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How To Install An Exterior Door?

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Learning to install an exterior door yourself can save valuable money on labor costs.

Proper exterior door installation is key to keeping your home properly sealed and insulated.

Install an Exterior Door 101

For the purpose of this post, we will be providing 10 simple steps to install an exterior pre-hung door.

If you have an antique or decorative slab door you want to install, it’s worth it to hire a professional to ensure the door is properly installed and sealed.

10 Simple Steps To Install an Exterior Door

Note: Although these are basic instructions on how to install exterior doors, manufacturer’s instructions can vary slightly. Always follow manufacturer’s guidelines.

1. Remove From Packaging
Once you’ve removed the door from the packaging, you will either need to remove the screws that secure the door in the jambs, or remove the manufacturer’s braces. Braces shouldn’t be removed until after the door is shimmed into the opening.

2. Level/Plumb
Use a level to insure the rough opening is plumb and the floor the door will set on is level. If not, use shims, or a bevel board. You may need to use a spacer board to allow the door to clear thick carpeting. The rough opening should be 1″ wider and taller than the door frame.

3. Caulk and Place
Use a generous amount of caulk on the subsill 1″ to the front, and the rear, of where the frame will be placed. Run the caulk a little bit up the sides of the rough framing. Place the frame in the rough opening, the top should be tilted towards you, and then tilt the door frame into place.

4. Square and Secure.
Shim the door in place, leaving a 1/8″ gap between the jamb and the door. Also make sure to place shims directly behind hinge attachment points. Make sure the door is plumb in both directions.

5. Temporary Nails
Use 16d nails through the hinge shims to temporarily hold the door in place. Do not drive them all the way in. Remove any braces at this point. Open and close the door to make sure it does so freely.

6. Outside Inspection
Go outside and do a closed door visual inspection. Verify that there is even contact between the door and the weather stripping attached to the frame opposite from the hinges. Make adjustments if necessary by moving the jamb in or out at the bottom.

7. Inside Inspection:
From the interior (door closed), inspect the lock-side jamb and make sure there’s an even 1/8″ gap between door edges and the jamb face. Make adjustments if necessary.

8. Shim the lock strike
Install a permanent shim at the location of the lock strike.

9. Secure Permanently
Using 3″ screws, drive them through the shims at the hinge location. Then follow manufacturer’s instructions, using nails or screws, to permanently secure the rest of the jamb. Always secure through the shims to prevent distorting an unsupported area of the frame.

10. Final Check Continually check the door operation to ensure it is adjusted correctly. Drive a final screw through the shim at the lock strike location.

Once you’ve finished installing the door, use loosely-paced fiberglass insulation or low-expansion foam to fill in the edges of the door frame.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to install the finishing trim and caulk all the joints and intersections with paintable caulk.

Sit back and congratulate yourself on another well done DIY project.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Call us at 1.877.579.1994 or click here to price your project. Come and see us for a Dan Good Deal at 199 Victoria Street South, Kitchener, ON N2G 2C1.