How to hang a door – 6 steps to replace a door yourself

A guide on how to hang a door yourself. A step-by-step to replace an internal wooden door with ease.

January 2020: Debbie Goodwin set about lovingly renovating the bungalow her dad built
(Image credit: Katie Lee)

New interior doors can transform the look of your home. But, if you want to make the change without calling on a professional – and spending more than needed – you’ll want to know how to hang a door yourself.

The answer is that this is a project you can take on yourself. You’ll need to be confident about using items such as a saw and chisel, but aside from that, it’s all about accuracy when hanging doors to ensure this job is a quick and simple one.

How to hang a door

These are the tools and materials required to replace a door yourself. We're working with the most common type of door fitting you'll find around the home here: The hinged door. Which usually consists of a wood or fiberglass slab:

  • Screwdriver
  • Wood wedges
  • Door slab
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Hand saw
  • Plane
  • Chisel
  • Mallet
  • Door hinges and screws, if new ones required
  • Drill 

1. Remove the existing door

How to install a door? First you’ll need to remove the old door slab. Support its weight underneath using wedges of wood, unscrew it from its hinges to remove it, then remove the hinges. If these are still in good condition, set them aside to re-use.

Take care not to damage the hinge recesses on the frame.

2. Get the fit right

measure a new door

(Image credit: B&Q)

The old door can be a guide for the new door provided it was a good fit. If so, lay the old door on the new one and mark where you’ll need to cut the new door. 

Otherwise, working with someone else, position the door in the door frame and create a small gap underneath it with wedges of wood. Get your assistant to hold the door steady, then mark where it needs to be trimmed to height. 

Bear in mind that you are aiming for a 0.08 inch (2mm) gap between the door and the frame.

3. Cut the door to size

cutting interior door to size

(Image credit: B&Q)

Lay the door flat and, using a saw, cut it close to the marked line, then finish off using a plane.

Check the hinge side of the door fits the frame, then mark the door so it fits the frame width. Plane equal amounts from either side to get the correct width. 

4. Mark hinge positions

mark hinge positions on new door

(Image credit: B&Q)

Position the door in the frame using the wedges in order to mark the hinge positions. Using a pencil, mark the top and bottom of the recesses on the door.

5. Fit the hinges

fit hinges to a new door

(Image credit: B&Q)

Using the marks to put the hinges in the correct position, draw around them with a pencil. 

Measure the thickness of the hinge plate then mark this depth on the face of the door.

Use a sharp chisel and mallet to cut around the perimeter of the hinge recesses as marked. Next, with the chisel at 45º, make a series of cuts around 0.2 inches (5mm) apart, and to the depth marked, across the wood grain.

Flat side down, use the chisel to pare away the wood then position the hinges in the recesses. 

Drill pilot holes for the screws, the screw one screw in each hinge flap. 

6. Hang the door

hanging a new door

(Image credit: B&Q)

Next, find out how to hang a door. Hold the door open on wedges and screw the hinges to the frame using just one screw in each at this stage. Each screw head needs to be flush with the surface of the flap. Check that the door opens and closes smoothly. Fix the rest of the screws.

Check the movement of the door again. If it rubs, the screws may need loosening slightly. If the door is even within the frame but one area is catching, it may need to be removed and sanded or planed to create the correct fit.

Expert advice on hanging doors

Watch out for uneven floors. ‘It’s extremely rare for your floor to be level, so knowing the high spot in the floor will be the best starting point for getting your door hung level and correct from the start,’ says Jeff Shipwash, owner of Shipwash Properties.

‘Next, you will want to shim the side of the door that is the lowest to bring it level. Once you have leveled from the floor, you can then shim the sides that are gapped from the wall. 

‘Installing a door out of level will result in the door dragging or not setting flush with the jam.’

 

How much does it cost to install a door?

It could cost from around $150 to $300 (£50 to £100) to install a door. This covers the labor only and the slab door itself will be an additional cost as will other materials and supplies plus constructing the frame if necessary. The door itself might range in price from around $50. If you have multiple doors installed as part of the same project, cost per door can work out less expensive.

A special thanks to B&Q for step photographs.

Sarah Warwick
Sarah Warwick

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor writing for websites, national newspapers, and magazines. She’s spent most of her journalistic career specialising in homes – long enough to see fridges become smart, decorating fashions embrace both minimalism and maximalism, and interiors that blur the indoor/outdoor link become a must-have. She loves testing the latest home appliances, revealing the trends in furnishings and fittings for every room, and investigating the benefits, costs and practicalities of home improvement. It's no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house revamper. For Realhomes.com, Sarah reviews coffee machines and vacuum cleaners, taking them through their paces at home to give us an honest, real life review and comparison of every model.

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