the top of the trim. Consider this measurement when you order your door. The size difference will have an effect on how you install the door.
Remove Old Door
Of course to install a new door frame, you need to remove the old one first. To do this, just tap your hinge pins up, open the door, and just lift it off. The next step to door removal is taking the trim off of the wall. A putty knife can easily be used to protect your wall during this process. If you want to keep using the trim, be sure to use a utility knife to score the intersection between the jamb and molding. Next, remove the door’s exterior trim. Just slice the caulking between the exterior wall and the exterior trim. Then use a pry bar to pry the trim loose from the jamb. After this, use a handsaw to cut through the side jamb. Then pry and loosen the jambs and remove them completely. Now is a good time to check the sill’s framing and subflooring.
Prepare and Install the Sill
Use a two foot level to check to see if the sill is plumb. If it is not level, you can use shims to adjust. Use coated deck screws to fasten the sill. Once this is done, use self-sticking flashing tape to cover the rough area of the sill. Wrap the tape over the sides and the front edge of the sill. Now, check the door’s fit and check to see if it is plumb. Use a level against the hinge jamb to see if the door is plumb.
Set the Door in the Opening
Use caulk at the top of the opening and at the sill. Check to make sure that the sill is level before finally centering the top of the door and tack it into place with casing nails. Then ensure that the hinge side jambs are plumb and nail the bottom corners with the same nails. Follow by shimming on the latch side of the door. Place these shims on the top, middle, and bottom of the latch side of the door making the gap between the door and jamb even. In each hinge, replace one of the screws with a three inch screw. Drive this into the framing. Also, use casting nails on the sides and top exterior trim every 16 inches.
Insulate, Caulk, and Install the Trim
Now that your door is installed, it is time for the smaller but important details of the project. First, you need to insulate around the new frame. Use minimal foam insulation to fill in the spaces between the new frame and the door jamb. Once this insulation has finished foaming and has skinned some, use fiberglass insulation to fill any remaining space. Now it is time to replace the trim. Just reinstall the old trim you saved or install some new trim. Also, if the new sill is creating a gap because of the floor level, be sure to install transition molding. Now you just want to use caulk backer between the door frame and siding before adding your caulk.
There are parts of framing your doors that will be less than easy, but it is not as daunting as you might think. In fact, the average person can do it with just a trip to the hardware store and some instructions. Whether you need to reframe you door as a result of time and weathering or to make room for a new door, you can do it yourself in a short weekend, and you will reap the energy saving benefits for years to come.