One of the smartest decisions you can make as a homeowner is updating your front door. It adds to your home’s curb appeal and increases your home’s property value. It will help you save money on utilities because today’s doors are much more energy efficient. Also, you can add smart technology like a digital lock or smart doorbell camera. When you install a new front door, you’re making an investment in keeping your home looking its best. Here, our door experts explain how to install a front door step by step.
How to Install a Front Door
Most modern front doors are made of fiberglass, steel, or wood. They commonly arrive pre-hung in a door jamb. When your new door arrives, make sure to read the instructions before you remove the door from its frame. Many manufacturers have designed the door and frame to stay together, along with any packaging clips, until after you’ve hung the door.
- Measure your rough frame. There are three measurements you need to take: the height, the width, and the depth of your doorframe. Your new front door must be 1/2 inch lower than the height of your rough opening and 3/4 inch thinner.
- Determine which direction the door should open. Stand with your back to the door hinges and then determine whether your current door opens to the left or right. Make a note of these measurements for when you order your new front door.
- Remove the old doorframe and door.
- Be sure to strip away any insulation and trim on the outside of your home near the doorframe. You can remove the old door from its hinges by gently tapping on the nails with a hammer and then remove the hinges from the old door jamb. You will have to remove the old door jamb and doorsill, leaving only the rough opening to hang the new pre-hung door and frame.
- Do a rough fit to center and place the new door.
- Do a dry run with your door by placing it into the rough frame before using any carpenter’s glue, caulk, or screws to anchor it into place. Make sure the door fits properly and squarely. You will need to use shims all around the doorframe to get the proper fit. Don’t add caulk, glue, or screws at this point; just add the shims.
- Use a carpenter’s level and ensure your doorsill is completely square and level.
- Check whether your new front door is flush with your flooring. It probably isn’t because the flooring will usually be slightly higher than your door’s subsill.
- To have your new door hang properly, there are 3 planes you’re aligning. First, the doorsill and frame need to be level and plumb. Second, they need to be square to the wall. Third, the door needs to be high enough to clear your floor.
- Once you’re sure that your new door and frame are flush, square and centered, remove them again. Add the caulk to the bottom of the doorsill, add your weather strip, then hang the door. Make sure to screw in the hinges and hang the door squarely.
- You should still have shims holding the doorframe into place, so cut the shims to be flush to your wall. On the interior side, add expandable insulation into the cracks to weatherproof around your doorframe.
- On the exterior side of your door, add a bead of caulk around your doorframe.
- Add your new hardware to the door. Be sure to add a couple extra shims right around the area where your deadbolt enters the wall. It will make the area stronger.
- Hanging your new front door is done. At this time, you can remove the retaining brackets that have been holding your door and doorframe together.