Interior door installation may seem fairly uncomplicated to some homeowners. However, there’s more to the process than simply removing your old door and installing a new one.
Because old doors can warp and shrink over time, most major home renovations should include new interior doors. Simple oversights or mistakes can cost you hundreds of dollars down the road. If measurements are even a little off, you may end up with a door that scratches your floors as it closes or doesn’t close at all.
In the following post, TriFection’s interior renovation experts will describe the process of interior door installation.
How To: Interior Door Installation
Homeowners that opt for a DIY interior door installation may find themselves damaging walls during this part of the process. In contrast, the professionals at TriFection have the tools and experience necessary to remove your old door quickly and without damage. Whether you’re making way for a new prehung door or getting rid of a doorway to open up your space, both projects essentially start off the same:
- Start by locating the screws on the hinges. Use the appropriate screwdriver to remove the screws from the hinges inserted into the frame. Since you’re removing the entire frame, you don’t need to remove the screws that attach the hinges to the door.
- Remove the door from the frame and set it aside.
- Start loosening trim by with a stiff putty knife. Place the tip of the knife between the door casing and the wall. Give this a few taps around the door to create a small gap.
- Next, use a pry bar and a block of wood to remove the trim fully.
- You’ll want to remove any screws and nails left behind.
- Pry the side jambs away from the studs and remove any protruding nails with pliers.
Pre-hung Door vs Slab Door
When shopping for doors, you will encounter two different options: pre-hung doors and slab doors.
A slab door is a basic, stripped-down door that doesn’t include a frame. When using a slab door, you must attach the door to an existing door frame or create an entirely new frame from scratch, which just adds unnecessary time to your final project timeline.
TriFection highly recommends using a pre-hung door instead of replacing the door by itself. Pre-hung doors are self-contained units that come ready to install, with the door frame and jamb as well as the door itself. The door and the frame should fit seamlessly into the prepare doorway. This eliminates the process of fitting the door into the door jamb, ensuring your door swings freely and correctly.
More often than not, existing door frames are either already damaged or out-of-square. Because of this, it can be very difficult and time-consuming to hang a slab door. The professionals at TriFection prefer to remove the entire door area and start over with a pre-hung door. This is especially true for older homes.
One of the biggest perks of using a pre-hung door is that that it comes weatherproofed. This means that you won’t have to worry about weather stripping them or making them tight fitting. You can save on bills down the road, as most pre-hung doors have great inbuilt insulation.
Positioning the Door for Interior Installation
The most important part of interior door installation is the measurement. As easy as this may seem on paper, measuring is also the step that appears to be the snag for most homeowners.
If measurements are not exact, your new door may need trimming or your door frame may need altering. These are potentially difficult alterations to make. This is one of many reasons we recommended letting a professional perform your interior door installation. A professional is less likely to make a mistake in the measurements, and if anything goes wrong, a professional is better equipped to make the needed alterations.
Level the Floor
The bottom of each door jamb needs to be the proper height.
If your floor isn’t level, we’ll need to trim one of the door jambs. The easiest method is to rest a level across the rough opening and using a shim to level it. At TriFection, we mark the shim at its thickest part. The thickness of the shim at that mark is exactly how much needs to come off of your door jamb.
Once everything is level and plumb, the next step is to actually place the door inside the rough opening.
We’ve mentioned shims a few times. A shim is a thin wedge made out of wood or plastic. Contractors and other construction professionals use shims to position and adjust building elements before securing them in place. They are an invaluable tool during interior door installation.
So, at this point in your installation, the door is inside the rough opening. Next, we’ll:
- Shim the jamb plumb to make it level and straight.
- Slip shims under the side jamb until the head jamb is level.
- Place shims between the hinges and studs. Half of the shim will be visible above the hinge.
Nail The Door Frame to Studs For Interior Door Installation
Now, we fix your door frame to the wall. At TriFection, we:
- Drive finishing nails through the frame, through the shims, and into the studs.
- Drive two nails through each shim about an inch from each edge of the jamb, with one ½ inch above the other.
Before driving the nails home, we check to make sure the door performs well. Opening and shutting it a few times will do. After that, we drive and set the nails.
Install Door Trim
This is the cleanup portion and the part that separates professionals from newbies: trimming up any exposed shims. Professional contractors will break off the exposed pieces of shim by scoring them with a knife.
We will also:
- Nail your trim to the door jamb and studs.
- Drive finishing nails through the trim and into the studs behind the wall.
- Cut and install any trim on the second side of the door.
Attach the Hardware
Once the door is up, the only part left is to screw the hinge leaf to the door on all three hinges.
Now, all that’s missing is the hardware! We’ll attach your doorknobs and backplates, as well as the lockset and strike plate.
Contact TriFection for Interior Door Installation Service
Interior door installation may have a few more steps than you may have initially considered. The process can be complicated and easily go wrong, if you aren’t a professional interior door installer. TriFection’s renovation experts make this task look easy.