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Installing an Interior Door

Installing an Interior Door
Interior doors can update and accent your décor. You can change an existing door if you invest some time and muscle. Installing a pre-hung door is easier and faster than starting from scratch, most of the more labor intensive work is already done. Just take the trim off the existing opening and remove the jambs. Once the jambs are out, fit the new door in with shims and a few finishing nails to complete the job.




Step One

Remove the existing door. Start by loosening the trim with a stiff putty knife, then use a pry bar and a block of wood to remove the trim without damaging the wall. The head and inside jambs are usually nailed together. It’s easier to remove them from the opening at the same time. Pry the side jambs away from the studs. Then pry down the head jamb.

Step Two

Slide the prehung door unit into the rough opening. Put the door in the opening and slide it until the jamb is flush with the wall. Double check to be sure that the door opens in the desired direction.

Step Three

Shim the jamb plumb to make it level and straight. The door frame is slightly smaller that the opening it fits to allow for adjustments. Slip shims under the side jamb until the head jamb is level. Then shim between the side jambs and the studs to fill in the spaces between them. On the hinge side, start with the bottom and top of the jamb. Then shim between the hinges and studs, positioning the shims so that about half the shim is above the hinge. (This will help you later when nailing.) Make sure the jambs are plumb. On the latch side, shim at roughly the same places and at latch level.

Step Four

Nail the door frame to the studs. Drive #8 finishing nails through the frame, through the shims and into the studs. Drive two 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 about 1/2 inch above the other. Before driving the nails home, open and close the door, and make any necessary adjustments. When you’re satisfied with the way it works, drive and set the nails.

Step Five

Nail the trim to the jamb and studs. Drive #6 finishing nails through the trim and into the studs behind the wall, spacing the nails about 16 inches apart. Trim any exposed shims by scoring them with a knife and then breaking along the line. Cut and install trim on the second side of the door.