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How to Install a Door Frame

There are a few reasons you may want to learn how to install a door frame. If your door was forced open, you may need to replace damaged jambs. Moisture damage and rot are other common issues that require the old door frame to be torn out. To replace the jambs and header, buy a replacement frame kit at your local home improvement store. Before you get to the point of installing the new frame, you must remove the old pieces.

Directions for How to Install a Door Frame

  1. Open the door and use screwdriver bits on the power drill to take out hinge screws from the jamb.
  2. Hold the door so that it does not fall away. A strong person can manage a door alone with proper care. However, you may want someone to hold the door if it’s very heavy or has glass windows.
  3. Set the door aside once all of hinges are removed from the frame. Save the hinge hardware for door re-installation.
  4. Take a utility knife and cut through caulking and paint along the edges of the exterior trim.
  5. Slide a wide putty knife or chisel behind the trim where you cut the sealed edges.
  6. Tap the chisel with a hammer if necessary to get it behind the trim.
  7. Pry the trim with a chisel until you can get a pry bar in there.
  8. Pry off all trim. If the pieces did not break, you have the option of putting them back on.
  9. With the same methods, remove the door trim on the inside.
  10. Trim removal exposes the old jambs and header within the rough door opening.
  11. Locate the old shims between the frame and rough opening and knock them out with a hammer and chisel.
  12. Use your power drill again to remove screws holding the strike plate and other door hardware.
  13. Measure the width and height of the jambs and header in three locations down and across the opening.
  14. Use the smallest of the three measurements for the width and height to purchase an appropriately sized replacement frame kit.
  15. Use the reciprocating saw and cut through nails holding jambs and header to the rough opening.
  16. Pull out old pieces.
  17. Open the replacement frame kit and set up the pieces on a flat surface and consult the kit’s directions.
  18. Predrill holes on each end of the header for attaching the jambs.
  19. Connect the jambs to the header with screws.
  20. A few inches up from the bottoms of the jambs, tack a strip of wood across the opening to hold the jambs in place.
  21. Confirm that the bracing strap is keeping the jambs perfectly parallel.
  22. Check the top header corners with the utility level to confirm that they are at 90 degrees.
  23. Secure a corner by tacking a strip of wood diagonally to the header and a few inches down one jamb.
  24. Lift the braced frame into the door opening.
  25. Starting at the bottom of the jambs, mark about every 16 to 18 inches where you intend to drive screws.
  26. Drill holes on your marks.
  27. Starting at the bottom of the hinge side, drive your first screw.
  28. Place a level along the jamb and check to see if it is plumb.
  29. Use shims as necessary to correct a jamb that is not plumb.
  30. Continue driving screws and checking for plumb.
  31. Repeat the same steps on the latch-side jamb.
  32. Pull off the thin wooden strips used as braces.
  33. Trim off shims with a utility knife.
  34. The new frame is now ready for you to hang the old door and attach trim.

Tools & Materials

  • Utility knife
  • Work gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Wood chisel
  • Putty knife
  • Claw hammer
  • Pry bar
  • Wood shims
  • Tape measure
  • Utility square
  • Power drill
  • Level

Repair or Replace Your Door With the Help of PJ Fitzpatrick

When learning how to install a door frame, you could discover rotted wood in the rough opening. This will require additional removal and replacement of wood. The door installers at PJ Fitzpatrick can perform professional door repairs to ensure your door frame remains strong and secure. We can also replace your door and increase the curb appeal of your home. For service in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, contact us for a door repair estimate today.

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