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How To Add A Replacement Door

by Allison E. Beatty
Repair Home Columnist

Wondering if you need a contractor to install a replacement door? The answer depends on the door, and on your home improvement skills. Adding a replacement door is a project that many experienced do-it-yourselfers can complete in an afternoon or so. It does require carpentry skills, however.

Buying a Replacement Door

Start by measuring the door opening and selecting a door from a lumber yard or home improvement center. You'll want to make note of which way the door opens. Also check the condition of the door jamb and decide whether you are replacing the door and door jamb. If so, look for a pre-hung door that is packaged with the jamb.

Removing the Old Door

Taking off the old door involves pulling out the hinge pins and pulling the door up and out of the hinges. In some cases, the hinges may be covered with paint or otherwise require a little effort to force them to move.

Compare Doors

If you have purchased the door without the door jamb, lay the old door on top of the new one to compare the sizing and placement of the hinges. You'll then see if the edges need trimming to fit in the door frame. Use a pencil to mark areas to cut, and then use a plane or sander to remove small areas. For large cuts, use a circular saw.

Hinges and Door Locks

You're now ready to add hinges and a door lock to the new door, either by using ones from the old door or by adding new ones. Then hang the new door and check the fit. Sand or cut as needed to ensure a good fit.

Replacement Doors in Old Houses

While many replacement doors can be installed without much fuss, the tricky part comes when the door opening has major gaps or has settled significantly over the years. This type of home improvement project requires plenty of measuring, shimming and manipulation to make it work. In that case, you might be better having a contractor install your replacement door.

About the Author
Allison E. Beatty is a syndicated real estate writer who has been writing home improvement columns for 15 years.