If you’ve purchased a replacement pre-hung wooden door, installation shouldn’t be too painful. After all, removal of the original door is fairly straightforward – simply unscrew the door hinges, remove the door, and then unscrew the hinges themselves. Assuming that you have a second person available who can help you with replacing an exterior wooden door, there shouldn’t be too much difficulty involved in the installation process.
Preparing the Door Opening
1) Remove any screws that have been placed around the jambs, since these were simply put in place to secure the door for transport. If there are shipping braces on the door instead, you don’t want to remove those until the door is actually shimmed into the door opening.
2) Use a level to check that the rough door opening is plumb and the area underneath where the door sill rests, often called the subsill, is completely level. If you need to use shims to level the subsill, go ahead.
3) Make sure that the opening is a minimum of 1” taller and wider than the outer framing dimensions of the door that you’re going to be installing.
4) Use caulking and apply two beads along the subsill, doing so at the place where the sill will rest, about an inch inside the back and front edges. The caulk should be extended a few inches up the sides of the framing as well.
Getting the Door in Place
5) Two people should carefully place the door into the door opening, putting the bottom down first and allowing the top to face toward you. Carefully tilt the door into its place.
6) In the opening, make sure the door is centered and use shims to tightly secure the frame in place at the bottom
Securing Your New Exterior Wooden Door
7) Shim the rest of the frame around the door as needed, in order to hold the door in place. Make sure that you are placing shims on the side of the door where the hinges go, behind any of the attachment points for the hinges on the frame.
8) Adjust until the shims and frame assembly, as well as the jamb near the hinges, are plumb in both ways. There should be a gap of 1/8” that is constantly visible between the edge of the door and the jamb.
9) Nail the door in place – temporarily – using 16d finishing nails, placed through the hinge jamb and near the locations of the hinges. Leave them partially exposed for now.
10) If there were shipping braces on the door, remove them now. Open and close the door to ensure that it swings freely in its place.
Inspection & Adjustments
11) When you’re looking at the door from outside, check that there is even contact between the weatherstripping at the base – it will be attached to be frame of the door at the point opposite to the hinge jamb – and the door face. Adjust as needed.
12) Examine the edges of the door from the inside of the house, and adjust as needed until you have an even gap around the door, between the jamb faces and the door edges.
13) Behind the area where the lock strikes, install a solid shim.
14) Now the jambs can be permanently secured! Use 3” screws to drive through the hinge location shims, which you had placed on the hinge jambs. Do this all the way around the door, and secure all the jambs with either screws or nails through the shims – this will help to prevent the door frame from distortion over time, and check the door every so often as you do this task.