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How to Put in a New Front Door

By on March 4, 2020
How to Put in a New Front Door

If your home’s front door is outdated, causing drafts or is just plain ugly, it’s time to replace it. While you may have wanted to install a new entry for a while, you may have gotten hung up on the price, which could run into the thousands. However, if you can do it yourself, you’ll only pay a few hundred. Plus, you’ll recoup most — if not all — of the cost when you sell your home. Here’s how you can get the job done all by yourself.

1. Remove the Old Door

The first step to putting in your new door is to remove the old one. Protect your floor with a dropcloth and begin by tapping the hinge pins lose. Then, open the door and lift it off the hinges. Pull off the old trim on the interior with a putty knife. Use a pry bar to take off the exterior trim, and completely remove the doorjamb using a handsaw and a pry.

2. Take Measurements

Next, measure the height and width of the rough opening. Compare them to your new door’s opening requirements to ensure it will actually fit. As a general rule, it should be at least 1-1 1/2 inches wider and taller than the new door. Then, measure your old door and compare it to the height and width of your new one just to be safe. You might even place the new door on top of the old one to visually inspect the size.

3. Fit the Door in the Opening

Regardless of whether you have a solid wood, metal or fiberglass door, it needs to fit in order to serve its purpose. Make sure it does by placing the door in the opening. Ensure it is plumb in the entry using a level. If you must adjust the door to center it in the frame, add shims under the lower side jamb. Once you’re satisfied with the fit, carefully remove the door.

4. Secure the New Door

Apply caulk around the sides and top of the door opening and sill. Then, tack in the door with galvanized casing nails. Shim behind each hinge to ensure there’s an even gap between the door and the jamb. Once you decide everything is level and even, nail through the frame into the jam where you placed the shims to keep them in place. Then, replace the hinge screws.

5. Seal and Insulate

Now all that’s left to do is seal and insulate your new door. Use minimal expanding foam to fill in the space between the jamb and the framing. Then, stuff any remaining gaps with fiberglass insulation. Layer the old trim over this or cut and install it new. Complete the job by caulking between the exterior siding and door trim. If you decide to paint or varnish, remove the door first. Otherwise, your job here is done.

Admire Your Handiwork

Installing a new door — especially for the first time — isn’t easy. However, your hard work will pay off once you can appreciate the finished product. Take a moment to step back and admire your handiwork. Oohs and aahs are encouraged.

em>Scott Huntington is a writer from central Pennsylvania. He enjoys working on his home and garden with his wife and 2 kids. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington

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