How To Hang A Door: Tips for Hanging Doors

One of the steps of major home renovation that can cause endless frustration and problems is that of hanging a door. Most people have no idea how to hang a door and trying to hang a door without a good understanding of the process leads to wonky doors that won’t open and close smoothly. It is important not to try to hang a door without knowing what you are doing. Don’t start knocking holes in your walls until you know about fitting a door to a frame! But how do you get started with learning how to hang a door?

Here at Best of Machinery, we’re ready to help you get your head around the process of hanging door construction. Below, you will find an extensive guide to some of the most important features that you will need to know about in order to hang a door without needing to worry about rough opening, wonky jambs, loose hinges, spacers, and shins. If you don’t know what any of that means, then don’t worry! Read on below to find out all you will need to know about door installation.

How do you Hang a Prehung Door?

Most doors come as, essentially, just a big sheet of wood with no hinge and no frame attached yet. Prehung doors, however, come with the door already attached to the frame. That means that you don’t have to do any careful measurements to make sure that the door and the door frame fit together properly. What you are going to need to do is to attach the whole door and frame unit to your wall, which is a separate process that you will still need to check to ensure that you are doing properly.

Once you’ve made sure that the floor beneath your door is even, and the door will actually fit into the space, you will be ready to get started on door fitting. Lift the door into the opening and nail the hinge side of the door into place gently. You are looking to hold it loosely in place to make sure that it fits neatly into the hole. Once you are happy with the fit, you can firmly nail the hinge side into place through the trim stud and the shims. Then nail the other side into place, using similar long nails, and prepare to work with the top jamb.

The top jamb is usually split into two parts. Push these into place from the bottom upwards and nail them in with a nail every 18 inches. Once you are done with that, check that everything is sturdy, and you will be free to move on to the last step. Attach the latch, following the included instructions, and you are ready to check your work and make sure that you are finished.

Check that the door is opening and closing smoothly. If there is a rough opening with a bit of a scrape, you might need to adjust the hang a tiny bit. If it is all moving smoothly, then this is the last step, and you are all done!

Where Should Door Hinges be Placed?

The position where your door hinge needs to be placed is an important and clear detail. If each hinge is in the right place, then you should be safe from wonky, sagging doors and rough opening problems developing in the future. Most doors have three hinges mounted on the hinge side. The first of these should be placed 10 inches from the bottom of the door. The second hinge goes 5 inches from the top of the door. The third and final hinge should be placed halfway between the first two hinge locations.

Can you Hang a New Door on an Existing Frame?

Hanging a new door into an existing frame is a much easier process than setting up a new frame, as long as the old frame is correctly set up with proper trim, and the jamb is straight. If your existing frame is set up wonky, then you are going to have door opening problems no matter how well you set up your new door!

All you have to do is to lift the old door out of the door frame from the hinge side and make sure you line up the hinge locations on the new door with the hinges currently in place on the door jamb.

Tips for Hanging Doors

Here are some of our top tips for how to get started with door installation. Some of these might be things that you already know or tools that you already use, but there may well be one or two details that you might not have thought of yet! And remember to always work through things step by step, using all the care you can to ensure a smooth opening process.

What Tools do you Need for Hanging a Door?

There are a number of different tools that you are going to be using to hang your door with. Let’s run through them quickly. A cordless drill and drill bit set are essential. There is no way to avoid using one of these, as you will have to have one in order to put in all of the screws that you will use to hold the door into the door frame.

You will also want a hammer and a handsaw for general use in the door setup process, as there is more than one step that requires both of these. A jamb level and set square are essential for making sure that all areas of the frame and jamb are entirely even and neatly set up – if they are even slightly out of step, then your door will be not be able to open properly.

You will also want a tape measure and a utility knife for finer adjustment. The final thing you will require for setting up a door is a number of 33-inch screws to hold the hinge parts onto the door and jamb securely and firmly.

Make Sure your Door Clears the Carpet

An important step to remember is, make sure that you prop the door up on a small spacer as you set it up, to make sure that your door does not stick on the carpet or trim at the bottom. You will want about a half-inch of extra space under the door.

Straightening up the Wall

Door jambs have to be straight, and not just on top! You must also ensure that each side lines up with the other side of the jamb, and sometimes that means that you are going to have to straighten up a wonky wall.

Fortunately, this is an easy process. All you will require is a scrap of wood for protecting the wall and a sledgehammer for knocking it into position. Lay a scrap of wood across the base of the wall and whack it into the right location until it sits plumb. After this, you can toe screw it onto the floor and hold it in position like that.

How to Shim a Doorframe

Shimming a door frame is an important step that you are going to want to know how to do unless you are hanging a new door in a pre-existing frame. Mark where the hinges go on the wall. Position the shims (small wedge-shaped pieces of wood) in the hinge locations and tack them into position while you put the frame and jamb in position. This step will make sure that the jamb and hinges line up properly and are firmly attached to the wall.

Spacers and Jambs

When you set up a new door jamb, you can attach a small piece of trim to the base of the jamb to be sure that the door clears the carpet comfortably once it is all set up properly. Don’t forget to put one on each side to make certain that the jamb is even, and the door sits straight!

Hide the Screws!

Screw holes are ugly and messy, no matter what sort of screws you use. Screws are more secure than nails, as they won’t pull out and come loose, but every one of those screws will leave a small hole that needs to be filled. If you’ve got a weather strip on an exterior door, though, then you can use this to hide the screws down the latch side of the door frame. Just pull it back before you use any screws, screw them into position, and then fold the strip back to cover them in order to hide the holes!


Hanging a door is not necessarily a particularly complex and difficult process, but you should always take your time and be as careful as possible. Spending extra time ensuring that you get everything right the first time will ensure that you don’t end up trying a second time after setting up a wonky door that does not open smoothly.

Follow our tips above, as well as detailed instructions that you should find included with your door, and you should be fine. With a bit of practice, you could be hanging doors all over your home with full confidence in no time! Just be prepared for taking your time and being careful so that you get the best results.

About the Author

Bob Robinson has been a tool enthusiast and lawn care expert for the past 11 years. First working with John Deere to reduce their impact on the environment, whilst building his love for writing in his spare time. Now, Bob runs the editorial team at BestofMachinery and tends to his garden in his spare time.

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