Replacing the Exterior Door
Replacing your exterior door is not as difficult as it may seem.
You purchase a pre hung door
Most exterior doors are 3ft or 36 inches wide, but there are exceptions.
You should double check by measuring the door itself, it might be slightly under 36 inches, that’s OK
The jamb size, for the new door, is either for a 2 x 4 wall or 2 x 6 wall. So the jamb size that you need will either be 4 9/16” for a 2x4 wall or 6 9/16 “ for a 2x6 Wall
The swing of the door is either left or right hand swing. Standing with your backside against the hinges, rotate your arm in the same direction as the door, if your left arm follows the door swing, it is a left hand swing, if your right hand follows the swing it is a right hand swing., but there are exceptions if you have to order the door as opposed to buying the door off the shelf.
If you are still unsure about the door swing ask one of the associates at the store to help you out. You need to decide on the type of door to purchase. It will be either Steel, Wood or Fiberglass.
Steel will be your least expensive, but you will see every dent over the years.
Wood always looks great, but it requires a lot of maintenance and upkeep. Also if is in direct sunlight it might have a tendency to split and warp.
The best choice is Fiberglass, if you can afford it. It can have the texture just like wood, really great insulating properties and will not warp and split like wood.
Fiberglass doors can be painted or stained with a stain made for fiberglass doors.
Would suggest you order the door pre Bored for the locksets. If you are not sure how to install your existing locksets, read our article on how to install Exterior Locksets. If you are installing new locksets, a set of instructions will come with the packaged locksets.
There are different types of thresholds to choose from. It can be flush, Flush with a rubber threshold or with a threshold that is adjustable.
The next step is to remove the exterior door. Close the door and remove the door by removing the 3 hinge pins. Slightly open the door, the door should be easily removable; careful the door has a little bit of weight.
Now gently remove the interior trim. With a knife score the caulking on both sides. Starting at the bottom, use 2 wide putty knives( this will protect the wall and the trim), hammer them both under the trim on the wall side, drive a pry bar under the top putty knife and slightly lift, proceed up every 12 inches until you have removed the trim. Set the trim aside for now, would suggest cleaning any caulk with a knife and remove the nails.
Now remove the exterior trim following the same procedure as above. You will not have to save the exterior trim as the new door comes with trim installed.
There will be a gap between the jamb of the door and the framing members. You should be able to see nails holding the doors in, you will need to cut them. If you can borrow a saw saw it would make quick work of this process, if not, use your pry bar,
Set the pry bar against the nail and hit it with a hammer, it should snap the nail or bend it over. Remove the door frame.
You are now ready to install the new pre-hung exterior door.
There will be some shims on the hinge side, if not you will need to add some. Attach ¼” or 3/8” flat shims at each of the hinge locations, Large paint stirrers are perfect for this.
Put a 4 ft level over the shims to ensure that it is level, top to bottom, if not you might have to add or remove regular type cedar hinges.
Remove the new door from the frame and set it aside for now. Add caulk where the threshold will set on the floor and on the wall sheathing where the exterior trim sits against.
Install the door frame in the opening, the exterior trim needs to touch the house sheathing and nail on the hinge side of the jamb top and bottom at the hinge locations. Next nail the other side the jamb top only.
Install the door back in the frame and check that the door closes correctly.
Close the door all the way and step inside, look at the gap top and bottom against the door jamb, should be the same. If it needs to be adjusted and you are not sure how to proceed, read our article on exterior doors that are not closing properly. Next go outside and slowly close the door, the door should touch the weather stripping top and bottom at the same time.
With the door closed add cedar hinges on the lockset side under the jamb, until the jamb is straight and shims are tight going in. Nail the Jamb bottom and at the cedar shims, nail the jamb at the middle hinge.
Using 16D Galvanized casing nails, nail 4 on each side and 3 on the top, approximately ½” from the outside edge. When the nails are flush, use a nail set to set the nails below the surface.
Would suggest using a putty knife, push some insulation in the gap, jamb to framing members
Install the locksets, interior trim, putty the nail holes, caulk the trim inside and outside.