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What Is the Easiest Way to Replace An Entrance Door?

December 4, 2017

Some homeowners mistakenly think that replacing an existing front door with a new one only requires a Phillips head screwdriver and about 30-minutes of time. Truth is the total time to replace an entry door is determined by many factors. A seasoned DIY owner should probably allow 3 to 5 hours based upon how complex of a replacement is required. That doesn't include the man-hours spent measuring, ordering, picking up or delivering the replacement. Although interior doors are quite light by comparison, an exterior door can weigh hundreds of pounds (especially a steel door or double doors) making them somewhat of a challenge for a novice DIY to handle.

Tools for New Door Installation

Naturally, you will need a new front door, preferably one that is pre-hung and comes with a fitted casing. It is very important to take accurate measurements before ordering or purchasing the replacement. Basically, you'll need:

  • Tape Measure
  • Safety Glasses
  • Hammer
  • Power Drill
  • Carpenter's Level
  • Carpenter's Pencil
  • Screwdriver Set
  • Hand Saw
  • Pry Bar
  • Circular Saw
  • Utility Knife
  • Caulking Gun
  • Silicone Caulk
  • Drip Edge
  • Door Shims
  • Nail Gun
  • Nail Set
  • Finishing Materials

NOTE: Resizing rough opening for fitting bigger entry door as well as finishing interior and exterior walls could be very time consuming and costly project. For that reason, it is always better to purchase new front door same dimensions as an existing one.

Steps for Door & Hardware Installs

So, your new front door has arrived. Before you get started, insulated steel entry doors, double doors and some ornate doors can be heavy, so if you are installing one of these you will need a helper. Once the old door is removed, measure the rough opening and the new door and frame to make sure everything is the right size. Center the door and frame in the opening and shim under the lower side jamb until the door is plumb. Hold the moulding in place and pencil a cutting line. Remember to stop your cut just short of the corners to prevent damage to the siding. Cut a piece of drip edge to fit the width and slide it underneath the siding. Apply several thick beads of silicone caulk to the bottom of the doorsill.

Center the door in the opening and push the moulding tight against the sheathing. Check the door jamb on the hinge side and shim to plumb. Cut pairs of wedge-shaped cedar shims to go inside in the gaps behind the hinges and between the jamb and framing. Remove the manufacturer's retaining bracket and make sure door opens and closes properly. Use the nail gun to anchor the molding and a nail set to hammer nails below the wood surface. Adjust the threshold for a tight fit and cut the hinge skims to fit. Now install the lockset, striker plate and knob or handles. If everything opens and closes to a good fit, you're ready for a final caulking and finishing. And, Home Depot said it was easy.

Stop By DreamDoors to Save Money & Time!

On the other hand, you could just stop by DreamDoors and pick a design for your new entrance door. We can take care of everything else from the initial measurements, to the new door installation including locksets and all hardware. We also offer a broad selection of door finishes ranging from modern to traditional. Now, doesn't that sound much easier?