how to remove a front entry door from start to finish

top view of a neighborhood at night showing the rooftops of houses
Tools Needed
1 Hammer
2 Drill
3 Carpenters Level
4 Pry Bar
5 Screwdriver
6 Circular Saw
7 Insulation
8 Tin Snips
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Materials Needed
1 Silicone Caulk
2 Utility Knife
3 Safety Glasses
4 Drip Edge
5 Shims
6 Front Door
7 Tape Measure
8 Building Paper
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Total Cost
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Estimated Time
3-4 Hours
Skill Level: Expert
The total cost and duration may vary when hiring a handyman!

Project Overview

person holding a door frame they just removed

When your front entry door is getting worn out and old, it is time to replace it with a more energy-efficient, updated door. The new door will usually be pre-hung and in a frame so you don’t need to be an expert to get this home improvement project done. There are simple steps and techniques you can use to get this done quickly.

Aren’t sure if it is time to replace your front entry door. There are some simple signs that this project should be done. Is the wood deteriorating or rotting? Are the door joints loose? Does finish not stay on the exterior part of your door? Are the threshold and weather stripping old and worn out? Does your door have uninsulated glass? Do you need to update the style of your home? If you have answered yes to even just one of these questions, it is time to remove the front entry door and replace it with a new one.

Step-By-Step Instructions


Measuring Your Current Door

person measuring the width of a door with a tape measure

To decide on the new door size, you will need to measure the door currently in your entry way. You will start by measuring the width and then the height of your current door. You should start with the door jamb width between the exterior and interior casings on the door. This allows you to figure out the wall thickness. The door jamb is the door frame side that goes perpendicular to your door and covers studs in the walls. Most are usually 4 5/8 inches wide.

You will then measure the outer casings surrounding your door frame. The casings are above and beside the door frame on the inner and outer areas. These are connected to the studs and jamb to keep your door on. Most outer doors are 2 inches wide and 1 ¼ inches thick. You will then use these measurements at the supply store to get the new entry door in the right size.


Deciding on New Door Material

pile of lumber

When you are choosing the door, make sure it is an exterior one since these are made thicker and necessary to insulate and create more energy efficiency. The exterior doors also have materials that are stronger to hold up to wind and rain. You can find wood exterior doors. These are quite attractive and can be painted or stained. Any have a beautiful finish but may peel more when exposed to hot sun and various weather. If these doors are not treated, they may rot as well. You can get a fiberglass exterior entry door.

These are quite durable and will hold up to the weather. They can be stained or painted and they do hold up better than the wood doors. You can get a steel exterior entry door which is one of the most durable, although it could rust after much time. It can’t be stained or painted though. You must remember to get an exterior entry door that will fit the same dimensions as the door you already have.


Removing the Door

person pulling the frame out of the rough opening on a house

The next step is removing the door you have on now. The frame will need to be removed as well. You will need the chisel and hammer so the hinge pins can be removed. Then you will take off the door. You will need to remove the deadbolt/lockset if you are going to use those on your new entry door. Then you will cut paint film with the utility knife. This will usually be in between the casing from the interior door, the drywall and the casing from the exterior door.

You will use a pry bar to loosen casing by hammering the pry bar between the jamb and casing. Pry that off without care as not to ruin your drywall. Now you need to unscrew your hinges, deadbolt plate and door latch if you are reusing those. Finally, take off the threshold and jambs.


Installing the New Door

person holding a door slab getting ready to place it into the frame

Now you will be ready to install your new entry door. You will want to look over the opening to see that the studs are square. If you took need to paint the door or finish it, do so before installing it. Before putting the new door up, test to make sure it will fit the opening. If you don’t already have one, a metal drip cap should be placed to keep the doorway from the rain.

You will then put caulk over the outer area of your sill, outer opening and outer casing. Now, drill holes under the molding on each outer casing. Put your threshold on the door and stand the door into the opening. Make sure it is square and level.


Nailing Your Door Casing to the Studs in the Wall

contractor using a pneumatic air nail gun to nail door frame

Use the hammer to put the nails into the holes you had drilled in the casing of the outer door side. Make sure the nail heads are left out in case adjusting needs to be done. Close and open the door to be sure it fits well on the frame and the threshold. Be sure there is about an 1/8-inch gap between your jamb and door. Put shims behind the hinges to cover gaps that may be present. Put the two bottom and top screws into the jamb. Make sure things are still level and then attach the rest of the screws.


Driving Screws through the Hinges

contractor using a cordless powerdrill to screw in door hinges

Now it is time to put your door completely on. Put shims on the sides of your door if needed. When installing your door, use nails between jamb and casing on each side. Fill the holes with wood filler or putty. Then you can put caulk over the casing on the outer side and touch holes from the nails up with paint. Install your deadbolt/lockset and be sure the screws go through your casing and into each stud.


Now, that you know more about how to remove and install a front entry door from start to finish, you can get started. This is not an expert job, it is one you can do on your own. As long as you follow these steps, you should be fine.

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