How to Install Replacement Exterior Doors


The cold fall and winter are around the corner, and now this is the right time to consider getting rid of those less energy efficient front doors and replace them with high energy-efficient exterior doors. That is the best investment you can make at this time, and there is no doubt, you will see why it was the smartest investment when winter comes.

Installing front doors isn’t a complicated project, as many people think. It is a straightforward project that requires simple tools, and it’s easy to DIY. It is one of the remodelling projects that you can do and feel confident about because the benefits of installing new exterior doors surpass the cost and labour used in the project. 

1. What Are Exterior Doors, And Why Are They Important?

Before you by an entry door, it is essential to familiarise yourself with its features. Learning more about exterior doors helps you make the right decision, especially when shopping for the new front doors.

Exterior doors protect your home from weather elements. Secondly, they play a significant role in creating the first impression of your home.

2. The Process Of Installing Entry Doors

a. Project Limitations

Installing front doors doesn’t mean you would have dealt with all-weather problems. So, there is much more you should do if you want to get maximum results, especially when it comes to weather elements that get into your home. So, you would also want to do something on your windows, as well.

b. Project Matrix

  • Working duration: 2 hours.
  • Total time: 3 hours
  • Skill level: intermediate
  • Cost of the materials: $175-$300.

c. Tools And Supplies Needed

  • Hacksaw
  • Square
  • Drill
  • Hammer
  • Exterior door
  • Scissors
  • Level
  • Caulk
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Pliers

3. Instructions

Since the shimming needed is not complicated, the installation of the exterior door is less like installing a pre-hung or slab door. Though exterior doors aren’t that heavy, it is essential to have an assistant during the installation. You can lift approximately 80 pounds of the door, but it will be easier and more efficient if you have a helping hand. If the entry doors have screen or glass, remove them and put them in a safe place. This will make the door light and hence, easy installation. You can put back the screens and glass after the door is installed. 

4. Take Measurements For The Door Frame

Measure the dimensions of the frame. This is the space where your door will be fitted. 

5. Install Hinge Plates

Also known as hinge rail, this a metal extension where the door will hang. If the hinge plate is too long, use the hacksaw to cut it. Now fix the hinge plate to the door using fasteners.

6. Install The Door In The Opening

Now place your entry door into the door opening and then attach the hinge to the side of the entry door. Note that it shouldn’t be inside the casing. At this point, you will require an assistant to hold the door in place while you screw it. After screwing the door in place, check whether it is plumb (vertical) using a level.  Note that, the door casing could not be plumb, however that doesn’t affect the door, your attention should be on the door.

7. Install The Drip Cap.

Also called rail, a drip cap is a short metal plate put above the exterior doors to prevent water from infiltrating behind the door frame. Use caulk to hold the drip cap firm. Use the drill and the screws to screw the rail into the front of your entry door casing. 

8. Install Jamb

This should be installed on the other side of the entry door. This is a metal where a door latch engages. Hold it into place and screw it. While doing so, ensure the door can open and close properly. You can make the necessary adjustments to allow the smooth opening of the door. 

Finally, fix the handles, strike plate, and closers and test your door.


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