When it comes to major home renovation, one thing that can cause endless frustration is hanging a door. Trying to hang a door without a good understanding of the process leads to wonky entryways that won’t open and close smoothly!
Avoid this process unless you know what you’re doing – don’t start knocking holes in your walls until you know about fitting a door to a frame! So 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 door construction. Below, you’ll find an extensive guide to some of the most important features you’ll need to know about when it comes to hanging a door.
You won’t need 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 for all you need to know about door installation.
How do you Hang a Prehung Door?
Most doors come as a big sheet of wood with no hinge or frame attached. Prehung doors, however, come with the door already attached to the frame. That means you don’t have to do any careful measurements to make sure that the door and the door frame fit together properly. You’ll need to attach the whole door and frame unit to your wall. This is a separate process.
Once you’ve made sure that the floor beneath your door is even and that the door will actually fit, you’re ready to get started on fitting. First, lift the door into the opening and gently nail the hinge side of the door into place. Hold it loosely to make sure that it fits neatly into the hole. Once you’re 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 every 18 inches. Once you’re done, check that everything is sturdy, and you’ll be free to move onto the last step. Attach the latch, following the included instructions, and you’re ready to check your work and make sure that you’re finished.
Check that the door is opening and closing smoothly. If there’s a rough opening with a bit of a scrape, you might need to adjust the hang. But, if it’s all moving smoothly, then this is the last step, and you’re all done!
Where Should Door Hinges be Placed?
The position of your door hinge 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. Make sure the old frame is correctly set up with proper trim, and the jamb is straight. If your existing frame is set up wonky, you’ll have door opening problems no matter how well you set up your new door!
All you have to do is lift the old door out of the door frame from the hinge side. 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 door installation. Some of these might be things you already know or tools you already use, but there may be one or two details that you might not have thought of! 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’ll be using to hang your door with. Let’s run through them quickly.
A cordless drill and drill bit set are essential. There’s no way to avoid using one of these. You’ll need one to put in all the screws that will hold the door into the door frame.
You’ll 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’re even slightly out of step, your door won’t be able to open properly!
You’ll also want a tape measure and a utility knife for finer adjustment. The final thing you need is several 33-inch screws to hold the hinge parts onto the door and jamb securely.
Make Sure Your Door Clears the Carpet
Make sure you prop the door up on a small spacer as you set it up. This will make sure that your door doesn’t stick on the carpet or trim at the bottom. You’ll need 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 you’ll have to straighten up a wonky wall.
Fortunately, this is an easy process. All you’ll need is a scrap of wood for protecting the wall and a sledgehammer for knocking it into position. Lay the 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 unless you’re 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 ensure 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. This will ensure that the door clears the carpet comfortably once it’s all set up. 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, then you can use this to hide the screws down the latch side of the door frame. Pull it back before you use any screws, screw them into position, and then fold the strip back to cover them. This will hide the holes!
Hanging a door is not necessarily a particularly complex and difficult process, but you should always be as careful as possible. Spending extra time ensuring that you get everything right the first time will mean you won’t end up trying a second time after setting up a wonky door that doesn’t open smoothly.
Follow our tips above, as well as detailed instructions that you’ll 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 take your time and be careful so that you get the best results.