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DIY PreHung Door Installation Tips

Is replacing your old, worn-out front door on your “honey-do” list this summer? You have lots of prehung exterior door options open to you these days. If you’ve picked out your favorite door, made your order and are just waiting for delivery, here are some tools, tips, and tricks to make installation quick and easy.


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To make your new door installation go as smoothly as possible you’ll want to ensure that you have a few essential tools on hand.

  • Hammer
  • Flat screwdriver
  • Scraper
  • Utility knife
  • Pry bar
  • Measuring tape
  • Plumb line
  • Level



Depending on the type of house you have, there are a few building materials that may be necessary when installing a new front door. Here’s the list of what you might need

  • Nails (masonry or wood, depending on the kind of house you have)
  • Wood shims
  • Pressure treated wood for supports on a rough masonry opening
  • Cement screws
  • Latex caulking
  • Fiberglass insulation
  • Four-penny finishing nails

Steps to Installing Your Door


Here are a few basics to getting your door installed properly, ensuring your future comfort and safety.

  1. First, Read the instructions that come with your door! Following the instructions is an often-overlooked step that can save you time and money.
  2. Remove the Old Door, Frame, and Molding: Using your hammer and screwdriver, remove the hinges and pins from your old door and pull the old door out. Remove the hinges from your old door and the hinge leaves from the door jamb. Put the old hinge sets back together, including leaves, pins, and screws. Using a utility knife, score any caulking or putty around the frame to break the seal, then use your hammer and pry bar to pry it away from the house. Use a scraper to remove any caulk or putty left behind. This will give you a clean area to begin your installation.
  3. Determine the Dimensions of Your Door Opening: To figure out exactly what your measurements are you’ll need to measure the width of the opening between the side jambs, the height from the seal under your old threshold to the head jamb, and the depth, or thickness, of your wall. Your rough door opening should be one inch bigger on the top and sides than your new door dimensions.
  4. Do a Dry-Fit Test: This step ensures that your door fits before you start nailing, screwing, or sealing it in place. Carefully, without removing any of the packing supports on your door, set it in place in your opening. Use wood shims to make sure it is level in the opening, then mark the top line of your door on the wall of your home. Move the door back out and carefully set it to the side.
  5. Mark Plumb Lines: In your rough opening, use a plumb line to find the center of your doorway. These lines will later be used as guides for your door molding. Be sure to remove any remaining caulk or paneling.
  6. Add Additional Framing: If your rough opening is just masonry or cinderblock, you will need to create new framing with pressure-treated lumber and masonry nails. Measure the side jamb and cut your board to the correct length. Use your masonry nails to secure it to your opening.
  7. Install Your New Door: Your first step is to run a very thick bead of latex caulk all along the subseal of your door opening. Next, carefully place your new door in the opening, bottom first, then tilt it all the way in. Using shims and a level, adjust the door until it is plumb. To ensure the door is secure, use a cement screw everywhere you place a shim, or, if you have wood framing, use casing nails. Trim the excess shims. Once that’s done you can remove the shipping brace, check that the door is operational, and use the long anchor screws that should have come with your door, through the hinges and into the door frame.
  8. Seal and Insulate the Door: Once our door is in place, seal the exterior with latex caulk all around the door. If any holes are left from screws or nails, fill them with wood filler. They can be sanded later when you paint or varnish the door. On the interior side of the door, fill any openings with fiberglass insulation and attach the door trim with your finishing nails. Once your caulk and wood filler are dried you can paint your door. Once our paint is dry add your door know and deadbolt.
  9. Enjoy your success!

Installing a new door isn’t too hard, it just requires careful measuring, the correct tools, and a little elbow grease. Enjoy your weekend warrior project and our beautiful new door.

Images courtesy of wikihow, and diynetwork

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